Are you trying to find books for your bugs speech therapy unit? Using The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a great book for your literacy-based speech therapy sessions. What I love about this book is you can theme-smash a bugs-theme with a food theme! In this blog post, you will learn how to work on goals using The Very Hungry Caterpillar in speech therapy.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Speech Therapy

The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities and resources for speech therapy #slpeeps

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic children’s book for preschoolers and early elementary students. I use this book every year with my K-2 students. When trying to increase engagement reading this book try some of these ideas:

During the spring months, I love incorporating bugs and insects into my themed units. The cool thing about an insect theme is that bugs are around all year long, so you can use this theme any time of the year. My favorite times to do bugs are Spring and Summer because that’s when those creepy crawlers come out for kids to see! If you don’t own the book, you can always use the YouTube read-aloud and put it on mute while you read the story. 

Toys and Activities for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I look on Amazon first when I need toys, games, books, or anything. As a busy SLP and mom, I don’t always have the time to hunt around stores for resources. There are a TON of Very Hungry Caterpillar toys and resources for extension activities. Here are some that I found on Amazon (amazon affiliate links included for your convenience):

Plan an engaging hungry caterpillar lesson plan for your preschool speech therapy groups.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities with Craft

Gets very hungry caterpillar activity ideas with crafts!

I enjoy doing crafts as part of my push-in lessons to support basic concepts, functional communication and pragmatic language. You can make these sponge caterpillar crafts using paint, sponges and construction paper. Here are some speech and language skills you can target with the craft:

  • Requesting items
  • Basic concepts
  • Initiating conversation by showing peers and staff their craft

Sometimes you can make crafts that will also help cover goals such as story retelling. You can do a fun caterpillar craft that will help with sequencing and story retell from A Little Pinch of Perfect.

If you like making hat crafts, Primary Playground has a fun free caterpillar hat craft.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Speech & Language Activities

Here are some speech and language activity ideas you can do with the book:

Articulation ideas: Go on a sound hunt with the pictures from the story. Have students look and listen for words that have their sound.

Basic Concepts: Follow directions with basic concepts using props from the story.

Category ideas: Sort fruits, vegetables and junk food. Or sort food vs. insects. You can discuss if a food is healthy or junk food.

Vocabulary: Practice describing a caterpillar and butterfly by attributes. Do the same thing with the food in the story. Have a taste test to describe fruit as crunchy, juicy, sweet, sour, color, size, shape and category.

Grammar: Target present and past tense for verbs, as well as, marking plural nouns that happened in the story. The students can describe the verb actions in each picture. The caterpillar ate four strawberries.

Plan engaging speech therapy lessons with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Language Activities

Get hungry caterpillar activities for your preschoolers and early elementary students.

Listening Comprehension: Students can practice answering wh-questions from the story. One way that I scaffold the story for some students is by asking a question every page or every 2-3 sentences. When I read the story, I will read it out loud all the way through. Then, I will use the book page by page to talk about all the details in the story. The next session when I read the story to the kids, I will stop and ask questions. At the end, we will retell the story together.

Oral Narration: Students can work on sequencing and story elements using The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book is great for students that need visual supports to remember a story because the story has lots of visuals to support the story.

Social Skills: When you create a caterpillar or butterfly craft only put one set of art supplies on the table. Students have to practice initiating, waiting, and sharing supplies with another student while creating the craft.

The Themed Therapy SLP membership has a whole bug unit with extension activities, reinforcer games, and ideas to plan with any bug themed book.

The Hungry Caterpillar Lesson Plan for Push-In Speech Therapy

During my SDC K-2 push-in language lesson, we read the book, described the caterpillar and then did the caterpillar craft. The next session, I read a new caterpillar book and we then went on a bug hunt outside! You can hide insects in the grass and have students look for bugs! I am a BIG fan of TOOBS and used my insect TOOBS (amazon affiliate link) for this activity. These are the fruits and vegetable TOOB items (amazon affiliate link) I would use if you have the students pretend to be hungry caterpillars. If you want to rock the bug theme longer than a week, use the bugs speech therapy language lesson plans for push-in!

Get tips for planning a very hungry caterpillar speech therapy push-in lesson.

Easy Tip Lesson Planning Tip For SLPs with High Caseloads

The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Speech Therapy

When I had 75-83 students on my caseload with two Autism Special Day Classrooms and one mild-mod Special Day Classroom, I would plan activities with a similar theme for as many groups as I could. I felt that it was easier for me to learn how to teach the language and scaffold skills if I was using the same concepts for a lot of different students. I would find ways to adapt the theme for students abilities, interests and ages. So, often times, I read this book 7-10 times in a day. It was hard to keep the energy up, but it definitely made me feel less stress when planning lessons. So older students, I may not actually read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I might find a non-fiction passage or video to learn about caterpillars.

What resources, or activities do you plan with the book? Let me know in the comments. 

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