The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We love covering the book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle with infants in school around this time of year because there are so many possibilities for activities that correspond with the book. We hope that this year's infant classes won't miss it completely!

Here's a YouTube link for a read-aloud version of the book just incase you can't get your hands on the book. We do however recommend a hard copy!

We love to use it for the life cycle of the butterfly!

We read through the story and discuss the changes that occurred. What did he start off as? Then we use story sequencing cards to try and help the children to recall the steps that were taken. Can you put the pictures in the correct order? How do you know that this order is correct? We love these ones from Twinkl as they're very simple yet attractive to the eye.

We love to use it for maths work too as it covers more than one strand on the curriculum. These learning outcomes come straight from the Primary School Mathematics Curriculum (NCCA, 1999) which can be easily accessed through this link. Mathematical activities done in association with the book should enable the child to:

  • Sequence daily and weekly events or stages in a story:
    The caterpillar works through the days of the week, telling us what he did on each day and what he ate as he gets bigger and BIGGER! Discuss the days of the week, which day came before Tuesday? Which day do you think will come next? What did he eat on Friday?
  • Use the language of ordinal number (first, second, third, last):
    The caterpillar was very busy during the week, he ate lots and lots of different things! Discuss the order that the caterpillar ate some of the things. On Friday what did the caterpillar eat first/ second/ third etc.? Did he eat the banana second?
  • Read, write and order numerals (0–10):
    It's time to do some adding! On Monday he ate one apple and on Tuesday he ate two pears. Practise writing these numbers. You could even make the number using playdough with help from the Twinkl mats below.
  • Read, write and order numerals (0–10) (again):
    Make word cards for the number and match the word to the number. 1 links with 'one' and so on. We make things easy at school and just write the words on one sheet of coloured card and we write the numbers on another colour. Cut them into equal cards and get matching! You could also print something similar to the Twinkl image below. We love putting all the cards upside down too and take turns trying to flip over the matches.
  • Use the symbols + and = to construct word sentences involving addition:
    Find the words that represent the numerals and practise writing them. Next, use to signs and try to form the equation. On Wednesday he ate three plums and on Thursday he ate four strawberries. For smaller children, draw pictures to help in solving the problem (plum, plum, plum + strawberry, strawberry, strawberry, strawberry) which will visually show 3 + 4. Count all the fruit you've drawn. How many pieces of fruit did he eat on those days?
  • Identify the empty set and the numeral zero.
    Did the caterpillar eat anything on the very last day? How do we show that? Practise writing the numeral zero. Make a pasta necklace and form it into a 0 as shown below by Healthy Mama Info.
  • Order objects according to length or height.
    Time to get crafty! Use empty egg cartons to create your very own mini-beasts. The can be made in all sizes and colours just like those below found on Babyccino. Compare them. Which is the longest? Which is the shortest? How do you know?

Why not get the paint out? We love the idea of retelling the story through art just like did. You'll need eight paper plates some green and red paint, a paint brush scissors and some glue. Begin by painting one plate red and the rest green (the red plate will act as the head of the caterpillar while the body plates are green). Next, label the plates with the days of the week. finally draw (or print) all of the food items he ate and stick them onto the appropriate plate.

Retell the story through body movement. You are the caterpillar, follow the direction on the cards below as you start off in an egg and transform into a beautiful butterfly.

Additionally, what not make your own butterfly inspired by the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’? All you need is coloured card, paint, a paint brush, scissors for small hands, a pencil, glue, a lollipop stick, half a pipe cleaner and some funky eyes.
What do you do? Choose a piece of coloured card and fold it in half. Choose some coloured paint and use your brush to paint on one of the halves only. Fold it back together (making sure the painted part is on the inside) and press. When you peel it open you’ll have created a print. Once it is dry draw the shape of a set of wings and cut along the line. Glue a coloured lollipop stick for the body, some funky eyes and half a pipe cleaner for antennae.

You could also bring your butterfly around the garden to search for some mini beast friends.

See our blog post 'Reading with Younger Children' to find more information on accessing Twinkl for free.