The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle

Lesson ideas, printables, bulletin boards, poems, and much more for your literature unit!
Make sure you look at all of this page. It is filled to the brim with ideas and printables... don't stop until you can no longer scroll!
UPDATED - April 2013


Some Ideas To Use With This Book

First Click to Watch this adorable video!

STORY SEQUENCE: Provide a long piece of yarn, a hole punch, and patterns of the different foods (apple, pear, plum, strawberry, orange, piece of chocolate cake, ice cream cone, pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, lollipop, piece of cherry pie, sausage link, cupcake, watermelon) which appear in this story. Students will color, cut, and punch a hole in each food. Then they may squence the story by putting the food on the string as they appear in the story. You may want to have your students do this while you read the story for the second time or you may wish for your students to try this after you have read the story.

PHONICS: Use the patterns of the foods above. Make cards with the beginning letters (a, p, p, s, o, c, i, p, s, s, l, s, c, w) of the foods. Have students match. To make this more difficult. Place your food patterns in a pocket chart, say a sound, and then pick a student to come up and take one food item that matches the given sound!

MATH: Initially, the caterpillar in the story is small. Provide each group of students eight caterpillars of various sizes (make out of construction paper) an 8 index cards for each caterpillar showing the inches of one of the caterpillars. Have the students work together to measure the caterpillars and then match the caterpillar to the correct index card. Walk around the room and check each groups responses. When finished have each student place all the materials from this activity in a ziplock bag. Collect each set and keep for future use.

MATH/GRAPHING: The caterpillar in this story enjoyed many foods. Prepare a graph with the foods the caterpillar ate. Give each student a small sticky note. Have them write their name on the sticky note. Then have the students place their sticky note on the area of the graph that shows their favorite food. When everyone has placed their sticky note on the graph - ask graph questions: What food was choosen the most/least? How many apples were choosen?...

SCIENCE: Use patterns of the life cycle of a butterfly and have students practice sequencing them. (little egg on leaf, little caterpillar on leaf, larger caterpillar on ground, very large caterpillar on big leaf, other leaves nearby have been eaten, caterpillar building a cocoon, caterpillar inside of a cocoon, butterfly emerging from a cocoon, and butterfly flying away)

LITERARY ANALYSIS: Try making a Venn Diagram comparing this story with The Very Busy Spider.


Let's Eat!!!

Make a Cupcake Cake like the one made by Coco Cake Cupcakes

Learn how to make this Bundt Cake here!

More Fun Things to Explore:

All you need are a few pom-poms and a clothes hanger to try this super clippy craft from Skip to My Lou.

Make a dot butterfly or a muffin tin filled
with yum!

Get really creative and make this cupcake Hungry Caterpillar Cake from I think I may be in love with this!!!

My Caterpillar to Butterfly Cookies

We ate yummy cookies – the cookie cutter for the Caterpillar Cookies can be
purchased here!


Some Ideas from Our Bugs and Caterpillar Packet
Click here to learn more about this and/or order.

First Up, a free treat from the packet
Here is a Caterpillar Paper Bag Puppet from the packet.
You can use to retell
Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
He eats all the food from the story. Great way to practice sequencing the events of the story.

Click to Download The Caterpillar Paper Bag Printables

Click here to learn how to get your hands on over 17 files!!!

My Favorite from the packet - Printables and directions to make a CAterpillar Apron. When finished you can
feed the caterpillar and see the food in his belly. Great for retelling the story!!

Pocket Chart Pieces to Match the Story!

Our Roll an Object Games are always a hit - Here is one for colelcting the parts of a Caterpillar and then
once you have all the parts, put them together to form a picture.

and more...

and more

Click here to learn how to get your hands on over 17 files!!!

I recently attended a Kindergaten and PreSchool Tea put on by the staff and PTA of Bower Hill Elementary School... There were many creative ideas there that are too cute not to share...

The green balls are cake pops! The large red one is a strofoam ball.

There he is hanging high. Made with paper lanterns.

The napkins were tied with fake leaves. Hole punched to look like the caterpillar had been munching!

Gotta love the art work!

So much yummy food for all who attended.

I felt honored that they shared my Caterpillar Bug Pack (click here to purchase)
and each teacher who was at the workshop went home with
one of the Caterpillar vests from the packet. (
You can make your own... click here)

Great books were presented and shared by Myra R. Oleynik , one of the authors of Personalized Reading: It's a Piece of PIE


Math & Science Fun

*Bar Graphs
~graph how many children like the caterpillar versus the butterfly better.

~graph the children's favorite foods or even favorite day of the week.

This site shows pictures of graph activities using the book!

~ measure some plastic insects
*Use the bugs to create a problem
~Find some cute clip art  butterflies and color them with zig zags, polka dots, and stripes.    Have them laminated, then cut them in half, and have the children put them back together like a puzzle. 

*Count by fives
~Cut out circles from different colors of construction paper.  Decorate one to be the face.  On the others, write the numbers from 5-100 when counting by 5's.  Laminate.  Put Velcro on the back and have children place in order on the flannelboard or Velcro strip.

*Addition and Subtraction problems:
Ex. On Sunday the caterpillar ate one apple and on Tuesday he ate two pears. How many pieces of fruit did the caterpillar eat?
*Taste and compare some fruits and vegetables the caterpillar tried.

1:  Look at and smell the variety of fruits. Compare the colors and textures of the outside surfaces.

2: Cut fruit open with a knife. A child can help if using a table knife. What do you find inside? Are there many seeds? What size and color are the seeds?

3: Have a taste of the fruits. Which fruits have edible seeds? Is the inside of the fruit the same as the outside?

4: Can you tell a fruit by its smell or taste? Close your eyes and try.


Read and Write

Before Reading : Show the book. Discuss what the book could be about.

Explore creative movement like a caterpillar.

Explore creative movement like a butterfly.

Invite predictions about how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

DURING READING: As you read, question students on what they think the caterpillar should eat.. Distribute dance sacs. Have students creatively move inside of sacs to music.

Discuss how the caterpillar changes into the butterfly and have the students emerge from the dance sacs.

AFTER READING: After reading the story, talk about what happened inside the cocoon.

Talk with the students about their knowledge of butterflies.

After discussing why the butterfly got a stomachache, have children brainstorm foods that would give them stomachaches. Give each child a piece of paper with the same sentence at the top: <Child's Name> ate ______, ________, and________. At the bottom of the page write, "That night <Child's Name> had a stomachache!" Have each child draw three food items on the paper and write the words using inventive spelling. Put the pages together to make the book, "Stomachache Stories."
Have several student volunteers create a cover and a title page for a class book. Give each child a piece of white construction paper with the same sentence at the bottom, "My hungy caterpillar _________." After brainstorming action words that could describe all the little things caterpillars do, have each child select select one word to finish his/her sentence.
 Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday
 Sunday  butterfly  caterpillar  cocoon  hungry  

Some Songs and Poems

The Fuzzy Caterpillar
Tune:  Itsy Bitsy Spider
The fuzzy caterpillar
Curled up on a leaf,
Spun her little chrysalis
And then fell fast asleep.
While she was sleeping
She dreamed that she could fly,
And later when she woke up
She was a butterfly!

I'm a Butterfly...
Tune:  Pop Goes The Weasel
I spin and spin my chrysalis,
Then I go rest inside.
When I come out,
've changed indeed...
Look!  I'm a butterfly!

Pretty Butterfly...
(Up on the House Top(Christmas Song)
First comes a butterfly and lays an egg,
Out comes the caterpillar with many legs.
Oh, see the caterpillar spin and spin,
A little cocoon (chrysalis) to sleep in.
Oh, oh, oh, look and see
Oh, oh, oh, look and see
Out of the cocoon (chrysalis) my, oh, my
Out comes a pretty butterfly.

Caterpillar Song
(To the tune of  the Addams Family theme song)
My tummy is fat (snap! snap!)
I like it like that  (snap! snap!)
I wiggle around,
I jiggle around,
It's fun being fat.  (snap! snap!)
Oh, I'm a fat caterpillar,
Such a fuzzy feller.
I like to eat and eat,
This leaf is such a treat.
(repeat from beginning)
More Great Poems & Songs

All About the Caterpillar to Butterfly Life Cycle For Preschool!

You can click here to see more in that pack!

All the files in the pack are centered around the life cycle.

I have a free sample below from the Preschool Butterfly Life Cycle Packet.

It is a cut and paste of the life cycle in color. The packet has it in black and white to allow for students to color.

Click Here to Download the Life Cycle Cut and Paste!

The packet has the little book above and the pocket chart pieces too!

And who knew about these fun products???


I suggest you print him out on cardstock. Cut out his mouth and belly. Staple him to a Sandwhich sized ziploc baggie. Once he is on the baggie, cut a hole in the baggie through the hole in his mouth. This way when the students feed the caterpillar, all the items end up in the baggie. Great way to retell Eric Carl’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Plus each kiddos can ALL take one home!!

Click Here to Download The Ziploc Baggie Caterpillar File!

I came across this on pinterest and tweeked it a bit to make my own hat. It turned out as seen below!

Pretty Easy. Just made templates for the eyes and used a butterfly that could be colored for the back of the hat.Click here for the printable which includes the butterfly I used if you would like to also…

This hat goes great with two of our packets that are stuffed with Buggy ideas. Check out this and this!

GREAT books and products!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book with Plush Caterpillar
I'm a Caterpillar
Where Butterflies Grow
A Monarch Butterfly's Life
Gotta Go! Gotta Go!
Waiting For Wings

Amazing Butterflies and Moths

From Caterpillar to Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly


I used a popsicle stick and placed pom poms on it to make the caterpillar body.  Added wiggle eyes and pipe cleaner for the antennae. Painted a toilet paper roll brown for a cocoon.

Used an old fashioned clothes pin ... again tying the pipe cleaner on top for antennae (on the round end) Then in the slit I folded colored tissue paper like a fan and slid it in the slot.  I opened it up and poooof a butterfly...

Connect all of the with a pipe cleaner ... one end of the pipe cleaner through the tiny slot in between the pom pom and the craft stick...Then the other end through the toilet paper roll ... the other end of the pipe cleaner gets folded over the end of the roll to secure it and slide the butterfly right over it (through the slit in the clothes pin) ... it is a representation of the caterpillar making it's cocoon and coming out a butterfly

Linda Hert - Grade 1 - Arizona

Come on over and see my Hungry Caterpillar Pins...

To Print and Make/Use

Felt Board Characters or Puppets
includes grreat templates to use. A must see!
Story Sequencing Cards
includes templates to print! Also
includes ideas. Another great site!
Caterpillar Coloring Page Monarch Chrysalis Coloring Page

A maze to print

Simple coloring pages for
many of the fruits and other items mentioned in the story.

Butterfly Coloring Pages
Fruit Coloring Pages
Leaf Coloring Pages

Graphics from the story -- food items Beginning Butterfly Book  Count 1 to 10 butterflies as you learn to read.
Very neat book to print and make!
Butterfly Life Cycle Printable Activity Sheet Connect the Dots
Which Butterfly is different? Help the Caterpillar - Maze
Decorate a summer window:
String the butterflies from a curtain rail, or use small pieces of sticky-tape to attach to the top frame of the window. 

Butterflies 1

Butterflies 2


Try one of these awesome free printables.

Love these
sequence cards...

Print out and cut
felt board characters; or print these on card stock and stick a magnet on the back.

Print out a book for your students or child to color.

Days of the week
Label Butterfly Anatomy Label Butterfly Life Cycle
Label Caterpillar Anatomy Life Cycle Printout
Butterfly Book to Print Butterfly Quizzes to Print 2-6
A print-out for 1st and 2nd graders. Solve the addition problems to determine the colors. Illustrated Butterfly Dictionary - Over 300 entries, including butterflies, moths, and butterfly terms.


Butterfly Fingerprint Craft Butterfly Mask
Butterfly TP Roll Craft Lots of Food Crafts
*Egg Carton Caterpillars:

Materials: paint, paint brushes, glue, construction paper,
pipe cleaners, cotton balls, and egg cartons

Methods: First, cut the egg cartons into sections of three.

Next, glue the egg carton to a sheet of construction paper
Then paint the egg carton. Allow the carton to dry. Next, glue some cotton
balls to the top of the carton. Place two pipe cleaners into the front of the egg carton.
Draw on eyes and a face. You now have a caterpillar

Check out these cute caterpillar
crafts using your students image.

Links to Great Sites on the Same Topic!


Pre-K Pages Insects! The Virtual Vine's Unit!
many ideas from many teachers here! A great insect unit

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