Friday, March 21, 2014

Very Hungry Caterpillar Day

Yesterday (March 20th) was national "The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day," in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Eric Carle's beloved children's story.

We adore the book and the artwork (even used it as the theme for Jacob's first birthday party), so when I heard about the special day and saw that schools, libraries, and Carle-lovers everywhere were planning activities to celebrate, I thought we should join in and have our own Caterpillar Day! Jacob already seems to enjoy crafts and themed-activities (I'm rubbing off on him), so he had a great time.

I want to share what we did, in case you or your child love this story, too! These activities are geared toward toddlers (probably around 18 months - 4) and would be fun on any day, not just Caterpillar Day, so pick one or do them all -- maybe even incorporate them into your own birthday party plan?

We started the morning with some cuddles and reading time (the story itself and also his plush caterpillar "book" that just has simple images and key words). I read the story aloud and then had Jacob name and count items from the book. We also discussed items' colors and really lingered on the Saturday page (with all the food), as he loves to point out the pickle, the chocolate cake, etc.

Then we went about our normal morning routine -- playing, getting ready, and such -- and resumed Caterpillar Day at lunch time with this little surprise on his plate:

I made the caterpillar out of half a grape tomato, pickle slices (skin cut off), and shreds of cheese. Cucumbers would be a prettier (and healthier) option, but I knew Jacob wouldn't eat those, and green grapes would be healthy and cute but are a choking hazard for toddlers. He loves pickles, just like mommy, so it worked :)

I prepped the craft supplies while Jacob ate and played and talked to him about what we were going to be making later (but waited till after his nap, so that he was refreshed and happy). After he woke up, we did these little projects:

1. Color, Cut & Paste Caterpillar:

- free printable templates, found here
- background paper or card stock
- crayons
- scissors & tape or glue


Have your child color the caterpillar pages! They can scribble to their heart's content and even add stickers or glitter if you want. Jacob said he was done after some pretty basic two-year-old scribbling, but that was okay with me :)

Cut out the pieces. An older child may be able to do this (with child scissors), but I needed to do this step for Jacob. I handed him each piece as I cut them, so he played with them and attempted to put them together like a puzzle. 

Tape or glue the pieces onto the background paper. It helps to start with the last one (back end of the caterpillar) first. Again, since he's only (almost) two, I put the tape on and showed him where to put each piece, so that it would end up actually looking like a caterpillar! He enjoyed sticking each piece down and saying "bam" ;)  He was proud of the finished product, and I wrote his name and the occasion on the green paper (see above).
2. Caterpillar Necklace:

I found this on Pinterest, and the original tutorial for this adorable necklace can be found here.

- yarn or string
- construction paper or card stock (ideally in red, green, yellow, and orange (or purple)
- tubular pasta noodles (penne, rigatoni, etc.)
- white vinegar
- green food coloring
- scissors, hole punch, & glue


Gather your materials and dye the noodle beads (I used this tutorial because I hadn't dyed noodles before and the original necklace tutorial called for rubbing alcohol. I didn't have any and also wanted to use something safer! Using vinegar and food coloring is very quick and easy -- just allow a couple of hours of drying time before stringing the beads.) Scrap paper works great for this because you need very small amounts of paper; I just happened to have the green polka-dot scrap and thought it would be cute to include.

Make the caterpillar's face and body. An older child definitely could help much more with this part! I just pre-cut the circles (about 1") and made the little face (to match the book) while Jacob was napping. Punch a hole in each piece. 

The fun part! Have your child string the "beads." Start with the last body circle and work your way backwards to the head, putting a noodle in between each paper circle. Jacob struggled a bit with the stringing at his age, so I got each piece started and had him pull the yarn all the way through -- he still thought it was great! Tie knots at the head and tail after stringing, so that the caterpillar stays centered on the necklace. 

Admiring his work!

Since he enjoyed the stringing and struggled with the yarn, I grabbed a pipe cleaner and let him practice more "stringing" for a while on that. You could easily adapt this craft for toddlers and just make a pipe cleaner caterpillar instead of a necklace! 

There are tons of other cute activities out there, but a toddler can only do so much in one day! I just did a Google search and also browed Pinterest for TVHC craft ideas, and these two seemed both age appropriate and easy to do with items we already had. They both went over very well! Mom and toddler approved :)

No comments:

Post a Comment