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The Very Hungry Caterpillar: feeding the caterpillar

‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle is one of those kids books that will be read for many generations to come. I’m 28 and remember reading and enjoying it when I was little. I bought the book for Harrison when I was about five months pregnant, and we have read it many times!
We weren’t going to start this theme until Monday, but the kids spotted the bits for it and I’m not going to discourage them!!

First of all we decorated the wall in the dining room with some Very Hungry Caterpillar things. This wall is opposite where the kids sit to eat so they will see it a lot, and over the week we will add our bits to it.
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We made a caterpillar spelling out their names. This was simple to make. On green paper I cut out circles for each letter and a red circle for the head. On the red circle I drew a friendly face and on the body we wrote the letters. This is great for teaching letters and name recognition. Harrison points excitedly every time he sees it!!

I also printed out and laminated (yes, I love laminating. Stand still long enough and I will laminate you!) these days of the week cards from Making Learning Fun. These are also on the wall and when we finish the theme, we will put these in a story sack.

As well as this, I printed off some cute little number cards showing what the caterpillar ate each day, which will also be laminated for the story sack! These can be downloaded here.

They loved playing ‘feed the caterpillar’ which was a great start and hook into the theme. This had taken a bit of prior preparation one night last week, when everyone had gone to bed. I used up all my odds and ends of felt but it could easily be done with paper – you could print these fab printables off from Twinkl

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I covered a tube (Pringles type) with green paper and used a craft knife to cut a ‘mouth’ in the plastic lid.  I used a glue gun to stick on pipe cleaners for antannae. I then used the scraps of felt to create all the food from the story. This was fiddly but fun!!

We sat and read the story together and ‘fed’ the caterpillar the food as we went through it. They loved this!! It was perfect for numeracy skills as they counted them, speaking skills as they told me what each item was, and great for fine motor skill development as the had to push the food into a small slit – perfect for Alex!!!

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Long after finishing the story, they were still having fun with it, and even wanted to play with it whilst watching their new ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ DVD that nanny bought them (from The Works, £2.99!).

A great start to our themed week!

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Melissa and Doug Pizza Party Review

For Christmas, Harrison and Alex had some Melissa and Doug sets. I had asked for these as they looked lovely and when we played with them I was even more impressed.

Melissa and Doug are an American company that specialise in toys that promote creativity and imagination. Most of their toys are wooden which I especially love as I have a soft spot for wooden toys. They last longer and always look much more beautiful than plastic ones!

My personal favourite is their pizza party set. You can buy it from the entertainer http://www.thetoyshop.com/Baby-and-pre-school/Wooden-toys/Melissa-%26-Doug—Pizza-Party/p/377523.

It comes presented in a beautiful wooden tray that holds the set together. My only tiny criticism is that it doesn’t have any sort of lid – but that literally is the only negative thing I can say!

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It is a beautiful wooden pizza with Velcro on so it can hold together or be ‘cut’ with the wooden pizza cutter tool into six slices. This is brilliant for early numeracy skills. We’ve been using it to count! It is also a way of introducing basic fractions to children. We’ve already started talking about haves using it. If I was still teaching in schools, i’d definitely be using this for fraction lessons!
It comes with over 50 ‘toppings’. These are small round discs with a picture of mushrooms, peppers or salami on and have Velcro attached so they stick to the pizza slices. You can put three toppings on each slice. Again this is fantastic for numeracy skills. Harrison likes to ask me which toppings I want and I can give him various answers e.g. two mushrooms and one pepper. We also had fun sorting out the toppings and making sure they were in the right space!

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So far we have had loads of fun with this, and we can use it alongside our toy market stall and kitchen for brilliant role play. It’s also given me a great idea for a craft activity – watch this space!

If you’re looking for a lovely durable toy, I would definitely recommend this!!

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ohsoamelia

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Invitation to Play: Playdough and Pasta

I was looking through the pictures on our Facebook page (link( and found photos of our very first ‘invitation to play’.
When we did this activity back in January there was absolutely no planning involved. I just remember there being thick snow outside, Gray was working 12 hour shifts, I had a 9 week old baby and 19 month old toddler to amuse! This was a spur of the moment activity before I’d ever heard of Pintrest or anything like that, and it kept Harrison amused for ages!

The set up was really easy and quick. On his little table I gave him a pot of play dough, and a tub with dried pasta tubes and dried spaghetti and left him to it. Within minutes he was making balls of dough and sticking the spaghetti strands in, and then threading the dried pasta onto the stands. It was a perfect activity for developing fine motor skills!

Now he’s a year older I’m going to do this again,and let Alex have a go. I will challenge him more this time by asking him to count the pasta tubes. I’m going to provide a bowl of cheerio-type cereal for threading as well, and see if we can thread x amount of cereal on the strands of spaghetti.

A brilliantly simple and quick activity that kids will love!

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