It’s warm outside! At my house, there is nothing better than playing outside, getting dirty and going on scientific “expeditions”. I know what you’re thinking. “Wow…what an amazing mom, letting her kids be experiential learners!” Now, here’s the reality - our expeditions usually involve just looking under the flower pots and basketball goal to see what’s under there. Then I spend the rest of the time saying, “Nature stays in nature,” and, “No. You can’t bring it in the house,” and, “Stop throwing bugs on your brother.”
It was a great week at school. It was all about bugs - bug parts, bug books and boxes full of dead bugs to study! To celebrate the Best Week Ever, the boys wanted to have bug snacks. Before a plate full of bugs was brought into my kitchen, and one brother was trying to con the other into eating a live bug, I figured I had better step in and find a fun, bug-related snack that we could make together. We found a cute Creepy Crawler Caterpillar recipe. Just the name of this recipe convinced my boys, and they were on board to help make it!
We gathered the ingredients and began by cutting up 6 tablespoons of softened butter.
Ty: “Is it ok if I use my hands?”
Me: “Please tell me you remembered to wash them.”
Microwave a 1-ounce square of unsweetened baking chocolate until it melts and is just about perfect to stir. Be careful not to heat it too long, as it will scorch.
Pour the chocolate into a bowl.
Bryce: “Why does he get to pour the chocolate?”
Me: “You can put in the butter.”
Bryce: “Can I race my cars through the chocolate?”
Me: “How about...NO.” Honestly, how does an idea like that even pop into his head?
Then add in the butter.
Add 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter. You can substitute another nut butter if you have peanut allergies in your household.
Beat at medium speed with the mixer until creamy.
Look! They’re being nice to each other! It’s amazing what happens when there is the potential to eat candy!
The consistency of the chocolate mixture looks like this:
Reduce speed to low, add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Be sure to stir it first, and then turn on the mixer. (We have had minor incidents of maniacal laughter as clouds of powdered sugar covering the walls, ceiling and almost every surface of my kitchen before. Sigh.) Beat until well mixed.
Increase speed to high, continue mixing, and add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk. You will be making a frosting for the crackers, so judge how much milk you need for the consistency. I am hoping we actually had the full 2 cups of powdered sugar go into the mix, since car tracks on my countertops indicate that not ALL of the sugar made it into the bowl this time.
This is what it will look like when it is ready. You will want the mixture to be sticky to hold the candy to the crackers.
Get crackin’ with the crackers! Take 36 round, salted butter crackers. One boy was the counter, the other was the asker. “Can I have one?” Sigh. I really hope that we did use all 36 crackers, but seriously - there are no guarantees. Bryce is sneaky and quick when he’s hungry. Remember the cheese incident with the enchiladas?
Start assembling the caterpillar! Take 1 cracker at a time and frost 1 side. I found it best to hold crackers upright while assembling.
The instructions say to push candy- coated licorice pieces in between crackers towards the bottom to make legs. (We used coated gummy worms). However, with two small boys and even smaller attention spans, we found it easier to frost the cracker, and then place the gummy worms on the cracker in a leg-type formation. Make sure the candy is well coated, and place the cracker on top. Repeat for all 36 crackers or until your assistants give up and just start eating the gummy worms.
We made the caterpillar parts in 3 sections, and then placed them together in a few curved formations.
Use frosting to attach gumdrop candies like a spine across the top of the crackers.
Then attach a candy-coated nonpareil to help form a face. The recipe called for gumdrop eyes. The boys, however, found candy googly eyes, so we just used those. We did put a smiley face on ours, too, by cutting up a gumdrop.
Attention for antennae! Take 2 licorice strings, cut to desired length and slide behind the face cracker into frosting to make great-looking antennae.
The boys insisted that we make a nature scene, so we dyed some shredded coconut to make grass.
Then of course we had to have some bug friends! I vetoed the snake requests and the hot wheel cars. This could have easily spiraled out of control. There was a request for ants on a log, but that’s a project for another day!
Think Creepy Crawler Caterpillars couldn’t get any better? We topped it off with a field trip to Morris Arboretum to view their “Big Bugs” exhibit.
Giant Creepy Crawly bugs!
for any bug-loving kids and their friends! If you make the creepy crawler caterpillars, post a picture - I’d love to see it. Mine isn’t picture “Pinterest” perfect, but the great thing is that the boys and I made it together! Don’t forget to comment on what you think of this creepy snack!
Giant grasshopper picture thanks to my friend, Diane S.