The Very Hungry Caterpillar Themed Day

So I haven’t updated the blog for a very very long time. First summer happened and then I decided not to return to work and instead open a dayhome so its been pretty crazy over here but things have finally settled down so I will endeavor to update all of our fun activities. I have a blog on my dayhome website that details some of the activities that we get up to – you can see it at http://www.tinyexplorersdayhome.wordpress.com  – there will be some overlap between the two on occasion (like this post) but sometimes they will be different. Baby Z celebrated his first birthday in September so I will do an update on his sock monkey party as well. Anyway – today is all about the very hungry caterpillar.

I have been wanting to do a Hungry Caterpillar themed day for a while now and I finally got around to it. We have been reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar everyday this week, talking to the kids about the life cycle of a caterpillar and how cocoons are made. I brought out my computer to show them a real video of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly and Mr. J and Mr. E were very interested, Baby Z mostly just wanted to press the buttons on the keyboard.

We started off our morning with a caterpillar breakfast to get the kids excited about the theme and it was a great hit. Before the kids arrived I made some whole wheat pancake batter and coloured some green and some red (more green than red). To colour the pancakes I used a natural colouring agent that I bought on amazon because I’m not particularly keen on the ingredients in food colouring for little ones. Then I made super tiny pancakes, 5 green and 1 red for the head. For the eyes I sliced a mini marshmallow and put a chocolate chip on top (this was a big hit with the kids). I also sliced some strawberries and banana’s and put them on skewers s the kids got some fruit too.

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After breakfast we always do story time so of course today we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar but I also read Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?. Both these books are written by Eric Carle and are favorites in our house but I wanted to show the kids how the picture style was similar in both books and use that as an opportunity to talk about authors and artists and what they do. After story time there was a bit of free play and when the kids pulled out the mega blocks I figured it was a good chance to get them thinking about the colours of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Referring to the pictures in the book I asked the kids to pick out blocks that were the same colour and use those to build. This was a good activity for even Baby Z who is only 13 months because I could talk to him about colours while he learned to connect blocks to each other and be part of the group.

I was actually very excited about our first snack today because a) I made it last night meaning I had no work to do and b) I just thought it was super cute. I used green apples, strawberries and chocolate chips for the eyes – seriously so cute!!

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Next we worked on a caterpillar craft using egg cartons, plastic eyes, pipe cleaners and paint. I cut a row of egg cartons for each kid including baby Z and prepared the paints. The older kids coloured the body green and the head red using paint brushes and baby Z sat in his high chair with non toxic green and red paint and tried using a paint brush to colour his egg carton but mostly just got paint everywhere – but there were lots of smiles so it was worth it. After it dried we glued eyes on and threaded a pipe cleaner through the top of the head for antenna. I really liked this craft because all the kids enjoyed working on it in their own way regardless of age.

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In the book, the hungry caterpillar eats through food and makes a small hole so that’s what I did for lunch. First we had a butterfly sandwich and in addition we had strawberries, swiss cheese, watermelon and ham with a hole in it just like the book.

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One of the kiddos here has a speech therapist that works with him on tuesday’s and today she brought a caterpillar game and invited Mr. E to play with them. I could not believe my luck – a caterpillar game on the same day that we are learning about caterpillars – how perfect. Baby Z could not participate with this – there were small parts and it was above his abilities. It was however a very neat game called caterpillar scramble – here’s a link. I listened in to the speech therapist who was having the boys work on their L’s like caterpiLLar…lalalala – so after she left I kept emphasizing this for the rest of the day…L sounds.

After Baby Z’s nap we had our afternoon snack which was some uninspired fruit and a butterfly of goldfish using a clothespin and pipe cleaners.

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All in all it was a great day and I think the older kids learned a lot – Mr. E even talked about cocoons today and how butterfly’s came out of cocoons and that caterpillars are like tadpoles – because later they turn into something different  – such sponges kids are.

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