The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This week we have been reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Watch a video of it here.

Start off by reading the story, counting the fruit as you read. This book is excellent for counting and shows the growth of a caterpillar which then turns into a butterfly. It introduces the life cycle of a butterfly. Below are counting, art, phonics, sequencing, reciting, science and letter formation activities. Please, read on!


Art: Potato Masher Caterpillar

This is such a fun activity using paint and a potato masher!

  1. You will need: A piece of card, a potato masher, green and red paint.
  1. Place the potato masher in the green paint to make the caterpillar’s body.
  2. Next, place it in the red paint to make the head.
  3. Finish by adding the legs and the face.

Maths: Counting Legs

This is a simple maths activity, which reinforces counting, making sure they use one number name for each leg.

  1. You will need: Caterpillar templates, drawn like the photo above and numbers to match the amount of legs.
  2. Ask your child to count how many legs there are on each of the caterpillars. Make sure they use one number name for each leg.
  3. They can move the number and place it in the right place or write the number themselves on the line.

Phonics: Going on a ‘c’ Hunt!

‘C’ is for caterpillar. How many things can you find in your home that start with the sound ‘c’?

  1. You will need: ‘c’ flashcard, objects starting with the ‘c’ sound.
  2. With your child, go on a ‘c’ hunt. What can you find?
  3. Make a pile of all of the objects.
  4. Look at them and say, ‘c’ is for cat, ‘c’ is for card etc, naming all of the objects.
  5. Can your child think of any other objects starting with ‘c’?

Science: The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is based around the life cycle of a butterfly, so this is the perfect opportunity to introduce it.

  1. You will need: A paper plate, bits and pieces around your home for all of the four stages – see photo above.
  2. Read the book and discuss what is happening in all of the 4 stages.
  3. Depending on the age of your child, you could make it together, or your could have it already made and use it for discussion.
  4. Explain that caterpillars hatch from butterfly eggs. When they hatch they are hungry so they eat lots of leaves! After a few weeks the caterpillar attaches itself to a twig and forms a chrysalis. The caterpillar does not eat during this stage as it is changing. The butterfly pushes it’s way out of the chrysalis and feeds on the nectar using its long tongue. The female butterfly then lays eggs and the life cycle starts all over again! Watch a video of the life cycle of a butterfly here.

Sequencing: Days of the Week

Using the book for encouragement, your child can order the days of the week with you. Do not expect a toddler to be able to do his independently. Getting the days of the week in the right order is difficult, repetition is key.

  1. You will need: Written days on the week on card.
  2. As you are reading the story, and the days of the week come up, stop reading and place them down in the right order.
  3. After the story has finished, point to the days and say them out loud.
  4. Muddle them all up and see if you can sequence the days in the right order together. What days goes first? Yes, Monday. After Monday comes Tuesday. Let’s see what’s next. Start from the beginning… Monday, Tuesday ……. yes, Wednesday. Can you find the card that says Wednesday?

Art: Butterfly Wings

Butterflies have such beautiful colours and patterns on their wings so this is a popular activity.

  1. You will need: A butterfly template and art materials to create a beautiful butterfly. You could use paint, collage materials, pencils, pens, leaves or flowers, anything you have!
  2. Give your child the materials and let them get creative!
  3. If your child is a little older, you could encourage them to create patterned butterfly wings.

Letter Formation and Fine Motor: The ‘C’ Letter Station

This activity is helping with the letter formation. For your child to hold and control a pencil requires deep concentration and the pincer grasp. This takes time for their little fingers to be ready and to have the strength for this stage. Your child can practise letter formation in different ways using resources from your home. This will reinforce the letter shape to them and will be helping them to recognise the letter too.

  1. You will need: The letter ‘c’ written out 4 times on paper, resources from your home to form the letter. We used: pasta, pipe cleaner, pom poms and play dough.
  2. Ask your child to use the resources to form the letter ‘c’.
  3. Once they have finished, reiterate, ‘c’ is for caterpillar.
  4. Ask them to use their forefinger to trace along the letter so that they are forming the shape of the letter ‘c’.

Maths: Counting Legs

In the earlier counting legs activity, your child was counting the legs that were already drawn on. This time, your child will be counting the legs themselves and stopping once they reach the right number, which is harder.

  1. You will need: The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, play dough, straws and numbers on cards. Choose numbers your child needs practise with.
  2. First of all, make the caterpillar using the play dough. Roll balls for the body and head.
  1. Ask your child to choose a number …. 11.
  2. They are to place 11 straws as the legs and push them into the play dough. This is also great for their fine motor skills.
  3. It is important that you have more the the largest number written on the cards. Eg: If the largest number is 14 put more than 14 straws in the bowl, as you are seeing if they can count and stop at the right number.
  4. As your child picks up a straw, they say the number, put it on the caterpillar, pick up another straw, say the number name and place it on the caterpillar. Repeat and remember they need to stop when they reach the number 11.
  5. Use their counting finger to count all of the straws to make sure they have 11. If they haven’t, what do they need to do to make sure they have 11 legs?

Reciting a Story: The Very Hungry Mummy

Changing parts of a story is a fantastic way for a child to feel like they have make up their own story! For this, we changed it to ‘The Very Hungry Mummy’ or you could change it to your child’s name. We then changed the food and created our own story. This also helps with their imagination. This was a lot of fun, and my daughter wanted to recite the new story over and over again!

  1. You will need: The days of the week on card, numbers 1-5 on card, and a random selection of food.
  2. We then retold the story from the ‘On Monday’ part. ‘On Monday Mummy ate through one chocolate bar. But she was still hungry.’
  1. Continue with the other days, retelling the story suing your different character and food.
  2. If your have somebody who would like to watch, perform the story to a family member and watch how impressed they will be!

Writing: Creating a Book

Children love to create books as it gives them ownership of the marks they make and will then read it to members of their family or toys!

  1. You will need: A book made out of card and paper with staples or ribbon or string to hold it together.
  2. Decide on the title. The Very Hungry Mummy or The Very Hungry _____ (your child’s name)
  3. What are the different foods that will be eaten?
  4. Say it with your child ‘On Monday she ate through one yoghurt. But she was still hungry.’ Encourage your child to write any sounds they can, looking at a sound mat and to draw the picture of the food.
  5. Next you annotate it so that your child can see you writing and sees that your writing are words.
  6. Once finished, read the story together and then watch your child play with the book. They will feel so proud! It was a lot of extra food to think of for Saturday so my daughter used the same food that is in The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.
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