You probably remember Eric Carle’s famous story from back in preschool. The caterpillar started out teeny, ate more and more … and finally exploded into a butterfly! You may have put the book back on the shelf, but wait! Now that your child is in kindergarten, it’s a great time to build on old foundations and take them to a new level. In this activity, your child can use ordinary household stuff to create an original sequel to the old book—and maybe a family classic that your family will love just as much.
What You Do:
- Draw the simple shape of a large caterpillar on a long piece of freezer or butcher type paper. Your child will be gluing food images to different parts of the caterpillar, so make sure it is big enough.
- Give your child food magazines or grocery store circulars (removing the pages from the magazines will make it easier for her to cut out pictures).
- Have her “go shopping” for foods that her caterpillar would like to eat. Now that it’s kindergarten, see if you can blend in some nutritious meal planning, too: try putting protein foods in one bump, fruits in another, vegetables in another, and so on.
- Have her cut out these pictures and then glue the foods collage style all over the caterpillar’s body.
- Next, have your child compose her own story about food and The Great Big Quite Enormous Very Hungry Caterpillar! Depending upon her confidence with writing she may either dictate the story to you or she may write it independently with assistance from you when needed. Making a "word bank," or list of words she will need to write is also very helpful.
As she practices her independent reading skills, it would be great for her to revisit and read aloud these types of self-composed pieces of writing to help build her reading confidence and fluency. As she becomes more confident with sentence writing, she may even want to continue the story and tell of more adventures by The Great Big Quite Enormous Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Victoria Hoffman, M.A. Teaching and Leadership, is an elementary school teacher, writer and mother from Leonardtown, Maryland. She has taught grades K-5 in both regular and special education classrooms.