Sensory Play – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Play

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great theme for children’s sensory play. Babies, toddlers and Preschoolers especially enjoy this popular book by Eric Carle.

The Kids Creative studios have covered this book on a few different occasions both at the studio and at events and parties. Keep reading for pictures and ideas of what we have done:

Sensory Play Installation

The Sensory Installation has been the most popular aspect of this theme, with babies and toddlers enjoying the handmade sensory caterpillar alongside the other sensory elements of the installation.

To make the caterpillar I used an Ikea toy holder and then sewed different colours and textures of fabrics to each of the openings. I then filled each opening with a sensory activity:

  • Noisy fabrics including a foil blanket and cellophane is great for babies to feel and hear.
  • Ribbons are good as a fiddle toy and can be used as a massage tool too.
  • Stacking blocks for older children to practice their fine motor skills
  • Ball pool balls to match the colours
  • Shredded paper – although messy is an unusual texture which is great to explore.

I cut the mouth out of the front and added a zip so that the caterpillar can be fed.

For the eyes I have used embroidery hoops with elastic bands that can be pinged – these are a great sensory tool, both for the noise and the action of pinging the elastic bands.

The rest of the room was then focused around counting out the different fruits – 1 apple, 2 pears, 3 plums, 4 strawberries and 5 oranges.

I have used a crawl through tunnel to go through the apple, 2 hanging pears as the pears, the 3 plums were 3 hula hoops which were covered with a foil curtain with musical instruments hanging from them, the 4 strawberries were 4 different red sensory bottles and the 5 oranges were orange balloons hanging from the ceiling.

This made a great environment to take children through a sensory story and depending on the audience we got up and walked through the different parts of it as we were reading the story. (This can be a little harder if you have an audience that are hard to settle!)

Messy Play & Art

To complement the sensory room we enjoyed:

  • Printing with fruit which smells and feels great (if not a little messy!)
  • Making our own sensory bottles to look like caterpillars
  • Making play dough caterpillars with pipe cleaner legs (great for fine motor skills)
  • Making butterflies with coffee filters and pegs – the coffee filters are really nice to paint on and you get really bright butterflies.
  • Using balloons full of water to print paint and make caterpillars – these balloons are heavy so a bit of a challenge for little ones and a great sensory input for children who need a bit of grounding.


Sensory Bottles

Along with the Sensory Play Installation, Messy Play and Art there is also a selection of Sensory Bottles related to The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme which are available through my Etsy store

Here is a video of the first sensory installation which took place in 2015.

For more inspiration of different Hungry Caterpillar themed activities check out my Pinterest board 



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