Eric Carle. Need I say more?
This adorable book takes the reader on a trip through a very hungry caterpillar's life cycle, from egg to butterfly, detailing everything he eats along the way, including one apple, two pears, three plums, and so on. In the board book edition, there are holes in the pages to represent what the caterpillar has eaten--so cute!
All insects go through the same life cycle, from egg, to larva, to pupa, to adult, but since butterflies are pretty (and caterpillars are pretty, too), that's the insect life cycle we usually hear about, and no self-respecting Camp Scarlet director would let a bug theme go by without spending a day on caterpillars.
So last week, we read up on that hungry caterpillar and then we used this great free printable from dltk-teach.com to practice sequencing and reinforce the story.
First the kids cut along the dotted lines, then they pasted the pictures, in order, on a piece of paper (I cut a piece of construction paper in half length-wise, and then taped the two pieces together to form a long strip, 4.5" x 18").
The kids almost immediately decided that they wanted to make Hungry Caterpillar Hats from their sequences, which worked out well since the life cycle is, well, a cycle. The adult lays an egg and it starts all over again.
Next, it was time for a snack, so we decided to make crunchy (and not-so-crunchy) caterpillars--thanks to my sis Buckwheat for the idea and recipe.
This is the non-crunchy version. Buckwheat told me to use frilly toothpicks--the frilly stuff becomes the antennae--but we didn't have any, so I just used regular toothpicks and uncooked angelhair pasta for the antennae. Just use a grape for the head and blueberries for the body--so easy to do and fun to eat!
And here's the extra fancy crunchy version:
Dip the caterpillars in yogurt (you could probably use vanilla pudding in a pinch), then roll in granola (you could use crushed breakfast cereal if you prefer). The dipping is where having a frilly toothpick "handle" to hold on to comes in handy. Hint: if you go the pasta route for the antennae, add them after you've rolled the caterpillars in the cereal.
The kids didn't want to try this version, but it was so, so yummy! I generally steer away from blueberries, because they tend to taste sour to me, but with the sweetness of the yogurt and the granola, they were just perfect. In fact, when I'm done here, I think I'm gonna go make myself some more of these.
Finally, it was time to make our very own Hungry Caterpillar.
I painted the kids' hands like this:
Green on the palm, red on the fingers (or whatever colors you prefer). Then press the hand to the paper as many times as fit or look good. Add a red oval head (or wash and paint the palm red for a head), and add pipe cleaner antennae, googly eggs, and a mouth.
And that's it for our friend, the hungry caterpillar. Next up: the butterfly lifecycle.