The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Some books just have a universal appeal - and Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of those books. 

Written over 45 years ago, the simple story with its striking illustrations has been a favourite for generations. But it's not just a visually appealing storybook - The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a rich source of learning opportunities for children of all ages. Early years and childcare professionals can find hours of inspiration within the covers.

That's why we've worked with Puffin Books to produce a free, downloadable early years resource pack, crammed with activities inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar book that link back to the areas of learning in England and Wales.

The pack contains activities that will inspire you to help extend learning through children's interests. Designed for a range of ages and stages of development, the activities will also help spark your own ideas for learning through play.

Activities include: 

Crafty ideas - making The Very Hungry Caterpillar a place to sleep

Exploring cooking - smoothie ideas and foods to taste

Mark-making - beautiful butterflies and 3D caterpillars

Understanding the world - springtime sounds and spotting baby animals

A much loved book

Other Very Hungry Caterpillar resources

Live butterfly garden

Watch as your caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies. An ideal learning opportunity for your setting,the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly normally takes two to three weeks: seven to 10 days in caterpillar stage, and seven to 10 days in chrysalis stage.

Stories in sign

The Makaton Charity sells a downloadable pack to help you use Makaton alongside The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Exploring books together

A shared story between a child and a familiar, loved adult has a huge impact on children’s interest and motivation for reading later on. – Penny Tassoni, PACEY President and childcare author

PACEY members can download free worksheets that explore popular books and look at ways to extend children's learning with ideas and activities connected to the story and linking back to the early learning goals in England and Wales. Log into MyPACEY to explore and download the worksheets, covering titles including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Gruffalo. 

Share ideas on Facebook

Visit the Ideas for Creative Childcare Facebook groupe to see what other childcare professionals get up to when they use The Very Hungry Caterpillar in their setting. 

Share your photos of what you get up to in your setting. We love this balloon caterpillar, created by childminder and PACEY Champion, Sally McGeown, to get you started.

all copyright © Eric Carle

Additional Resources

Boogie Mites Munch, Munch, Munch music resources provide a song to encourage musical role play of the life cycle of the butterfly and an instructor video to see how this song can be introduced and extended in the setting. The lyrics are also provided and can be used to tell the story with repetition, rhythm and rhyme – supporting strong foundations for literacy.

Request your resources.