Just like thousands of kids, Ms. Tiger and Mr. Tickles both love the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Lately we have been filling our days with activities based on the famous book. Once we got started, the ideas just kept coming. Make sure to check them out at the bottom of this post.
This is one of our first learning through play activity posts, and it went really well. Ms. Tiger is only 3.5 and I was amazed at how many letters she was able to recognize. Mr. Tickles is almost 1.5 and already knows so many words. It was fun finding out what foods he already knew and watching his excitement when he learned a new one. It’s amazing how fast kids learn and grow!
I love this Hungry Caterpillar activity because both kids can participate at the same time, while learning at their own age level. The games can be played together or individually.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Learning Games
Yellow, green and red paper
1. Create a caterpillar face by cutting a large red oval, two yellow antennas, green nose, and two eyes out of your yellow and green paper. Glue the pieces together. Measure the circumference of your container, trace it onto the caterpillar to make its mouth, and then cut it out. Place the caterpillar face on the container and you are ready to play.
Let’s Get Playing, I’m Hungry!
What Are You Eating Caterpillar?
- Let the child pick out one play food at a time, name the food, and let the child feed it to the caterpillar by placing it inside the container.
- Say a name of one of the foods, have the child find the food, then let the child feed it to the caterpillar.
What Color Are You Eating Caterpillar?
- Let the child pick out one play food at a time, name the food and the color (“The apple is the color red”), and let the child feed it to the caterpillar.
What Letter Are You Eating Caterpillar?
- Sort your food into piles according to what letter the name of the food starts with. Place the corresponding letter next to each pile. Let the child pick one play food at a time. Name the food and the matching letter, then let the child feed it to the caterpillar.
- Ms. Tiger would pick a food, I would hand her the matching letter so she could hold and explore the letter. Then she would name the letter if she knew it, or I would help her with the name.
- When playing with a toddler, have each child take turns picking food, together name the food, and the letter. I had Ms. Tiger name the letter, and then we gave the food to Mr. Tickles to name, and they took turns feeding the caterpillar.
Find A Bite by Letter
- Pick out one piece of food for each letter in the alphabet and put into a pile. Some letters won’t have a matching food (like x), but that’s okay. Put all the letters in a separate pile. Let the child pick a letter, name the letter, then find a food that starts with the letter and feed the letter and the food to the caterpillar.
- Ms. Tiger would pick a letter, then I would help find the matching food. We would say the letter and make the sound the letter makes (“The S says sssss”), and then say the name of the food and the letter (“Sausage starts with the letter S”).
- We didn’t have food that went with all the letters, so we would put the unmatched letters into a dish. That way we could still include them in our game.
- When playing with a toddler let the toddler feed the caterpillar the food, and let the preschooler feed the caterpillar the letters making sure to name each piece as it goes in.
Find a Bite by Color
- Name a color, then have the child find a piece of food that is the matching color and feed it to the caterpillar. You could find all of the food at the same time that is the same color, or you could do a different color each time.
- When playing with a toddler let the preschooler find the food and the toddler name the food. Then name the food and the color (“The apple is the color red”), and let them take turns feeding the caterpillar.
Kids not taking turns? That’s okay. Give each child a basket of food and let them feed the caterpillar. Choose to name the food, color, or letter depending on each child’s ability. At one point I was standing in the middle of them with the caterpillar in front of me naming things off right and left. Our caterpillar was fed quickly and constantly. Once their baskets were empty I dumped all the food back in their baskets and we did it all again. We had loads of fun!