"The Very Hungry Caterpillar," first published in 1969, remains one the most popular children's books. Suitable for all ages, it follows a caterpillar through its stages of development. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," by Eric Carle, is not only an engaging introduction to books but also can form the basis for many interactive activities for infants.
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Numbers and Days
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" provides a useful introduction to both numbers and days of the week. Because the plot takes place over one week, you can practice sounding out and pronouncing each day of the week with your infant. Encourage your infant to compare the things he ate on each day of the week with what the caterpillar ate. Similarly, follow the plot to introduce the numbers 1 to 7 with your infant. If possible, provide examples of what the caterpillar eats for your infant to count.
Next time you visit the grocery story, take your infant along and ask her to help you buy the items eaten by the caterpillar, such as a red apple, a plum and an orange. Allow your infant to handle the object, smell it and talk about the colour. Give her the responsibility for putting each item into the cart. Also allow her to place the items on the conveyor belt and put them into grocery bags when you have bought them.
To do this, you will need a long piece of yarn, a hole punch and images to represent the caterpillar's food. Draw the outline of each item and cut them out, allowing your infant to colour them. As you read the story aloud, pause each time you get to an item of food. Ask your infant to locate the correct image. Sequence the story by punching a hole in each image and letting your infant string it onto the yarn.
Once you have finished reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," take your infant outside to find butterflies in the garden or at a park. Take paper and coloured pencils with you and find a quiet place to sit together. Let your infant get inspired by the natural surroundings and the varieties of butterflies. If you don't see any butterflies, you can always take along a butterfly book to browse together. Encourage him to experiment with patterns and colour in his drawings.
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