The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a wonderful book to read to preschoolers. It has an easy to follow plot with bright and beautiful illustrations. I would like to share some ideas I have for enhancing story time with this book as well as extending learning activities throughout your day.
1. While reading the story, encourage the children to repeat the line “but he was still hungry.” This keeps the children paying attention and actively involves them in the story.
2. Consider using props such as plastic foods from your kitchen center for the children to hold up during the story.
3. Encourage the children to count out loud as you point at the foods the caterpillar eats through.
3. Create a flannel board set to use with this story. I suggest making the foods large enough that you can cut a hole through the centers that is large enough to have a caterpillar crawl through (you can make a caterpillar out of pipe cleaners, or pom pom balls)
4. Have the children draw a picture of a food they think the caterpillar may like to eat. You can combine these illustrations and create your own version of the story.
5. Include a science lesson. Talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. You can use sequencing cards to help children remember the order. You can also order a kit of butterfly larvae and have the children observe the life cycle as it happens.
6. Include a health lesson about foods and nutrition. You can have the children make collages of healthy and non-healthy foods. You can talk about the food pyramid and what types of food make a person healthy.
7. Have each child make a caterpillar during art. Here are a few suggestions of types of caterpillars you can make:
-Name caterpillar – Give each child enough circles to create a head for their caterpillar as well as one for each letter of their name.
-A caterpillar made from pom pom balls with google eyes and antennae made from a pipe cleaner. You can even have the children glue it to a cut out of a leaf.
-A finger print caterpillar – stamp pads work great for this.
8. Have each child make a butterfly during art. Here are a few suggestions for butterfly crafts:
-Paint a coffee filter with watercolors. Help the child fold it accordion style once dry and use a pipe cleaner to cinch the filter in the center. Unfold the filter on both sides to create wings. The extra pipe cleaner can be curled to create antennae
-Create a stained glass butterfly. Have the children glue brightly colored tissue paper squares onto waxed paper. Once dry, cut the waxed paper into the shape of a butterfly
9. Go for a nature walk and hunt for butterflies.
10. Have children classify butterflies based on things such as pattern, color, shape of wings, etc.
11. Create a matching game using various pictures of butterflies.
12. Encourage creative play by providing butterfly wings in your dress up center for the children to wear.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to choose a favorite book and create a day of themed activities for your program. Children will gain a thorough understanding of the plot as well as a new appreciation for concepts presented throughout the book.
If you have additional ideas for activities, please share them by commenting below!