The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Of course we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle many times during our caterpillar/butterfly theme!  We made caterpillar puppets, colored placemats, and practiced the days of the week.  Our stained glass butterflies also complimented the art from the book too.

Caterpillar Puppets

These caterpillar puppets were lots of fun!  I was inspired by a kit in the Oriental Trading Company’s catalog.  To make them we used: red cardstock, green cardstock (light and dark colored), black paper, green paint, sponges, paper fasteners, black pipe cleaner, and two Popsicle sticks.

Ahead of time, I cut out five circles (one red, two light green, and two dark green).  The girls sponge painted the green circles.  We hadn’t done sponge painting before and they thought it was hilarious.  Then they glued the eyes and nose/mouth (they both called it something different).  I connected the pieces with the paper fasteners so that they can move together then we glued on the pipe cleaner antennas  and the Popsicle stick handles.

Our puppets also went great with the book Balloons Over Broadway, The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet.  We got this book at Thanksgiving time and the girls never let us put it away.  They love reading about the puppets!  It is a great book.  And Tony Sarg, the creator of the famous Macy’s Parade balloons, was actually inspired by a very similar caterpillar puppet.

Placemats

When searching for printouts for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, most were someone else’s drawings, not Eric Carle’s.  I finally found this coloring page.  After talking about the food in the picture, it was actually the girls’ idea to make them placemats.  I just ran each page through the laminator and we’ve been using them for the past week.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar coloring sheet

Days of the Week

For each day during the week we ate the food the caterpillar ate that day as best we could–apples, pears, strawberries, and oranges.  We weren’t able to get plums so we ate prunes instead.  🙂

We also sang this song courtesy of Homeschool Share.  It goes to the tune of the Adam’s Family theme song:

Days of the week (snap, snap), Days of the week (snap, snap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap)
There’s Sunday and there’s Monday
There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday
There’s Thursday and there’s Friday
And then there’s Saturday
Days of the week (snap, snap), Days of the week (snap, snap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap, snap)

 

 

Live Caterpillar Fun

Last week our caterpillars arrived and the girls have loved watching them!  Our newest friends have been moving and changing so much that we check on them multiple times each day. While the girls love the caterpillars, I love how excited they are about science as they are introduced to so many new concepts, such as the life cycle, investigating, observing and recording, magnification, nutrition.  They are also learning big ideas like respect for all life and that change can be a good thing.  The idea to order caterpillars as well as many of the activities we are doing actually and scientific discussions come from the book Science is Simple.

Unlike other parts of the country that are overwhelming with caterpillars, we haven’t had such luck so I ordered ours online.  We had a very positive experience with Insect Lore who sells caterpillar/butterfly kits as well as all kinds of other fun insects. Our kit included five live caterpillars in a cup with food and air holes as well as a butterfly enclosure they will move to once in chrysalis form.  If you don’t want to go the quick and easy route, you can capture caterpillars on your own or even capture butterflies and wait for them to lay eggs.  Just be sure to provide a clean, safe enclosure with appropriate food available.

To keep track of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly I made us a giant calendar chart.  I wanted to have the girls chart the change but knew it would be hard to make it meaningful to them.  I decided to go with a calendar format with lots of pictures so that they could visual see the progression of days and the changes with our buggie friends.  On the days we don’t take pictures we write a few notes of what we have noticed.  To make sure we had enough space, I made the calendar with five weeks on it (it takes 7-10 to make a cocoon, which they are in for 7-10 days, and then they become butterflies).  I also didn’t include the dates because I didn’t want it to become too confusing, especially with the change in months at the end.

In addition to our chart, we also have been practicing our observation skills.  We purchased magnifying glasses before the caterpillars arrived (less than a dollar at the grocery store).  The girls have used them to watch the bugs as well as investigate everything in the house.  Indeed, “investigating” has become one of our favorite pastimes! 🙂

We also took “notes” on the caterpillars.  The girls have little spiral-bound notebooks where we made notes of what we observed.  We drew a cup on the page and then Mia and Zoe drew caterpillars inside the cup like they saw them.  They also made notes (scribbles) of what they saw.  It was great for early writing and science skills.

The perfect springtime activity, our caterpillars and eventually butterflies have inspired all kinds of fun with our latest theme.  I will be posting our caterpillar activities soon!

 

 

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