Reading and Learing About Caterpillars and Butterflies

Weekly Trip to the Library

Each Saturday on the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter blog we take a Weekly Trip to the Library for nannies and au pairs. The following book and activity are from Scholastic, a terrific resource for reading and learning with kids.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a simple one that emphasizes numbers and days of the week. Kids can touch and feel the book while learning how to count. After popping out of an egg on Sunday, the very hungry caterpillar eats holes through the book’s pages as he eats his way through a variety of foods, beginning with one apple on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, ending with five oranges on Friday, and 10 different foods on Saturday (chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, a cupcake, and watermelon).

Not surprisingly, the very hungry caterpillar ends up with a stomach ache. Fortunately, a serving of one green leaf helps. The now very fat caterpillar builds a cocoon. After staying in it for two weeks, he nibbles a hole in the cocoon and emerges a beautiful butterfly.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly Activity:

Provide children with cardboard egg cartons, paint, and pipe cleaners. Invite children to make their own caterpillars. Separate a row of eggs cups (about four, to six cups) from an egg carton. Using the point of a scissors, an adult should make two small holes at one end for the antennae. Insert pipe cleaners for the antennae. Add eyes, a mouth, and decorate

Ask children to write, draw, or dictate their own stories about the different kinds of foods their “very hungry caterpillars” eat.

Children can then make butterflies from their caterpillars. Provide children with large sheets of paper glue, brushes, and a variety of tissue paper Children can glue the body of their caterpillar onto the center of their paper and create the wings of their butterflies using tissue paper and glue.

Raise Butterflies:
Insect Lore Butterfly Bungalow(See all Science Games)provide the opportunity to observe and study the different stages of the caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly.

Click here to find toys and games to supplement The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Related Books:
1. The Butterfly Alphabetby Kjell B. Sandved
2. From Caterpillar to Butterfly Big Bookby Deborah Heiligman
3. The Little Butterflyby Sherry Shahan

Reference: The cardboard egg carton and tissue paper activity originally appeared in the April, 2000 issue of Early Childhood Today. Stop by next week for another Weekly Trip to the Library.


  1. In my portfolio is a photo of a former charge and I using the Very Hungry Caterpillar sequencing cards from this link – talk about healthy eating and food groups while using them too.

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