Christina Rosetti and her poetry has always been famous for inspiring countless children. The poem below, The Caterpillar, is no exception to this.

Bringing beautiful imagery in just two stanza, The Caterpillar gives teachers lots of scope and extension activities, and is a sure-fire way of bulking up your poetry curriculum with a nice, integrated theme.

From hiding under ‘the shady stalk’, avoiding predators to being ‘reborn a butterfly’, the children will have great fun in discussing/illustrating the imagery that they will no doubt already be familiar with.

Not only that, but the poem can easily become a centre-piece for a Science unit of work on life-cycles or for an Art display on butterfly patterns, symmetry and colour.

Another great poem by Christina Rosetti to use is Hurt No Living Thing or The Rainbow.

The Caterpillar

By Christina Rosetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

Teaching about caterpillars? Remember to check out our lesson ideas here!

Caterpillar Butterfly
Caterpillar Butterfly


Poetry Ideas:

  • Check out our Poetry Page for lots of poems to use in your classroom
  • Keep a poetry diary for kids to record read work – read more poems by favourite poets
  • Adjective / Onomatopoeia word hunts
  • Write a response verse from the perspective of a different character
  • Write a response verse in a different style – nonsense, rhyming, haiku, cinquain etc. Does this change the poem?
  • Think up of 5/10 Questions you would ask a character in a poem/the author
  • Illustrate your favourite image from the poem – in black & white, colour.
  • Storyboard the poem: each verse gets a scene
  • Create a diorama of the poem out of recycling materials
  • Illustrate a book cover/movie poster that could accompany the poem
  • Write the poem using appropriate fonts / why did you choose this to reflect the poem?