Preschool Theme: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Posted on March 10, 2012 at 5:25 PM


Eric Carle has been delighting children's audiences with his books for years. His bright art work and innovative stories full of lessons are a staple for early childhood environments. One of his most popular books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a wonderful story involving topics like counting, healthy eating, days of the week, and natural science, is the focus for this following article which will provide craft and other activities for a preschool curriculum.

Felt Board Story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Aside from having his book available for story time and in the library area of the preschool classroom, this story works very well when transferred to felt pieces to be displayed onto a flannel board. The felt story can be purchased online at a variety of websites or be made using the basic material. Felt pieces can be given to children in a circle to bring to the board when asked. In addition, the children can help the teacher count out the fruit pieces as they are placed on the board along with the days of the week.

Preschool Caterpillar Crafts

1) Caterpillar Craft with Circles: for this craft, prepare a great number of paper circles with fairly firm paper, such as construction paper. Sometimes these circles can be donated from print shops or be created digitally. Young children can either cut out the circles themselves or have them available by prior prep work. Children will collect enough circles for the letters of their name (children with long names should attempt to shorten their names). They will then use one circle to write each letter of their name. The next step is to glue the circles together, using just a touch of glue on the edge of each circle, to create the caterpillar's body shape. The project is completed with a head, some pipe cleaner antennae, googly eyes and a smile.

2) Caterpillar on a Leaf: each child will be provided a great big leaf with a hole punched out of it as well as a number of green pom poms. The pom poms will be glued together and then glued onto the leaf to make the hungry caterpillar. Googly eyes can be provided for the head.

3)Caterpillar with Egg Cartons: Each child is provided a one 6-piece strip from a cardboard egg carton. The young children will paint the egg carton with green tempera paint and let dry. The front of the caterpillar will have pipe cleaners poked through the top end for antennae and the children can glue eyes on to finish the project.

Courtesy of Inspire Me Crafts

4) Use a half an apple placed in green paint to stamp a body for the caterpillar with an additional red stamp for the head: (alternatively, use fingerprints or handprints!)

Preschool Butterfly Crafts

1) Butterfly Prints: a classic painting activity created by placing two blobs of paint on one side of a butterfly shape made out of painting paper. Fold the butterfly in half and then open up to create a nice design.

2) Butterfly with Wax Paper: for this activity, the teacher will have to help by using an old iron on medium temperature. The children will have two butterfly shapes cut out of wax paper. Each child can make crayon shavings by using a miniature grater with crayons or by sharpening a crayon and let the shavings fall onto one shape. A piece of string can be placed on the top of the butterfly. The other butterfly shape is placed on top and the teacher will iron the pieces together. The crayons melt, making a fun design, and the string allows for the art project to be hung on a window for the light to shine through. This project can also be completed with one wax paper in a square shape folded and then placed into a butterfly template.

3) Butterfly with Coffee Filter: each child will be provided a circle shaped coffee filter and a jar full of water and food coloring. The children will use an eyedropper to place the color mixture onto the filter which will absorb the color. When dry, the teachers will aid the children in how to pinch the middle with an accordion maneuver to make the butterfly shape. A wooden clothespin or pipe cleaner can be used to keep the design in place.

Creative Movement for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

When the felt story or book has been read, the teacher will ask the children to crawl into balls onto the floor and then join them in order to model the actions. She will tell them they are eggs on a leaf. Next, she will explain to the preschool children how, while staying in their spaces on the floor, they are going to be hungry caterpillars eating. The teacher can also act out the eating process by munching very loudly. Young children love drama and acting and will follow the teacher's lead. If there is a lot of room available, the children can then move around while eating. After some time has past, she will tell the children to begin making their cocoon and fall into a big ball on the floor to go to sleep. While the children are all pretending to sleep, the preschool teacher will explain to them that when they are tapped on their backs, then can slowly turn into their beautiful butterflies. This creative movement activity works well as a transition out of circle to the next station, such as hand washing for snack. In addition, children can share, through pictures or by words, what their butterfly looked like.

More Ideas for the Preschool Classroom

1.The Very Hungry Caterpillar incorporates the natural stages of the caterpillar. The sensory table during this theme can hold sticks and leaves, plastic caterpillars and butterflies.

2.The fruit of each day in this book: apple, pears, plums, strawberries and oranges can be made into a math concept activity, by having the pieces provided with correlating numbers for children to match. These pieces could be made out of paper which is then laminated, felt or foam pieces.

3.Sequence Cards: preschool children could be provided cards with images from the story on them to place into correct order.

4.Treat the preschool classroom with the video of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

5.Make some caterpillar snacks.

Courtesy of Gourmet Mom on the Go

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969 and since then he has illustrated and written numerous beloved books for our young readers. For more information on Eric Carle, visit his official website.

Further Reading Suggestions:

Eric Carle Books into Felt Stories

60+ Ideas for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

CIRCLE OF IDEAS offering Early Childhood Online Workshops

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