The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Age Range: 5 - 11

A much-loved classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has won over millions of readers with its vivid and colourful collage illustrations and its deceptively simply, hopeful story.

Book Author: Eric Carle

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Can you write a similar story about a 'very hungry' animal? What happens to it?
  • Retell the story from the point of view of the caterpillar. Why was it so hungry? How did it feel after eating so much?
  • Can you use alliteration to describe some of the food that are eaten? (e.g. lovely lollipops, scrumptious strawberries).
  • Read the story and try to retell it to a friend. Can you remember all of the food that was eaten, in the correct order?
  • Create your own puppet show where you perform the story to an audience.
  • Find the different types of food that the caterpillar ate, in the wordsearch?(see Resources below).
  • Here is another video in which the author talks about the inspiration behind the story:


  • Use Venn / Carroll diagrams to sort the foods that the caterpillar eats.
  • Count the total number of foods that were eaten by the caterpillar. How many of these were fruit / vegetable / contained meat etc?


  • Sort the foods that the caterpillar eats, in different ways. Which ones are healthy / unhealthy? Which are processed / unprocessed?
  • Think of a healthy / unhealthy meal for another hungry caterpillar.
  • Find out about the life cycles of caterpillars / butterflies. Find out about the life cycles of other animals.
  • Learn about metamorphosis. Find out about other animals who undergo metamorphosis.
  • Watch a video which shows the metamorphosis of a butterfly, e.g.


  • Make a stop-motion animation which retells the story.
  • Use software to make a computer game (using software like 2DIY) which is based on the book, e.g. where the caterpillar has to collect the correct types of food.

Design Technology

  • The book has holes cut into some of the pages. Try to make another story / book which might also have holes cut out of the illustrations. What could the holes be for?
  • Make a pop-up book which retells the story.


  • Create a collage of a big, fat caterpillar!
  • Create another collage showing the beautiful butterfly.
  • Look at photographs of butterflies and paint your own. You could try folding a piece of paper in half and painting one half of a butterfly on one side. Then fold the paper over, press it down and open it out to reveal the full butterfly.
  • Cut a hole out of a piece of paper and create a picture around it. What could the hole represent? A window in a beautiful building? A missing piece of a puzzle? A gigantic hole in the ground?


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I've used this story (in translation) to teach French in primary school. It works so well! The children know the story already so it's not too difficult for them to grasp what's happening. It teaches days of the week, numbers and food all at once.
In my year 5 group we have started working on the Very Hungry Family which means they are writing their own version of the story but with family members instead of a caterpillar!

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