Classic children’s books are timeless and can continue to bring smiles to people’s faces well into adulthood. What a lot of people don’t even realize is good quality children’s books go way past simple enjoyment and provide a wealth of educational opportunities. One of our favorite stories is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It is a simple story that has been enjoyed by generations. Next time you revisit this book with your child try focusing on some of these topics:

  • Counting: There are lots of counting opportunities in this book – from simple counting of the fruit, to addition to work out how many things the caterpillar likes.
  • Days of the week and time: A great way to teach the order of the days, how many days in a week and the passage of time (for example, “more than two weeks”). You can also link this in to everyday examples, such as “Today is Friday”, “Saturday is on the weekend” etc, and talk about day time versus night time.
  • Healthy foods versus occasional foods: The caterpillar is healthy and happy when eating fruit but gets a stomach ache when he eats too much food that is a treat.
  • The lifecycle of the butterfly/caterpillar: A great way to introduce nature into your conversation and how things change. Your child will be fascinated next time they see a caterpillar or butterfly in the garden!
  • Don’t forget general reading skills! You can talk about capital letters and full stops, you can find the word ‘caterpillar’ wherever you can and you can try sounding out words you don’t know.

Don’t forget our golden rule – reading should be fun. Find books your child loves and then look for ways to add extension educational activities such as our ideas above. The possibilities are endless!

About the author

Eric Carle was born in America in 1929 and is one of the world’s most popular authors for young children. He writes and illustrates his own books and is known for his beautiful and colourful collage style illustrations and the extra dimension he often brings to the pages (such as the cut-out holes in this book where the caterpillar has eaten through the food). His books have sold over 103 million copies, and even now, well into his 80s, he receives ten thousand pieces of fanmail from children every year.

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