Monday, 27 January 2014

'The very hungry caterpillar' topic theme - activity ideas for the EYFS

As a young girl I always loved the very hungry caterpillar story by Eric Carle, so I was especially excited to read it to my own children. I have created a list of ideas for activities to go with the story. All activities have been grouped into the EYFS areas of learning that I feel they best fit into. 

Eric Carle is a wonderful story writer and his books always have the most beautiful pictures. Due to my slight obsession with his stories I have decided to cover two of my other favourite titles; 'Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?' and 'The very busy spider.'

Please feel free to contact me if there is any other title you would like me to cover. :)

Dont forget to hop over to my pinterest Eric Carle board for many more ideas.

Personal, social and emotional development.

  • Make the very hungry caterpillar snacks - try using chopped apple for the body and a babybel cheese for the head, or sliced cucumber for the body, sliced tomatoes for the face and raisins eyes.
  • Make a large hand print caterpillar, all the children could put their own name on their hand print.
  • Make an accordion style caterpillar card. You could include photos of the children on each card.
  • Put out the snack food that the hungry caterpillar eats. Encourage the children to try the foods and comment back on whether they like them or not.
  • Talk about feelings - How might the very hungry caterpillar feel when he hatches out of the egg, when hes trying to find food, when hes metamorphoses into a butterfly.
  • Look at how we have grown since being a baby. Think about how we will look as adults. Try encouraging children to draw a picture of themselves as an adult.
  • Make The very hungry caterpillar placemats.

Physical development.
  • Make a pom pom caterpillar
  • Make a caterpillar sock puppet.
  • Make a caterpillar with play dough.
  • Make a caterpillar face out of a box. Cut out a big hole and play a game where they throw in the bean bag, or scrunched up paper.
  • Thread a caterpillar necklace.
  • Make a finger print caterpillar.
  • Thread painted pasta onto pipe cleaners to make a caterpillar.
  • Thread foam shaped food pictures.
  • Balloon print caterpillar.
  • Thread a pipe cleaner caterpillar through the holes in leaves and food.
  • Make a paper chain caterpillar.
  • Move like a caterpillar or a butterfly. Snuggle up like a cocoon.
  • Fold paper to make a paper fan butterfly.
  • Hide different coloured paper caterpillars and butterflies in the garden. Children have to try and find their chosen colour. The fist one to find all of their butterflies and caterpillars is the winner.
  • Make some play dough icecream.
  • Play running games. The children have to run across the garden picking up all the food that the very hungry caterpillar eats. The first one back is the winner.
  • Play jumping on large paper circles across the room. The winner is the one that manages to get to the caterpillars head first.
  • Cut around circles to make a very hungry caterpillar.
  • Cut out a folded butterfly shape, unfold it to make a butterfly.
  • Cut fruit in half to make butterfly wings.
  • Encourage your child to roll themselves up in a large blanket or sheet like a cocoon.
  • Thread around food shapes, leaf shapes..
  • Thread a cheerio caterpillar.

Communication and language.
  • Make some caterpillar face cakes, and biscuits. Talk about what you are doing and how we have to follow a recipe when cooking.
  • Make a puppet show.
  • Act out the story of the very hungry caterpillar.
  • Create some food flash cards.
  • Borrow or buy the very hungry caterpillar book in another language and compare the two books.
  • Make story props, and retell the story.
  • Make some finger puppets.
  • Make a large box and post in the food that the caterpillar eats.
  • Talk about our favourite fruit and listen to others.
  • Discuss what the children think will happen next. where will the butterfly go now...
  • Make up a poem about the very hungry caterpillar.
  • Listen to the poem 'Mondays child is full of grace...'

  • Make an upper case and lower case butterfly matching game.
  • Create a caterpillar alphabet line.
  • Make a group book on everyone's favourite foods.
  • Make an alphabet book based on the very hungry caterpillar book.
  • Practice writing the days of the week in a variety of mediums; sand, paint, shaving foam..
  • Colour in The very hungry caterpillar pictures.
  • Match food to initial letter.
  • Make your own very hungry caterpillar sight word game.

  • Measure different sized paper caterpillars.
  • Sequence the life cycle of a butterfly.
  • Count out the right amount of the different fruits in the story, and set them out in the right order.
  • Look at the patterns on butterflies.
  • Play kims memory game - put a cloth over the different props in the story. Sneak one of the props away whilst the children have their eyes closed. The children have to guess whats missing.
  • Make different sized egg carton caterpillars. Use them for ordering, comparing and stacking.
  • Create patterns on the caterpillars body.
  • Match the food to the day of the week.
  • Encourage the children to put the days of the week in the correct order. You could also look at their understanding of 'today', 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow'
  • Play 'build the caterpillar' game. The children start with the caterpillars head. The body is split into 6 circles. Each circle is numbered 1-6. The children have to take it in turns to roll the dice. they have to find the numbered circle that matches what number they got on the dice.The winner is the first one to build the caterpillar.
  • Make patterns using different food.
  • Turn a butterfly picture into a jigsaw.
  • Make a butterfly picture using different shapes.
  • Stick on different shapes to the butterflies wings. Make sure the wings are symmetrical.
  • Make a caterpillar number line.
  • Make a matching game with numbered rocks and paper leaves. hole punch the leaves to correspond with the number on the rocks.
  • Colour in a 'colour by number' caterpillar picture.
  • Make a very hungry caterpillar bingo game.
  • Make a fruit matching game.
  • Create sequence cards to help children retell the story.
  • Count how many different types of fruit the caterpillar ate. How much food did he eat altogether.
  • Make butterfly doubles. One wing has the numeral on the other wing has the correct amount of dots on.
  • Graph what food the very hungry caterpillar ate.
  • Copy patterns on butterfly wings.

Understanding the world.
  • Watch the very hungry caterpillar on youtube.
  • Look at the butterflies life cycle.
  • Label a butterfly.
  • Make a very hungry caterpillar sensory bin.
  • Make printing pictures with fruit.
  • Go to the supermarket and try and find all the different foods that the very hungry caterpillar eats.
  • Go on a leaf hunt, try and find leaves of different shapes.
  • Make shadow puppets.
  • Look at the pattern on different leaves.
  • Encourage children to scan or photocopy their own work.
  • Use the internet to learn more about the butterflies life cycle.
  • Make a map of the very hungry caterpillars journey.
  • Try and find a real caterpillar, butterfly or cocoon. 
  • Use the internet to find out what other animals undergo metamorphosis.

Expressive arts and design.
  • Make a bottle lid caterpillar.
  • Butterfly printing.
  • Decorate butterfly pictures.
  • Make food bunting to hang up.
  • Create a caterpillar by printing with paper cups.
  • Make a hand print butterfly
  • Leaf rubbing.
  • Make a caterpillar mask.
  • Decorate print outs of all the different types of food eaten.
  • Create a caterpillar by using painted flat stones.
  • potato printing caterpillar.
  • make a hand print caterpillar.
  • Make a foot print caterpillar.
  • Apple stamping.
  • Balloon printed caterpillar.
  • Collage pictures.
  • Create a caterpillar picture by printing with kitchen roll tubes.
  • Make a felt caterpillar.
  • Make a paper plate caterpillar.
I hope you like this list and you manage to use some of the ideas. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. I would love to hear them xx

If you are after fun educational printable resources for preschoolers, then look no further. Here at Mummy G I have a huge selection of topic themed preschool resources packs. Click here to find more information..


  1. I have used The Very Hungry Caterpillar to cover so many areas of the curriculum, so many of Eric Carle's books include great learning opportunities and are also great to use with non native English speakers (if they haven't already been translated first!).

    1. Thats very true Catherine. His books are so simple to read, but easy to plan activities too. One of my other favourite books is the brown bear, brown bear story. :)

  2. I used Brown Bear, Brown Bear when teaching English to french primary school children. THe resulting rendition was a delight to watch and listen too and it gave a great opportunity for practicing new vocabulary.

    1. That sounds like a wonderful idea Sue. My eldest lad did the same thing, but with the very hungry caterpillar book. It was a parents afternoon, so I got to go and help him do the activity in his classroom :)
      Have you seen my brown bear, brown bear post?

  3. Best list ever about one of the best kid's books ever. Thanks so much.

  4. Thank you Lesley thats very kind of you. :)