The {Very} Hungry Caterpillar

by Kelli Lewis

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Here’s how to use this classic tale by Eric Carle with Pre-K and Kindergarteners to review sorting, beginning sounds, counting, transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, and making connections to the story.

Before participating in the activities below, begin by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

1. Sorting

Provide items that are included in the book, such as apples, pears, strawberries, watermelon, pickles, lollipops, etc. I suggest that you use plastic items or some type of pre-made laminated cards. Allow students to sort the items together with ones that match the other. For instance, group all of the apples together, all of the pears together, etc. For students who need more advanced tasks, challenge your students to group them together using other attributes, such as size, color, shape, taste (sour, sweet, etc.), or even by seeds and no seeds or healthy and unhealthy.

2. Beginning Sounds

The hungry caterpillar eats different items on each of the days of the week. You can use this activity to review calendar concepts and days of the week. Have students try to remember what the caterpillar ate each day. Use the book to look back and find out or check with their guesses. Then, have students help you write two sentences for each day. The first one will state what he ate on that day, and the second one will list other foods that start with the same letter as that food. For instance: “He ate an apple on Monday.” You would write this very sentence. Then, students would try to think of other foods that start with “a” since apple starts with “a”.

3. Counting

Look back at the book. How many apples did he eat? (one) How many pears did he eat? (two) How many plums did he eat? (three) How many strawberries did he eat? (four) How many oranges did he eat? (five) And how many desserts did he eat? (ten!)

4. Metamorphosis

The hungry caterpillar made a cocoon around himself and went to sleep. Two weeks later, he woke up, and what did he turn into? Discuss this process, called metamorphosis, with the students and allow them to make a butterfly using paper and tissue paper pieces to make it colorful.

5. Making Connections

The hungry caterpillar eats many foods on his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly. What do you eat when you are very hungry? Have students write a sentence with the foods they eat when they are very hungry (“When I am very hungry, I eat ____.”), and then draw a picture to match their sentence.

To view a really cool Very Hungry Caterpillar board game, click here!

These creative ideas were shared by Kelli Lewis, a graduate student at The University of Georgia.



Filed under Activities, Art, Centers, comprehension, creative writing, Games, Math, Phonics, Reading, Science, Writing

4 responses to “The {Very} Hungry Caterpillar

  1. Kay Wallin

    I am a multi-tasker at heart, so I love lessons that allow me to teach multiple concepts. I especially like it when the lesson is based on something as simple as a child’s book.

  2. Susan

    What great ideas. I like that you can adapt The Very Hungry Caterpillar to so many different age groups. We also use it as a nutrition lesson and what it feel like to eat so many different things.

  3. Miss Jones

    Love it!!!! I developed these same lessons while in college.

  4. peggy

    This is such a great book. I enjoy reading it to my classes each year in science as we study life cycles. I will incorporate some of your ideas next year to spruce up my lesson! Thanks again for all the great ideas this year. Love this part of your webpage!!