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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama

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Eric Carle’s picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is a colorful classic that has engaged young children since 1969. The protagonist—a very hungry caterpillar—appeals to children’s insatiable appetites for both knowledge and snacks! This wonderful book is perfect for exploring with your youngest learners at home, featuring beautiful artwork and plenty of practice in recognizing, naming, and counting everyday objects.

If you’re looking to expand on this timeless tale in your homeschool, get ready! Today, we’re sharing how to create a The Very Hungry Caterpillar diorama. We’ll also include additional learning ideas to engage children of different ages in your homeschool.

This craft is part of a literary diorama series that we feature each month on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! You might be wondering: “Why dioramas?”

Dioramas are hands-on and fantastic for creative learning. When used in conjunction with reading, they allow children to re-create and remember what they’ve absorbed from the story. Dioramas are also multi-sensory, making them ideal for engaging different types of learners. And the variety of tasks involved can be suited to different levels of fine motor skills, which makes them a good team project if you have a variety of ages at home.

Keep in mind that these The Very Hungry Caterpillar diorama instructions are flexible! You can use our instructions as inspiration, but feel free to encourage your learners to think about their favorite part of this story, too. Your children may want to create some of their favorite snacks from the story, for example! Make it personal to your learning experience!

Clay Craft to Accompany The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama

That said, one thing you will absolutely need for this diorama is the caterpillar, himself! While you could fashion one out of pom poms or construction paper, we have detailed step-by-step instructions for an adorable, clay one here!

This caterpillar looks so much like the one in the book and would be great to create on day 1 of your The Very Hungry Caterpillar study! This clay caterpillar craft emphasizes the bright colors and different shades in Eric Carle’s collage-style art. We highly recommend you make one as the first step in your The Very Hungry Caterpillar diorama.

Check out The Very Hungry Caterpillar Clay Craft here!

And you can also use clay to make the clay fruits from The Very Hungry Caterpillar story.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar diorama

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

From Book 1: Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perennial favourite with children and adults alike. Its imaginative illustration and clever cut-out detail charts the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week.

How to Make The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama

Ready to create The Very Hungry Caterpillar diorama? Here are the supplies you’ll need, followed by some step-by-step instructions and a video!

List of Supplies for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama

  • Colored craft/construction paper
  • Colored cardstock paper
  • Diorama Box (a shoebox works great)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Sharpies in different colors
  • Clay (to make the foods, caterpillar and/or butterfly to go inside the box, according to your personal creativity)

Step 1

For the very hungry caterpillar diorama scene, we wanted to keep the sun and the tree from the story, so we combined these two 2 illustrations for our craft. When recreating drawings from this story, keep it very simple and focus on elements of shape! Drawing out important background elements could be a job for an older child or adult in the family.

Step 2

Simplifying scenes or images from the storybook also makes it easier to trace, cut out, and craft the items for the scene.

Once you’ve drawn your background objects on white paper, you’ll use this as a template to cut out those shapes in cardstock.

Step 3

Select colored cardstock for the patterns and use a pencil to trace them. Use scissors to cut out the traced patterns. Our design includes the sun, the tree, a leaf, and a layer of bushes. We suggest using different shades of yellow and orange for the sun rays.

Step 4

Use sharpies to add texture and shading to the prepared items (trunk, leaf and sun). Look at some of Eric Carle’s artwork with your children and see what stands out to them about the way he uses different shades of the same color.

Step 5

Glue the leaf to the trunk, in the middle. Glue the small strips (sun rays) along the round edge of the sun cutout.

Step 6

Measure and cut out construction paper to cover the inner sides of the box. We’re using blue paper for the back, top, left, and right parts of the box for the sky and brown paper on the bottom.

Step 7

Make folds on the prepared paper to align it neatly with the folds of the box. Attach the blue background paper to the back of the box, also covering the top.

Step 8

Measure and cut out brown paper or cardstock paper and attach it to the bottom of the box.

Step 9

Measure and cut out papers from blue craft paper and cover the left and right side of the box too.

Step 10

Apply glue along the bush pattern and attach it to the diorama box along the bottom. You may want to place it closer to the back of the box so it is easier to place the clay items inside later.

Step 11

Apply glue along the top and left sides of the the sun pattern and then attach it to the left side of the diorama box. If you put it towards the middle of the box it will add some extra dimension to your project!

Step 12

Apply glue along the top and bottom of the tree and then attach it to the right side of the diorama box.

Step 13

Follow our clay tutorials to make the caterpillar for The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama, and then add any finishing touches that you love from this sweet story!

Check out:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Diorama Video

More Learning Ideas with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

In addition to creating the diorama, there are plenty of other ways to extend the learning and fun with The Very Hungry Caterpillar to make it engaging for kids of all ages. Here are some fun ideas to get you started!

Explore Collage Art

Eric Carle’s vibrant collage technique is one of the things that makes his books stand out! He used many different shades of paper to create the dimensional effect in his illustrations. Learn a little bit about how different types of collages are made. Then spend some time looking through a few of Eric Carle’s books.

What do your children observe about the art? Once you’ve learned a little bit about collages, it’s time to create your own! Provide your child with various colored papers, magazines, and glue, then challenge them to create their own collages inspired by the artwork in the book. Kids will absolutely love the creativity and freedom of this activity, and it will help them learn more about the art world, too!

Learn About Eric Carle

Explore the life and work of Eric Carle with your kids! Read a biography or watch a documentary about his life and artistic process. Older children can use their organizational and writing skills to create a presentation and/or write a report about him. Since he was born in the 1920s, this could also provide some interesting historical learning as well!

Have Fun with Food!

Use this story as a starting point to talk about nutrition, healthy eating habits, and kitchen skills! You could:

  • Discuss and then print out a blank version of the food pyramid. See if your children can classify each item the caterpillar eats.
  • Bring in the days of the week (another theme in The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and work together to create a meal plan that won’t leave you with a stomach ache (like the one the caterpillar gets).
  • Have your children plan a fun meal inspired by the story and then create – and eat – it together.

Early Math Skills

Reinforce counting skills by counting the foods the caterpillar eats each day. Create fun math games, like matching the number of foods to the corresponding day or using playdough to make the foods and count them.

Days of the Week

Use The Hungry Caterpillar to teach your young learners about the days of the week. You could use markers to draw a colorful calendar with days of the week, and ask your child to draw pictures of the foods the caterpillar eats each day. Find a day-of-the-week song that you love to help it stick!

Butterfly Life Cycle:

Dive deeper into the science of butterflies. Discuss the stages of the butterfly’s life cycle, from egg to caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. Create a craft or chart that illustrates each stage, or observe real caterpillars transforming into butterflies if possible.

We hope you use some of these fun ideas to extend your study of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Dioramas and other hands-on learning activities like this can be a wonderful way to help create positive associations with books that can last forever! Which of these ideas will you try at home?

More Fun Dioramas!

Love a good diorama? We have you covered!

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Katie Gustafson has been a member of the world of “weird, unsocialized homeschoolers” for a long time–first as an alumnus and now as a homeschooling mom to a fiercely fun little girl! She’s very into anything creative, especially writing, dancing, and painting. She’s also particularly passionate about literature and owns more books than she will probably ever be able to read. However, she reassures herself with the belief that, in the event of a digital apocalypse, she’s cultivating a much-needed physical library for future generations. Katie is happy to contribute articles to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Hip Homeschool Moms and Sparketh. She also has a personal blog on writewhereuare.com.

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