Life cycles – The very hungry caterpillar

This programme is designed to introduce the children to the concept of change and to explore the life cycle of a butterfly through activities and games.

Key concepts: change, seasonal changes, offspring, variety, camouflage

Leaning outcomes
By the end of these programme the children should be able to:

  • Identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants
  • Able to imaginatively illustrate and describe the life cycle of a butterfly
  • Understand that caterpillars are part of a food chain: plant – caterpillar – sparrow
  • Work in small groups to create a piece of artwork using natural materials
  • Recognise that all living things need to be handled with care

Programme Outline

Programme outline for very hungry caterpillar
Learning goals Activities
Introduce the concept of change through the life cycle of a caterpillar Life cycle story
Read the story ‘The hungry caterpillar’ and to make sounds and actions. Change will be discussed through the story and a song with actions.
Green plants are eaten by caterpillars for food. Common plant identification. Nibbled leaf clues
A short activity where children are nature detectives and explore the local area to find evidence of hungry caterpillars.
Discuss that caterpillars are different colours and sizes. Which colours are easiest to find? Introduce the concept of camouflage Colourful caterpillar camouflage game
The children are sparrows that need to find lots of caterpillars to feed their hungry chicks!
To apply understanding about the butterfly life cycle. Name some body parts – antenna, body, head, wings, legs Life cycle picture
In small groups the children are asked to make a life cycle picture of a butterfly on the ground using natural materials.
A fun activity to reinforce and assess learning points of the programme Life cycle relay race
In small groups the children ‘hop, skip and jump’ to collect life cycle pictures which they then put into the correct order.
To assess understanding of learning points of the programme
Could introduce a predator for discussion
Conclusion
The children act out the caterpillar life cycle and share interesting facts and discoveries.

This programme can be adapted to look at the life cycle of a frog, ladybird, bee and plants.