More Fun with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Our community library hosted another great family event this week, this time all the activities were based on Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Last year I shared some of the ways I used this wonderful picture book with my Kindergarten classes, check out the link under the Insects section if you are interested.  After this terrific evening I have more great ideas to share.   The kids loved getting to meet the giant caterpillar, and they even got a chance to dance with him!  And I got a shameless opportunity to share a picture of my youngest granddaughter!

One of the children’s librarians began the evening by retelling the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar using a flannelboard, felt food pieces and a wonderful sock type Caterpillar puppet.  The felt pieces all had large slits cut in them so they fit over the sock caterpillar on the librarian’s arm.  Very cute!

After that parents and children were free to explore all the projects and activities that had been prepared and set up around the large community room.  It was very well organized and clear instructions were posted on each table giving directions for the craft or game.  Oh – and one of my favorite ideas – they set out adhesive name tags for the children to wear, and they were all punched with several holes, I heard several parents and children laughing and enjoying how the caterpillar must have nibbled on them!

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The first activity my grandchildren decided to do was making Hungry Caterpillar bookmarks.  They used red and green Bingo markers to make their caterpillar on a strip of card stock, then they used a hole punch to make nibble holes, and a hole to tie a ribbon at the end.  I loved having kids use hole punches in Kindergarten, I think it is a great way to help develop hand strength which is so important for fine motor control.  They had a new kind of hole punch for the children to use – they were easy to squeeze and most of the children were able to punch independently.  I am sure I need one of these!

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Here is 2 year old Lily’s bookmark!

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The librarians had made large cardboard cutouts of some of the foods that the caterpillar ate.  They were cut out of corrugated cardboard and painted.  The parents held them up and the children had so much fun crawling through the holes.

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My favorite project of the evening was making butterfly wings!  The project had been prepared ahead of time by cutting open brown grocery bags, they were shaped so they were larger at the outsides and a bit narrower in the center.

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On the back of the grocery bag, the inside of the wings, they attached 2 handles, one on each end.

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The set out glue sticks and small squares of tissue paper, along with crayons to decorate the wings.  They decorated the sides of the bag that did not have the handles.  Glue sticks are by far the most convenient, but a lot of the tissue paper squares fell off because the children didn’t press them into the glue.  I used to use watered down glue and paint brushes, the tissue paper adhered more easily, but sometimes they had to be left to dry awhile and that would not work for the library program.

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But the most fun part was using the wings when they were done!  The children held onto the handles and the wings went across their back.  When they moved their arms the wings flapped in and out!  It was so cute!

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Another fun idea was making pompom caterpillars, glued onto a spring clip clothespin.  The jiggly eyes had already been glued onto the red pompoms.

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The children had fun “feeding” the hungry caterpillar a variety of colors and sizes of pompoms.  This encouraged even my little ones to recall the food from the story – they called the purple pompoms “plums,” the red ones were “apples,” etc.

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The children used dry erase markers for the final activity.  I loved the idea of gluing large pompoms on the ends of the markers as erasers.

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They provided a laminated paper with the numerals 1 – 5.  The children needed to remember the foods at the beginning of the story, and draw them.  Then they put on a cute caterpillar glove (another great idea – the caterpillar was made of felt and glued onto the pointer finger of the glove), and pointed to each food as they retold the story.  At the bottom of the page there was a butterfly that was covered with dry erase marker and they had to rub off the marker to reveal the butterfly.

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So I see the fruit on this paper were not drawn in the right order – of course that wasn’t done by my grandchildren!  Mostly because I prompted them!  It might have helped to have a copy of the book close by in case children needed to check out which food came next, but it really didn’t matter anyway – the whole idea was to think about the story and to have fun!

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It was such a fun time!  Thanks and hugs to the Commerce Township Community Library, and all the dedicated, talented librarians who provide wonderful programs like this for our kids!

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I used the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar for a preschool storyhour, and wanted a way to engage the children, most of them had already heard and seen this story.  I used colored posterboard to make story boards of each page in the book.  I cut the posterboard into rectangles about 22 x 9 1/2 – I made these a long time ago, but I think I basically cut each posterboard in 1/3s.  Making a project like this takes quite a bit of time, but I used it with my Kindergartners over and over again for many years.

I used construction paper and cut out the tree, leaf, moon and egg, then I rubber-cemented them onto the posterboard.

On the back of each posterboard I wrote the words from the story so I could hold up the picture and read the words.

Because these pictures were so big and it was a new way to hear the story, it really kept the children’s attention.

I cut a hole – using an exacto knife – through the apple and the posterboard.
I made a caterpillar from small red and green pompoms.

I stuck the pompoms onto a piece of magnet strip – using the sticky side of the magnet to hold the pompoms on.  I have used this caterpillar for 20 years!!  I just keep it in the file with the posterboards, it is a little flattened from all those years of storage!!

This looks quite big here, but  it is only about 2 1/2 inches long.  Then I took a rubber band and slipped it over the caterpillar between the red and first green pompom.  If you don’t have a small rubberband twist it on a few times – leaving just enough room for your pointer finger to slip in under the caterpillar, on the magnet side.

Then you can poke the caterpillar through the hole in the apple, and pretend to munch, munch, munch all the way around the circle.  The kids love it!!

If you don’t want to make a caterpillar, you could just draw eyes and a mouth on your pointer finger and use that.

One thing you have to remember is to poke your finger into the right hole so you are helping reinforce counting from left to right.  I added sound effects like slurping, munching, gobbling, etc. as the caterpillar ate through the hole in each food.

When you are cutting out the strawberries and stems, I folded the paper and cut all 4 at once to make it faster, then I just tipped them a bit as I glued them onto the board.

Over the years we made lots of different projects to go along with this story.  For preschoolers we wrapped a pipe cleaner around a pencil to make it coiled up and called it a caterpillar.  Then we ‘decorated’ a brown paper lunch bag for the cocoon.  We made a butterfly by pushing tissue paper into the legs of a slip on wooden clothespin.  We put the butterfly inside the paper bag and as the children retold the story – they put the caterpillar into the bag, pretended he was nibbling his way out, and pulled out the butterfly.

In recent years I used this near the end of the year in Kindergarten and my children were ready to write phonetically, and reread some text.  We made a book to retell the story.

This is a half page sized book.

 

 

The first letter of the day of the week was already printed on the page.  The children also need to write the number word on some pages.  I provided “helper sheets” for them to refer to if they needed help writing the days of the week or number words.  You could cut these into strips of days/numbers if you’d like.

 

 

To make this book a little easier, the children drew the parts they would glue on first.  Then the next day we made the books, they just bubble cut around their pictures and glued them on.  Most children were pretty independent with this.

There were 2 on this page – each child got 1/2.

I put little picture cues to help them remember each food.  The children could draw with crayons or markers.  I didn’t leave a space for them to write their name – be sure they write their name on the back of their paper!

On this page they had to draw at least 3 things, and write the words phonetically.

They just had to color the cocoon or chrysalis, it was already printed on the page.  I debated over the years over whether to keep using the word cocoon that was in the text, but I used this book with end-of-the-year kindergartners and we had been talking about how a butterfly comes from a chrysalis – so I used that term.

The children created a butterfly – practicing symmetry – but using a folded piece of paper and free cutting the wings, then decorating both sides the same – and glued it on.

Here are the masters for this book – there are 2 on each page so you can xerox, collate and just cut each book in half to make 2.  Sorry about all the separate files – not sure how to put them all together!  I am definitely not a techie person!

cover

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday again

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chrysalis

butterfly

Foods

helping sheets

I hope you have as much fun with this as I have!

 

Bugs and Insects

I always loved beginning a unit with Roxie Heart.

When she visited our class with her new Ant dress she gave the children lots of information about insects.  She even had an “ant egg” in her purse.

She shared facts like – insects have 3 parts to their bodies (head, thorax and abdomen).  Insects lay eggs.  Insects have 6 legs.  Most insects have wings, etc.  I took the facts from a simple information book about insects, and then read the book to reinforce the facts.  After that the children made an insect with all the body parts, and wrote 3 facts in a booklet.

Here is a printable copy:

Insect facts

We spent about a week completing a book about bugs that reinforced facts about insects.

Here are the words to this book:

We Like Bugs words

I wrote these words on sentence strips and put them in a pocket chart.   In addition to making and reading this book each day, we read it in the pocket chart.

Here are some bug clipart pictures that I used for the cover:

bugs clipart

We learned 2 songs that also helped reinforce facts about insects.  The first was from the CD Singing Science by Tickle Toon Typhoon –  it is available on Amazon and has lots of great songs for all kinds of science units.  You could just make up a tune that works for you too!

The second song is to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  I taught the songs separately but we usually sang them one after the other.

Here is a copy to print:

Insects

When I began teaching many years ago, everyone was making copy change books based on Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  I made them too – on almost every subject!  I still think there is a lot of benefit using a pattern that the children recognize and using lots of sight words to make a book that the children can read.  So I was always looking for different books that could provide a simple pattern to use for copy change books too.  I used this one a lot:

This text for this book starts out

Joshua James likes trucks.  Big trucks, little trucks.  Long trucks, short trucks.  Joshua James just likes trucks.

We did a remake of this book during our transportation unit substituting ‘We’ for Joshua James.  I have done copy change books for dinosaurs, bugs, and animals (that I remember right now!)

Here is a peek at part of the copy change book for bugs:

I tried to make enough class books for each child to take one home at the end of the year.

Here are all the words I used – I added more pages when I had more children in my class – one or two children illustrated the cover instead of a page.

Here are the words to print if you’d like:

Class book words

SPIDERS  TOO!

I usually talked about spiders at Halloween or sometime in the fall, but if I hadn’t I included spider stuff after insects, to help the children remember the difference between insects and arachnids.  There is another great song on Singing Science about Arachnids!

Roxie has a spider outfit too!

She carried a comb in her purse to reinforce the fact that spiders’ bodies are covered with hairs.

I colored these fact cards to show the children, these are the facts that Roxie shared.

Spider facts

Here is the booklet the children used to phonetically write facts about spiders:

Spider facts booklet

We made spider hats!

We also did a fun remake of the Eensy Weensy Spider.  I used the same spelling as a book that we read in class – who knows how to spell Eensy?  Eency?  Eencie?

Gotta love that glitter!!

I hot glued tiny spiders on the end of a popsicle stick for the children to use as a pointer, and taped a pocket inside the cover for them to keep it.  They loved pretending the straw was a water spout.  I actually brought in a small crook piece of a downspout and a big rubber spider tied onto a piece of yarn so we could pull it up the spout and have it fall back down – lots of fun!!

It is fun to do a copy change on this book too – what other insects might go up the water spout?

The red and black ladybug

The hoppy green grasshopper

The clicking noisy cricket

It is a great way to reinforce a fact about each insect – or you could use different words for small and large –

little tiny, itty bitty,  big huge, large giant, etc.  Always looking for ways to incorporate great vocabulary!

I hope all the stress at the end of the year isn’t “bugging” you!