Increasingly I'm trying out more bookish play with Gwen, my 14 month old toddler, because she's been showing a keen interest in short stories (previously she only liked non-fictional picture books).
I decided an activity inspired by one of THE all-time classic storybooks - THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR - by Eric Carle would be great, since this is one of the books she requests me to read over and over and over again.
I went on Pinterest and found that mums around the world have been making games and activities inspired by this book, such as a Very Hungry Caterpillar feeding toy by A Little Pinch of Perfect.
I was positive Gwen would take to the feeding idea as she loves pretend feeding her dolls now. I also like that this feeding activity would build empathy in young children and refine their motor skills.
Referencing the tutorial by A Little Pinch of Perfect, I made a hungry caterpillar feeding toy. In place of a plastic container, I used an empty bubble tea cup with its plastic lid on the top still intact. I created a slit in the plastic lid and hot-glued the hungry caterpillar's face over it in two parts so the slit is where the mouth is.
I contemplated leaving the body of the cup untouched so Gwen could see the food items through the transparent cup but decided to hot-glue green felt on it in the end, for aesthetic reason.
I cut off the bottom of the cup so food toys could easily drop out of the cup for the caterpillar to be re-fed. I hot-glued a piece of ribbon over the sharp plastic edges to make it baby-friendly.
Verdict for the Hungry Caterpillar Feeding Toy!
Gwen was really excited to spot the caterpillar toy at her play area for the first time. She must have regarded it as a soft toy friend because she immediately hugged it to her chest and even attempted a kiss on its face! I had to stop her because I was afraid she'll be eating all the glue lol.
I pointed to the caterpillar toy, then to the book, and she made the connection. I got out a few of the food toys we have at home that are mentioned in the book and I read those pages while demonstrating how to push the mouth of the caterpillar open to pop the food in.
Gwen eagerly took over and repeated the feeding tirelessly. Because she held the caterpillar in her hand, the food always fell out without her noticing and she'll wonder how it ended up on the ground. After a few tries she realised that there was a hole at the bottom and stuck her forearm through it just to test it out. I love how she learnt cause and effect through this activity.
I also spread out food toys from Gwen's toy kitchen and named each food for Gwen to pick up and feed to the caterpillar. It's cool because I got to see which food items she knew by name already and teach her new ones!
Bookish play is so fun because it's highly relatable to Gwen and I suppose it's like seeing your favourite character come to life.
Check out a Hot Air Balloon Imaginative Play idea I did with Gwen inspired by the CareBear books.
Also, recommend me more books that are fantastic for bookish play at @miraculove_sg on Instagram or A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group! I would love to hear your ideas!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.