Practically Hippie » where mainstream meets green

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Book summary

A caterpillar goes through its life cycle from egg to butterfly eating some fun foods along the way.

Notes & Thoughts

This was the very first theme we explored during our preschool homeschooling. Gabriella was 34 months old. I had already ordered the Before Five in a Row manual and wanted to get started on something while I waited on the manual. I had never actually read this book and we obviously didn’t own it, but it became an instant favorite.

I was aiming high since it was my first time and tried to do a different theme for each day- Monday was apples, Tuesday was pears, Wednesday was plums, etc. but by Wednesday I could not think of a single “plum” activity so we just went with bugs, caterpillars, butterflies and apples. It was probably the best start I could have asked for. Gabriella fell in love with the book and the semi-structured activities that gave her a chance to spend some one-on-one time with me while Preston was napping.



  • Painting with apples: I cut a green, yellow and red apple in half and Gabriella dipped them in paint and stamped paper with it. I read a great idea about saving kids’ art project for wrapping paper and this project is perfect for that!


  • Caterpillar egg carton craft: I cut an egg carton and let Gabriella paint it. Then we finished it off with a pipe cleaner antennae and wiggly eyes.


  • Thumbprint apples counting activity: I drew out 10 boxes and Gabriella put her painted thumbprints in each box and we drew on the stems and leaves. I had to help a lot with this activity to keep it from turning into fingerprinting. After we were done, I let her paint her hands and do hand prints and some messy painting.


  • Apple colors treasure box: I created a box themed with all red, yellow and green items for this week. the box included foam shapes (from Target’s dollar spot), apple erasers (from Target’s dollar spot), stacking cups (from Ikea).


  • Magnet pages: I printed and laminated several magnet pages to go with the theme and put them on a cookie sheet so Gabriella could sort and stick the magnets to it.


  • Symmetrical butterfly: I folded a piece of cardstock in half and then let Gabriella squeeze different colors of paint along the center folded line. We folded the paper in half, opened it back up and let it dry. Once dry, I cut out the butterfly shape and we talked about symmetry. Gabriella liked finding the matching paint on both sides of the butterfly.


  • Bug hunt: As the culmination to our week, we signed up to attend a bug hunt at Guadalupe River State Park, which is only about 30 minutes from us and has a great kid-friendly park ranger who hosts educational activities. They gave us bug nets and collected everyone’s catch in a central container to do a show-and-release at the end. Gabriella got to touch a butterfly before it was released and she thought that was really fun. It was 95 degrees out and we were exhausted so don’t mind the grumpy face in the photo, she really did enjoy it!