Set up this simple activity for preschoolers based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, create, play and learn the days of the week.

One of our favourite books to read with toddlers and preschoolers is The Very Hungry Caterpillar and we just love creating activities around that book. Today we’re sharing with you an easy to set up activity with play dough based on the story. So dig out your play dough or make your own – we have included links to 2 easy play doughs to make with your toddlers and preschoolers and set up this simple activity for some The Very Hungry Caterpillar Play Dough.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

We have included links to the book as well as products we used in this activity. If you purchase via these links we may earn a small commission.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, is a classic story and one that I remember with fond memories from when I was a child. I have been reading the book to my eldest since he was a baby and now both he and his young brother love the story and it is one which we read at bedtime often. In fact, it pleases me now that he can read the book himself, and he will take a turn to read it before bedtime.

Read Aloud childhood favourite The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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Knowing how much my boys love the story and how much they love using play dough, I decided to mix the two together and bring the book to life with some play dough interaction. I asked them to make a hungry caterpillar each and then make a butterfly each, assisting with their imaginative play and fine motor skills. I found lots of toy food items from their playroom to recreate all that the caterpillar ate on his journey to becoming a beautiful butterfly, and also used a leaf from the garden, a paper plate for the sun and the moon, a small basket for the cocoon and printed out the days of the week from the Learn the Day of Week with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity, which is helping to develop his writing and spelling skills.

Materials Needed for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Play Dough Play

For the very hungry caterpillar playdough Invitation to Create

red and green playdoh – you could try our edible play dough recipe or our simple 2-ingredient play dough recipe if you want to make your own
4 googly eyes
8 small brown pom poms
1 purple pipe cleaner, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 small black pom poms

For the beautiful butterfly Invitation to Create

as many different coloured playdoh as you can get (I did not make these as I had a collection in the cupboard stored up from past birthdays and Christmas!)
green ribbon, cut into 4 pieces
4 tiny googly eyes
buttons and pompoms
greaseproof paper
7 strips of paper and a pen/pencil
toy play food
a brown basket

Looking for Butterfly Printable Activities, then check out our Butterfly Activity Project Pack. With ideas for preschool to learn maths, writing and all about the life cycle.

Invitation to Play with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Inspired Play Dough

Creating Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired caterpillars with homemade play dough
Invitation to play with play dough based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Pass 2 pieces of greaseproof paper to your participants, along with equal amounts of the red and green play dough, and the eyes, nose, legs and antennae (google eyes, pipe cleaner and pom poms) so they can create their very own caterpillars.

addition of toys and natural features to retell the story of the very hungry caterpillar with play dough
creating very hungry caterpillar inspired beautiful butterflies out of colourful playdough

The top caterpillar was made by an almost 5-year-old and a 3-year-old made the bottom one.
Then using the props and the days of the week slips of paper, you can tell the story in your own time and with as much or as little interaction as you like.

Once the very hungry caterpillar has woken up from his sleep inside the cocoon, you can pass the assorted coloured play doughs, pom poms, ribbon and buttons to your children and ask them to make their very own beautiful butterflies.

play dough creations inspired by the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar with an invitation to play for preschoolers

Making the butterflies took ages and was fascinating to watch how Burton and Jenson approached making them so differently. Sometimes they borrowed an idea they saw the other one using, but they were absorbed in their own designs mostly.
This craft idea was so much fun and something which they have asked to do again very soon.

Inspired by this Eric Carle book based activity then check out more Eric Carle books that we recommend for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Here are some other activities you may like to see that we have taken part in over at Mummy Mishaps
Gruffalo Hunt, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, A Room On The Broom Birthday Party & Cake, We’re Going On A Bluebell Hunt, and Frozen Inspired Sandwiches
You can follow Mummy Mishaps via Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

Even more The Very Hungry Caterpillar Inspired Crafts and Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Beautiful stained glass effect butterfly art for kids to create. Ideal for linking learning with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Simple craft for toddlers that will then grow to create a caterpillar ideal for spring, bugs or growing themed fun. It's so simple even toddlers can make it and watch the seeds grow

Transforming Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft for Kids

Stained Glass Butterfly Picture

Cress Caterpillars

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Set up this simple activity for preschoolers based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, create, play and learn the days of the week.

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Set up this simple activity for preschoolers based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, create, play and learn the days of the week.
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.

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