Thursday, April 14, 2011

Impromptu Caterpillar Lesson for Mom

This morning the kids got up on the early side and found a caterpillar somewhere in the house.  Firecracker was super excited because they're studying caterpillars and butterflies right now in kindergarten.

After we looked at the caterpillar for a while, and played with it...

And Firecracker taught me a couple things I didn't know about that they have spiracles to breath and true legs that stick around when they're a butterfly.  Those pointy legs in front are their true legs.

She drew her caterpillar.  Then I had her label it in her new science journal.  (In an effort to get Firecracker practicing her writing more and to do some extra science, we recently bought her a little composition book to use as a science journal. It was just a couple dollars and it has a place for drawing a picture and writing on each page.)  I've included a translation...

Then we had her write three sentances.  On the advice of my aunt who's a kindergarten teacher, we're just having her sound things out without worrying about fixing her spelling for now.  Since we started completely ignoring spelling Firecracker's sentance length and ability to come up with her own sentances has sky rocketed.  (Thanks, Aunt Cheryl!)

Firecracker also has refused to write in pencil in her science book because her kindergarten teacher told them that scientists don't erase...which is true, so I gave in.  We tried to compromise on a pen, but she insisted on going to crayons...which it turns out are a little easier for her to control and resulted in neater writing.

So I'll translate.  It says "Spiracles are for breathing.  The true legs say when the butterfly is made.  When the caterpillar crawls on me the true legs tickle."

It was a fun way to start the day.  Little Brother had fun looking at the caterpillar and telling us what he knew about how they turn into butterflies.  Then Firecracker took him to school to show to her class...even though each kid in her class has their own caterpillar to care for already...I guess they just can't get enough. :)  Firecracker wants to keep him as a pet.  I want to let him go.  Our vegetable plants might prefer we squish him.  I'll let you know who wins.

In case you find any of your own caterpillars around, I thought I'd share a couple of our favorite caterpillar books.  The first is "I'm a Caterpillar" by Jean Marzollo.  (More info about the book on Jean Marzollo's site here.)I love her whole science series.  This won't teach you about caterpillar body parts, but it does teach about a caterpillar life cycle in very simple language and is just right for a kindergartener still learning to read.

Of course we also love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

You can see some of our other Very Hungry Caterpillar projects here.

I'm linking to:
A Mommy Adventuresabc buttonShibley Smiles


  1. Wow! I learned some things about caterpillars, too. Yay for literacy! I love the part about "scientists don't erase."

  2. Impromptu lessons are the best! What a great find.

  3. I miss having kids around because they learn so many things that I missed or forgot. Thanks for sharing what you are doing with your children.

    Pat Holland

  4. Love, love, love impromptu lessons like that! Mine was impromptu, too! Stumbled your post. :)


  5. I love the journal writing. What a wonderful way to share what they are learning.

    Thanks for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

  6. I agree... the journal writing is awesome. My kids love it! Great post!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Friday! I will be posting the next party tomorrow night. I'd love to have you back for more fun this week!

    :)rachel at


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you. I also love responding, so please make sure your Blogger account is set up for me to be able to see your email address or include your email address. I've had to stop accepting anonymous comments due to spam. If you don't have any other way to comment, you can always send an email.