Through art, math, and dramatic-play activities, children will engage in activities that extend Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar story.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Scholastic Inc.)
- Felt and felt board
- Large white drawing paper
- Egg cartons
- Tissue paper
In Advance: Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle as a class.
1. Felt Board Story
The story can be retold by making felt cutouts of the egg on the leaf, the moon, the caterpillar, the sun, the different food items (including the specific numbers of food items), the cocoon, and the butterfly. Engage children in retelling the story using the felt cutouts or craft stick "puppets."
2. Dramatic Play
Explain to children that they will act out the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Using the elements of the story listed in the felt board activity, assist children in choosing a part of the story that they will create using paint or markers and large paper. After their artwork has dried, assist children in cutting out their pictures. Invite children to take turns narrating the story. As the story is being told, children will hold up the appropriate artwork.
3. Calendar and Math Study
Make copies of the different foods the caterpillar ate each day of the week. Cut out the copies of the foods and glue a piece of felt onto the back of each one. Write the days of the week on strips of paper and attach felt to the back of each strip. At the beginning of the week, explain to the children that you would like them to recall what the caterpillar ate on that day of the week. Use your felt board to create a graph of the foods that the caterpillar ate. Encourage children to count how many food items the caterpillar ate each day.
4. From Caterpillar to Butterfly
Provide children with cardboard egg cartons, paint, and pipe cleaners. Invite children to make their own caterpillars. Ask children to write, draw, or dictate their own stories about the different kinds of foods their "very hungry caterpillars" eat. Children can then make butterflies from their caterpillars. Engage children in a discussion about Eric Carle's illustrations. Provide children with large sheets of paper glue, brushes, and a variety of tissue paper Children can glue the body of their caterpillar onto the center of their paper and create the wings of their butterflies using tissue paper and glue.
Curriculum Connection: Science
Butterfly kits can be ordered from Insect Lore (800-LIVE BUGS). Children will have the opportunity to observe and study the different stages of the caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly.
- The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B. Sandved (Scholastic Inc.)
- From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman (HarperCollins Juvenile, 1996)
- The Little Butterfly by Sherry Shahan (Random House, 1998)
This activity originally appeared in the April 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today.