The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, has to be on the “Must-Read-List” for every child.
The illustrations are done in true Eric Carle fashion – bright and engaging.
I love the way the book uses repetitive text – an essential for children learning to read. The rhythm of the story encourages children to join in, especially with the phrase … “But he was still hungry.”
Here are a few ideas to use when planning for this story. I’ve found these work well – especially the art display.
Encourage the children to paint large pieces of paper in different colours (similar to the colours used in the book).
Once the pictures are dry, cut large shapes out of the coloured paper to match the shapes that make up the caterpillar. For example, green ovals for the body, red oval for the head, etc.
Use the shapes to form a caterpillar.
The gigantic caterpillar looks absolutely fantastic stuck to the floor and covered with clear contact. I’ve put it down a hallway before, which makes the task of walking from one area to another a joy for children – especially when they can walk/hop/jump on the segments of the caterpillar.
Alternatively, the gigantic caterpillar would look terrific displayed on a wall or bulletin board.
Art – Child Focused
- Encourage the children to draw their own caterpillar on cardboard. They can then cut the caterpillar out and stick it on a craft stick to turn it into a stick puppet.
- Use a round or oval object (e.g., a bottle top/ a potato cut in half) to print a caterpillar. When the paint is dry, draw on extra features such as eyes, feelers, nose, mouth and feet.
- Create caterpillars out of egg cartons. Cut the egg carton lengthways and paint it to make the caterpillar’s body. Use pipe cleaners or straws for feelers. Draw on facial features.
- Make a caterpillar out of collage material. This could be a 3-dimensional caterpillar created out of boxes and junk material … or 2-dimensional made with coloured paper.
- Make butterfly prints. This involves painting on one half of the paper, folding the other half over on top of the paint and then reopening the painting. When dry, cut the painting into a butterfly shape.
For an example, have a look at Nuture Store.
For an example, have a look at Nuture Store.
Story Extension Idea
- Encourage children to do an easel painting/texter drawing of the caterpillar and make up their own story about what their caterpillar eats on different days of the week.
- Work with the children to brainstorm words relating to the caterpillar and the story.
Write the words on the caterpillar (e.g., green, small, tiny, large, hungry, etc.). Brainstorm with the children to come up with different words.
- Alternately, write the days of the week on each segment of the caterpillar if you want to focus on this aspect of the story.
- Make up a simple caterpillar puppet using a sock. Children can then retell the story using the sock. Add plastic fruit or pictures of fruit to further encourage the story retelling.
- Taste test the different foods mentioned in the story.
- Sort the food into two categories – healthy and unhealthy. Encourage the children to give reasons for their choices (e.g., it’s healthy because … – it’s unhealthy because ….)
- Look at the life cycle of a butterfly. Print pictures out from the internet to help explain the process. Make a chart describing the process.
- Look at how each fruit grows -On trees? On ground plants?
- Compare and describe the fruits – e.g., How do they feel? Do they need peeling before eating? How do they taste?
- Use the internet to do an image search in order to look at different types of caterpillars. Discuss the different shapes, sizes and features of the caterpillars. You’ll be amazed at how many different types of caterpillars there are.
- Encourage the children to make a simple graph focusing on what the caterpillar ate on each day.
- Set the table up with the days of the week in the left hand column. Children can then draw what the caterpillar ate on each day in the right hand column.
- Play The Very Hungry Caterpillar Dice Game. Allocate different features to each number of the dice.
As children roll the dice, they draw the corresponding feature on their paper. Each number must be rolled before the feature can be added to their drawing.
This is a good way to encourage number recognition.
Please Note: this page is still under construction. Please check back later to see photos added. We’re still in the process of doing these activities.