Monday, March 18, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Foam Play Set

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The boys love reading Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  We always have to stop extra long on the food pages so they can try to poke their fingers through the holes.   That's why I put together a play set for the boys.  The play set is made from foam, which means it can be used in or out of the bath tub.   I will explain the two different ways to play below.

The Materials
  • A copy of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle
  • A short green pipe cleaner
  • Foam to make all the foods in the book
  • Scissors, hot glue gun, and hole punch to assemble the different foods

I made all of the food using foam and a hot glue gun.  I tried to match the colors to the ones in the book as best as I could.  Then I hole punched each one so that the caterpillar (aka pipe cleaner) could be pushed through the foods.
The play set and the book that inspired it!
Option #1: Bath Time
For this option, the pipe cleaner isn't used.  The foam shapes will stick to the tub when wet.  Read the story to your child while they are in the tub.  Encourage them to find the foods and stick them to the tub as you read the book.

Option #2: Regular Story Time
As you read the story to your child, encourage them to find the foods.  Then have them use the pipe cleaner as the caterpillar, guiding it through the holes in the different foods.

The Invitation to Play (Option #2)
F was over for the afternoon.  She happened to spot the food sitting on top of the deep freeze and asked if she could check it out.  Of course, I obliged, but not before reading the story to her.
F has the caterpillar eating the apple.  She even made
a chomp sound as the caterpillar went in.  I was also
surprised to learn that she had never read this book before.
On to the pears...
J participated by helping her locate the different foods, especially the oranges.  For some reason, he wanted to hoard the oranges.  Then he asked to play after she was done.
Close up of J feeding the caterpillar an apple.
This play set is good for developing hand-eye coordination and for gauging your child's reading comprehension.  Your child can also practice their counting skills as each day of the week has a set number of foods (e.g., Monday had one apple and Thursday had four strawberries).  You can also discuss the concept of weeks and days with your child.  

Regardless, I think that the kids will enjoy bringing this classic story to life with this play set.