Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pretending with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Last week I shared two of Julie Reinaas's ideas for extending play using familiar songs and nursery rhymes. She had an additonial idea for us that could either fall under the topic of extending play or under the topic of helping children transition from playtime to nap or bed time.

Julie uses one of Eric Carle's beloved stories, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The story gives children the opportunity to learn many different things. On one level, children can learn about the concept of metamorphisis. The book follows the development of a butterfly from a tiny egg, to the caterpillar stage, to the cocoon stage, to a beautiful butterfly. On another level, they can learn one to one correspondence and begin counting with Carle's vividly colored fruits and foods. Carle covers the topic of eating healthy by letting children know that after the caterpillar ate chocolate cake, candy, and other sweets he had a tummy ache.

Using a caterpillar puppet that can be purchased with the book, all the foods in the story (plus anything one could imagine!) can be fed to the caterpillar puppet. After eating, the puppet can 'go to sleep' and by turning th puppet inside out a beautiful butterfly will emerge. Without the puppet, the child can pretend to eat pretend foods and then go to sleep under the covers and emerge as a beautiful butterfly. At this level of storytelling, we can touch upon a concept that all young children understand: growing up. Julie says it has been a great way to finish bedtime stories and to go to sleep happy.

The book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is available at both the Bruce and Ladysmith libraries. You will be able to find other Carle stories at your library, such as “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth and Little Cloud.

Toad House Publishing

Twinkletime Rhymes to Print

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