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Sensory Storytelling for National Read a Book Day!

  • By Sophie Baddeley
  • 6th September 2022

Tuesday 6th September is National Read a Book Day! This is a day to encourage us to engage with storytelling and get lost in a book. The benefits of reading are endless – and there are lots of ways you can enhance the experience of sharing stories even further. In this blogpost we’re going to take the classic tale of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and provide some ideas for sensory play and crafts that can make the experience of reading even more engaging for young people.

You can view The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle online here.

Create a The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Tray

A sensory tray is a great way to engage children with new textures, feelings, ideas and experiences. Sensory play allows for children to explore their senses in a safe and controlled environment and can provide opportunities to develop self-regulation in response to these sensory experiences.

You can buy specific ‘Tuff Trays’ or assemble your sensory tray in a washing up bowl, baking tin, or another suitably sized object.

If you’re worried about mess, lay out a towel or sheet underneath your sensory tray.

What to include in your The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Tray

Sensory Trays can be created using any range and combination of items and materials – meaning you can tailor it to meet your child’s current sensory needs.

In the story, the Very Hungry Caterpillar munches his way through all manner of fruits and foods including pears, plums, strawberries, oranges, cake, pickles, cheese, pie, watermelon, sausage! This is a great opportunity to introduce your child to samples of the food – allowing them to explore the textures and tastes.

However, there are other ways you can explore the textures and smells of the Hungry Caterpillar’s feast:

  • Strawberry jelly – a lovely fun colour, scent and texture
  • Dried leaves
  • Playdough rolled into different sized balls
  • Brightly coloured tissue paper / fabric – to scrunch and wave to represent the caterpillar turning into a butterfly
  • Dried beans/lentils/rice
  • Shredded tissue paper as grass
  • Sponge – representing squishy sponge cake
  • Dried pasta
  • Pom Poms
  • Pipe cleaners

Wiggly Caterpillar Craft

The paper chains create a wonderful caterpillar that you can squish, wriggle, stretch and bounce. You can even turn him on his side and use each ring of his body to fill with a different number of fruits, foods or objects.

You will need:

Green paper (cut into chunky strips)

Red card

A pair of scissors

A glue stick/tape/stapler

Optional: Any details you want to add to your caterpillar face – pipecleaners, googly eyes, felt tip pen drawings all work well.

How to:

Create your caterpillar face by cutting a circle out of your red card. Let your creativity out here as you design your caterpillar face.

Make the caterpillar’s body by securing each green paper strip end to end to make a loop. Secure each loop to another – I used staples for this step.

Attach the face to the front of your chain – I used a loop of tape for this step.

Happy reading!

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