Buggy for Speech and Language

With the final days of summer approaching, we've been using "bugs" as our theme for speech and language therapy!  We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and then made caterpillars of our own using egg cartons and craft supplies.  Here are some ideas for making this theme work for any speech, language, or feeding goal:


  • Labeling:  ask your child to identify the fruits and other food the caterpillar eats.
  • Practice using prepositions:  in the egg/cocoon, out of the egg/cocoon,through the food. 
  • Categorizing:  see how many ways you can group the different foods:  type of food (e.g., fruit, meat, dessert), color, shape, or taste.
  • Cause/effect:  talk about why the caterpillar was hungry, why he felt sick after eating too much, and why he built a cocoon.
  • Sequencing:  use a story strip like the one below to sequence the pictures, then re-tell the story together in your own words.
  • Pronouns:  practice saying the repeating line in the story together ("he was still hungry...").
  • Plurals:  practice adding -s to the end of fruit names when there is more than one.
  • Requesting and descriptive language:  make your own very hungry caterpillar with an empty egg carton, a pipe cleaner, and some imagination!  Have your child ask for various things he/she needs to complete the project.  Offer a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of materials to encourage your child to use descriptive language (e.g., "I want the big, blue cotton ball.").


  • Look for words together that contain your child's speech sound, then practice "reading" the word together.
  • Practice the "th" sound with repeating words like "Thursday" and "through".
  • This is a great story for children learning to say multisyllabic words.  Some examples include:  caterpillar, chocolate, ice-cream, salami, lollipop, and watermelon.  Tap out the words together and see if you can find the one with the most syllables!


  • Talk about healthy foods vs. junk foods with your child.  Hypothesize together about why the caterpillar got sick when he ate too much.
  • Introduce your child to new foods using the book.  Make a "shopping list" for the caterpillar, then use play foods or go to the store and find the foods he ate.
  • Make a "Hungry Caterpillar" meal or snack together using foods he ate:  what about a salami and cheese sandwich or a fruit smoothie?

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