This very well known story is brilliant to develop children learning in many different ways. Without even thinking about it children are learning:
names of food
days of the week
practicing counting and reading
developing their understanding of changes in animals
You can watch the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar clicking here.
Story Hook and preparation
When you want to do activities about a book it is really important to ensure the story captivates your child from the begining. You can achieve this by creating a mysterious scene. Something as simple as closing the curtains, getting a torch and placing your book in a stand covered with a cloth can go to great lengths. Point to the space you just set up and say: "I wonder why this room is so dark, shall we use the torch to see if there is something different?"
You can also have a basket with real/plastic toys that match what the caterpillar is eating.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Range of activities related to the book
Learning together the song: "There is a tiny caterpillar on a leaf"
Making finger puppets to retell the story or sing the song
Painting the different types of food that the caterpillar eats and discussing about healthy and unhealthy choices
Making salt dough models of the caterpillar, the butterfly and the different types of food the caterpillar eats in the story.
Gathering as many items related to the story as possible in a tray/basket. Let the child take a peek and then cover them. "How many items can you remember?"
We started looking at this story because my daughter's nursery key worker shared with us a video of her singing the song “There is a tiny caterpillar on a leaf”. My daughter loved it as it is a repetitive and happy song with actions.
It felt natural to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. After that, she looked for caterpillars and butterflies everywhere so I decided to make them using salt dough.
Note: When we finished our models we had some extra dough so I made different letters that I will use for my phonics activities such us building words. I included the letters of her name so that she could order them and familiarise herself with them.
I started with the letters s, a, t, p, i and n because these are the first that are learnt and can be combine to create many different words.
Learning Opportunities for Reception Children
o Reading part of the story.
o Retelling/acting the story to a friend.
o Drawing and writing about the "Caterpillar Life Cycle"
o Practicing counting while reading the story and learning the days of the week.
o Discussing full and half while making salt dough.
· Expressive Art and Design
o Singing the song "There is a tiny caterpillar on a leaf" and
o Making salt dough models. This activity is also linked with physical development (making the dough) and maths (full, half full, empty)