2019 marks the 50th birthday of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A book that holds a large place in the hearts of children, parents and educators alike, it has won many children’s literature awards and features many educational themes. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is used in early education around the world to teach counting, foods, days of the week and so on.
To celebrate, here are some of my favourite The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed activities for you to try at home or childcare:
Paper Mache is great fun for everyone involved and has fantastic sensory benefits. It provides an opportunity for children to develop their motor skills as well as social and cooperative skills as they work together in a group and most importantly have fun.
There are many options here and depending on the developmental stage of the children involved you could make a giant caterpillar, but we opted to create the different fruits in small groups using balloons, newspaper and paint. Here’s an example of what a finished product might look like:
This learning experience was a great practical activity to continue our education surrounding healthy eating and what we call “sometimes foods” and “always foods”.
To continue the healthy eating theme there are lots of different ideas for food activities surrounding The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Here’s a fantastic idea for a cookie decorating experience using fruits from the book: https://alittlepinchofperfect.com/the-very-hungry-caterpillar-cookieshttps://alittlepinchofperfect.com/the-very-hungry-caterpillar-cookies.
Cooking activities are always popular and provide an important opportunity to engage with children in conversations about wellbeing and support them as they develop their self-help skills. For younger children a sensory activity using fruits might be a more appropriate way to introduce healthy foods and develop feeding skills.
For very young children, a tissue box pompom box can be a good introduction to the characters in the story. A tissue box with a caterpillar painted on and some holes can provide a good motor skill activity as toddlers pick up the pompoms and drop them into holes. Splitting different coloured pompoms into different holes can extend this game.
Egg Carton Caterpillar
For older children the egg carton caterpillar is a classic activity, which is great fun and can be used to initiate some important conversations! Using recycled egg cartons can link back to sustainability teaching and mathematical thinking can be encouraged as children to compare lengths, sizes and count the egg holes.
Threading can be a great activity to encourage the development of fine motor skills. This can be as simple as printing out pictures of the different foods and punching holes for children to thread string through. Older children can be supervised as they punch holes themselves and I love the idea of continuing the sustainability theme and using natural resources that can be collected in the yard:
These are just a few ideas, there are thousands of experiences out there related to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and you might even come up with your own.
Make sure that you record your learning experiences on the app so that parents can see what fantastic work you’re doing and take an active role in their children’s learning.
Happy Birthday to The Very Hungry Caterpillar!