The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
It’s not often that one of the most miraculous lessons in science is taught in such beautiful and engaging manner. The Very Hungry Caterpillar teaches children the concept of metamorphosis in a manner that even the youngest of readers will understand.
Children will love the greedy little caterpillar that tries to eat healthy then discovers the appeal of junk food only to pay the price for such indulgence. All is well in the end as the charming little caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly. Beyond the science, this book includes counting, days of the week, nutrition, plus the holes in the food that are just so darn fun to stick little fingers through. Sure to be an all-time favorite!
In this Issue
- Just as the Very hungry Caterpillar eats 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries, and 5 oranges, make our Caterpillar Counting Fruit Salad.
- Find out How and What Does a Butterfly Eat?
- Turn a fruit featured in the book into Caterpillar Fruit Stamps!
- Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly with this week's Book Play.
Caterpillar Counting Fruit Salad
Eric Carle is one of today's most well-know and beloved children's book authors, authoring and/or illustrating such classics as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Very Busy Spider (see our Very Busy Spider crafts and recipes here). The Official Eric Carle Web Site is charming and engaging and definitely worth visiting for parents as much as kids.
Drawing inspiration from this fruit salad recipe found on the on the web site, we created our own version of Caterpillar Fruit Salad using the fruit we had on hand. Using individual fruit cups instead of a large bowl of salad allowed the little hands to do more counting by counting out the fruit pieces for each serving.
Caterpillar Fruit Salad
To prepare, wash and slice your selected fruit into kid-bite-sized pieces.
For ours we counted into each fruit cup:
- 5 pieces of clementine
- 4 slices of banana
- 3 grapes
- 2 pear cubes
- 1 blueberry
You could top each fruit cup with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
How and What Do Butterflies Eat?
Here's an easy and tasty nature lesson for your young reader: Butterflies eat nectar, water, and other liquids through a little pipe that looks like a straw. The straw is called a ‘proboscis’ and it is curled under the butterfly’s head most of the time.
To see wonderful close-up photos of a butterfly eating visit What Butterflies Eat at The Butterfly Site.
After viewing the photos have fun with your young reader pretending to eat like a butterfly. Try this simple craft and recipe and don’t be surprised if this science lesson makes your reader’s wings start to flutter!
Making a Flower and Proboscis
- drinking straw
- paper cupcake liner
- colored pencils (optional)
- Fold cupcake liner in half 3 times.
- Round the top to make petals.
- Cut a very small amount off the pointed end of the folded cupcake liner.
- Unfold. Decorate with colored pencils in your favorite flower design.
- Place the flower on the end of the straw.
Strawberry Butterfly Nectar Recipe
Please note, this recipe is only for young readers and not for real butterflies!
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
- Combine the strawberries and apple juice in a blender or a food processor. Puree until smooth. If the nectar is too thick to drink through your ‘proboscis’ more water or apple juice may be added.
Caterpillar Fruit Stamps
With just an orange or Clementine, some paint, paper, and crayons, your young reader will be able to make a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Oranges and clementines make great stamps for little hands; their large round make it easy to hold and stamp. If you use a clementine, you can cut it through the middle to make a circular stamp, or through from top to bottom to make an oval, which is closer to the actual shape of the body segments on the book's cover.
As they add the facial features and hair after the paint has dried, your reader can draw in some leaves, some fruit, the sun, or any other details they want!
Caterpillar Fruit Stamps
- 1 Orange or Clementine, cut in half
- Washable paint in green, red, brown, and purple
- 1 large sheet of white construction paper
- Containers for paint
- Colored pencils
- Cut the orange or Clementine in half. Pour paint of each color into different containers.
- Dip 1 half of the fruit into the green paint until the flat side is coated.
- Make a line of fruit prints of the white paper to make the caterpillar’s body.
- Press the other half of the fruit in the red paint then stamp it on the paper to make the caterpillar’s head.
- Dip a finger in the brown paint, then dot feet on the caterpillar body.
- Press an index finger into the purple paint, then press on top of the red caterpillar hear to make antennae.
- Allow the paint to dry.
- Use crayons to give the caterpillar a face. Use colored pencils to give the caterpillar hair on his body.
Caterpillar Life Stages
Learn about the life stages of a butterfly with wonderful photos and free coloring pages from The Butterfly Site.
After enjoying the book and learning about the life stages of a butterfly, encourage your little reader to grow like a hungry caterpillar with a fun creative movement activity.
Curl up on the floor and become a caterpillar egg. Maybe put a large pillow, a blanket or a towel on the floor to be a leaf then curl up on it.
S-t-r-e-t-c-h out of the egg and crawl along the floor like a caterpillar. Don’t forget to munch on good food along the way!
Roll your young reader up in a beach towel to be a caterpillar in a cocoon.
Just like The Hungry Caterpillar, your young reader can pretend to nibble a hole in the “cocoon” and push his way out as…. a beautiful butterfly who flaps his wings and flies around.
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