The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a much loved book by little ones and parents alike. In fact, it was my son’s favorite book when he was little. This book is beautifully illustrated and teaches lessons that you can apply to your little student’s homeschool curriculum. If you intend on teaching from a literature based approach or simply want to add in book studies or unit studies to keep your child interested, here is a way to incorporate use this book for those purposes.
A great choice for a number focus for this book is seven based on the number of days in the week. As you read the section on what the caterpillar ate each day of the week, be sure to count out the days and the items the caterpillar ate each day. To extend this lesson, have a set of math manipulatives ready to have your student count out to the number seven. Use writing practice sheets with the number seven to instruct your child how to write the number and encourage number recognition.
Since the book is centered on a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, an obvious science focus is the lifecycle of a butterfly. You will find several free printables online to assist you in teaching this concept. You may want to cut out the different stages and make a mobile as a craft.
Letters B and C will be your letter focus for this book. You may choose only one of those letters if you think that is best for your child. Print out writing practices for the letters to teach the proper letter formation and letter recognition. You can send your child on a scavenger hunt with a paper bag, having him pick up objects that begin with the letter “B” or “C” or both depending on your child’s level. You may want to print out or look through magazines for pictures of items beginning with your letter focus. Take these images and glue them onto a giant “B” or “C” you made from construction paper.
This book also opens the door to a nutrition discussion. The caterpillar makes food choices throughout the book that you may want to discuss with your child. You can explain the proper food choices as opposed to the caterpillar’s poor food choices which led to a tummy ache. Depending on your child’s level, you may want to discuss the nutrition of the fruits the caterpillar eats in the story. You may also want to construct a food pyramid to demonstrate proper nutrition.
Another concept in the book that is address is the days of the week. This can lead into calendar activities or the memorization of the days of the week in order.
A simple unit study for little ones on this subject can be found HERE.