Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities to Celebrate Read Across America Day

Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities to Celebrate Read Across America Day

We love to read at our house! My daughter has always loved books and I have surrounded her with them from birth. She always had books she could explore on her own and I would read to her throughout the day. She will still sit on my lap and have me read to her for upwards of a half hour! The power of books to get my toddler to sit still for that long shocks me but, reading is that powerful! And I will hear her pretending to read books to her stuffy friends. Flashback to my childhood, it was also filled with books and my mom saved most of them. Some of them are comically representative of the time period in which they were written and the story doesn’t always translate to today. But, there are classics that have stood the test of time. Every week I will usually pull out a few new books for my daughter to enjoy. Anything new keeps her attention longer and she wants to read that same book a dozen times in a row. So, I was excited to find The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. One of the most well-known children’s books in the world and I had not even introduced it to my daughter yet! I brought it in and we sat down to read. As I opened the cover I was shocked to find that it was a signed copy. We have since treated it with great care and have enjoyed reading it many times over. It has been fun to see it through the new eyes of my daughter and see the fascination this book still holds for children. So, I thought it would be fun to plan some activities for us to enjoy with the book in celebration of Read Across America Day. There are so many great very hungry caterpillar activities, but I’m sharing just our favorites.

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very hungry caterpillar activities

What is Read Across America Day?

I didn’t know much about Read Across America Day, so I did a little research to find out more. I was surprised it is actually a somewhat recent creation, starting in 1998 by the National Education Association.

NEA’s Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading. This year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about everyone, for everyone.

National Education Association

It’s celebrated each year on the birthday of another beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Raise your hand if you read at least one Dr. Seuss book growing up. I’m guessing you are raising your hand. Some of the first books gifted to my daughter were Dr. Seuss. We love the ABC book!
(Ducksters. (2021). Holidays for Kids: Read Across America Day. Ducksters.) 

dr. seuss abc book

Reading is incredibly important for young children. As I shared in a previous post, reading with your child from an early age has been proven to have great benefits for their future literacy skills and overall learning. Here are just a few statistics:

Children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get 3 more years of schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. Evans, M. D., Kelley, J., Sikora, J., & Treiman, D. J. (2010). Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28(2), 171-197.

By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers. Raikes, H., Pan, B.A., Luze, G.J., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S.,Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine, J., Tarullo, L.B., Raikes, H.A., Rodriguez, E. (2006). “Mother-child bookreading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life.” Child Development, 77(4).

Children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who were read to less than 3 times a week. Denton, Kristen and Gerry West, Children’s Reading and Mathematics Achievement in Kindergarten and First Grade (PDF file), U.S. Department of Education, NCES, Washington, DC, 2002.

About The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Rediscovering this childhood favorite, I was curious about it’s history. It was published in 1969 and has now been translated into 62 languages. It remains so popular that someone buys a copy every 30 seconds worldwide!

Carle said of his book, “I think it is a book of hope,” he says. “Children need hope. You, little insignificant caterpillar, can grow up into a beautiful butterfly and fly into the world with your talent. Will I ever be able to do that? Yes, you will. I think that is the appeal of that book.”

NPR, June 12, 2019 Neda Ulaby

There are many reasons the book’s appeal has remained strong. It’s success is it’s simplicity while still being educational. In very few words it helps young children expand their vocabulary with food, days of the week, colors, and numbers. It teaches some important concepts like healthy eating along side basic animal biology as children learn how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

Carle didn’t become an author until the age of 40. Although he was born in New York, his parents moved home to Germany just before World War 2. This resulted in a very sad and challenging childhood for Carle. He returned to the United States at the age of 23 as soon as he graduated art school. After serving in the US military he moved into a job in advertising before eventually writing. Source: NPR

Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities

Scissor Skills Pages

Scissor skills are very important for young children to develop finger dexterity and fine motor coordination. They’ll need these skills for many things, but writing is one of the key ways these skills will matter down the road. Read more about how scissor skills can help your young child here. That’s why I created these fun scissor skills pages to add to the Very Hungry Caterpillar activities list. You can download this freebie on my member’s only page. Subscribe here.

very hungry caterpillar activities

Caterpillar mosaic

We made this fun mosaic picture together. I printed this coloring page on cardstock. Then we ripped up red and green construction paper. I gave my daughter the glue stick and she glued the pieces wherever she wanted. She loves to use her fine motor skills gluing the pieces on.

very hungry caterpillar activities
very hungry caterpillar activities

The Very Hungry Caterpillar DIY Flower Pot from Oriental Trading

very hungry caterpillar activities

Coffee Filter Butterfly from The Simple Parent

very hungry caterpillar activities

Butterfly Growing Kit from Amazon

I gave this to my nephew several years ago. It is such a neat experience for kids to see the life cycle of a caterpillar into a butterfly up close and personal. I can’t wait to do this with my daughter when the weather gets a bit warmer.

Caterpillar Pancakes inspired by Secrets of a Supermom

I love making fun shapes with my batter dispenser. It’s also great for filling cupcakes with less mess.

very hungry caterpillar activities

Cupcake Pull Apart from Oriental Trading

You could reduce this to one line of green cupcakes with 3 red cupcakes for the head for your smaller family crowd.

very hungry caterpillar activities

Caterpillar Fruit Snack from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

very hungry caterpillar activities


Coming up with activities for your young kiddos can be stressful. The time it takes to look up ideas and plan can be too much sometimes. That’s why I wanted to create this fun way to celebrate Read Across America Day. You can use this with your toddler who isn’t in school yet or with your preschooler to supplement what they are doing in school. You could designate a whole day to enjoy and celebrate. Making the ordinary special is always fun for kids. Why have a regular Saturday when you can have a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed Saturday? Start with some caterpillar pancakes, then pick a couple crafts to do together. Have the Very Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Snack with your lunch. Then practice scissors skills and set up your butterfly habitat. Wrap up dinner with the Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcake pull apart. I hope you enjoy these ideas with your little ones for a stress free fun time celebrating Read Across America Day with Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities.


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