The Caterpillar Taste Testing Experience

And the caterpillar adventures continue…

The interest in caterpillars and butterflies at Buckle My Shoe is still alive and flourishing - now with more of a focus on Eric Carle’s story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. 😊

This popular book has been dissected, acted out and re-read so much by our tamariki that many of them can recite from memory what the caterpillar ate & on which days!

To add more depth and complexity to our children’s understanding of what the caterpillar went through and how he felt, Heather planned a taste testing experience where our 3 to 5 year olds were invited to experience every meal that the caterpillar had on his journey to becoming a big beautiful butterfly.


As a starting point, Heather displayed the different types of food the caterpillar ate above the table and this intrigued our tamariki. “I like the cupcake”, one child said with another choosing “the red sausage” as his favourite.


Soon plates & wooden forks were set up and after washing their hands, our tamariki each found a spot at the table. Using a bit of drama to bring the story to life, Heather coincidentally “found” Mr Caterpillar taking a little walk and invited him to join the taste testing.


In order to capture and revisit the children’s favourite items, a chart was created for each food item – with our tamariki invited to show a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate whether they enjoyed the taste of that particular item.

Using the pictures as visual prompts, the first item on the menu to eat was an apple. Apples are a favorite at our morning tea times and it was no surprise that there were all thumbs up for this one! Pears were next and again these were crowd favorites.


As we got to the pictures of plums and strawberries, dates were offered to the children as an alternative. The topic of seasonal fruit came up and we discussed how different fruits flourish at different times of the year. Next up, were some juicy oranges which got a table full of thumbs up from our little learners!

The caterpillar in the story must have known how important it was to eat his fruit first; because it was only after he ate all his fruit that he moved onto his treat food.

Then we had some chocolate cake. Who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate cake? When small slices were distributed to the children, there were smiles all around. Yum yum!


Other treats that the caterpillar and our tamariki explored were ice cream, Swiss cheese, pickles, salami, a lollipop (just visually), home made cherry pie, a red sausage, a cupcake and some watermelon.


When our tamariki were presented with the pickles, they were a bit unsure about it. Perhaps it was the bumpy texture or the smell of the pickle juice. Some hesitantly licked it, while others were a bit more adventurous – closing their eyes and putting it right in their mouths!


Swiss cheese was an interesting food item as most of our children love cheese in their lunches. After having a taste, our little ones found out that different types of cheese can have quite different tastes from each other.

Just like the caterpillar in the book, our taste testing was completed by consuming a big green leaf - that is a silverbeet leaf of course!


By the end of the taste testing experience, it was clear to see that pickles were the least favourite. It was also really interesting to see that the majority of our tamariki chose fruit to be their favourite – even amongst all the treats!


This experience highlights how children’s learning can be fun, hands on (in this case mouths open) and meaningful. 😊