A Eric Carle Preschool Theme could last all year long!
Eric Carle is pretty much a preschool and household name when it comes to children's books!
You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.
TRIVIA QUESTION #1:
Eric Carle's most famous book was published in 1969.
Can you guess what it is? You will find the answer on this page!
In addition to this famous book, he has illustrated more than 70 books.
Most of these books Eric Carle authored as well!
Choose some of your favorites for this week, 2-week or month long preschool theme!
I have tried to include activities to go along with many of Eric Carle's books. There are just so many (over 50 in still in print right now!) to choose from! I may have to add more later!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool lesson plans and activity types you are looking for.
Before we begin planning:
Here is Trivia Question #2 for you!
Eric Carle had created a red lobster for an advertisement he was hired to do.
A famous author saw the advertisement, loved it!
This author contacted Mr. Carle and asked him to illustrate a new book he had written.
Do you know who this famous author was?
(Again, the answer can be found on this page!)
Eric Carle's use of water color and collage are pretty amazing! Get creative and see what items your preschoolers' can use to create with!
Materials Needed: tissue paper, watered-down white glue, white construction paper.
The children create their own collage with the tissue paper. I find it easier if the children "paint" the glue on their paper first and then place the tissue paper.
VARIATION: Place small pieces of tissue paper into a tray, bin cover or cookie sheet.
The children "paint" their paper with glue. They then flip the paper over and press into the tray of tissue paper (or other collage materials)
When providing different mediums to paint with, provide a variety of tools to paint with such as:
Materials Needed: White paper (either pre-cut into circles or encourage the children to cut their own circle as best they can!) or paper plates; googly eyes, bingo daubers.
The children cut their circle and then paint it with red paint. They use the daubers to put black dots on the lady bug and then glue on googly eyes.
This is a variation on the puffy paint. Place shaving cream and glue in many bowls. Add a different color to each bowl and mix.
The children create different colors of clouds to represent sunsets or sunrises!
Just squirt shaving cream on your tables and let the children create clouds and experience the feel of the shaving cream.
Some ideas for this are:
Just let the children use paint to create their own moon and ladder to reach the moon!
Provide playdough in different colors for the children to create the moon and create ladders or other scenes from the story.
You can also provide playdough tools to use including moon and star shaped cookie cutters!
Here is my favorite, new type of dough to make!
Lambs and Butterflies!
Provide the children with cotton balls to glue onto a lamb shape
Provide the children with white, blue, gray and pink tissue paper to create their own lamb collage (don't forget the googly eyes!).
There are SO many options for this! Here are my top choices:
Have the children color (completely) a coffee filter using large, washable markers.
Have them spray the coffee filter with water (it creates a cool tie-dye effect!).
Clip the middle of the filters with a clothespin.
Have the children draw eyes on the clip.
For more butterfly ideas, you can check out my Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme page by clicking here!
In my research I came across some great puzzles for this theme! You can read more about them by clicking the pictures below!
ANSWER to Trivia Question #1:
Which famous book did Eric Carle write and illustrate in 1969?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Whenever you do an author theme, talk with the children about what, exactly, an author is and what an illustrator is! Eric Carle was BOTH! Sometimes he authored and illustrated books, sometimes he only illustrated books!
When done with the cooperative story, put it together in a class book. This book will become the hit at Circle Time and in the Library.
EXTENSION: I recommend getting colored copies of the book made so each child has a copy to take home at the end of your unit!
Read, Read, Read!
Take time during this unit to read two or more of Eric Carle's books during Circle Time.
You might choose books that are related in theme (such as The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Busy Spider.....both critters!) or that are related in the same type look with regard to the illustrations.
Point those things out to the children.
There are many items available to use at Circle Time for this theme that can also be used throughout the year!
Click the pictures below to read more about a few of my favorites!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Lead the children in helping to make some pancake mix.
As an adult cooks the pancakes, have the children help to cut up some fresh fruit.
Have pancakes topped with fruit and whipped cream or syrup! Yum!
Make homemade butter with the children as another adult cooks the pancakes! Pour some whipping cream into a clean, baby food jar.
Cover and shake! (It takes about 5 minutes! Have the kids take turns shaking and counting to 10!). Pour off the excess liquid. Add a pinch of salt.
Set up a Bread Bistro Bakery in your dramatic play area during your Eric Carle Preschool Theme!
This will compliment the stories Walter the Baker and Pancakes, Pancakes!
I have a FREE resource packet that has signs, menus and order forms for your preschoolers to use!
Click here and choose the FREE BREAD RESOURCE PACK from the page!
Children LOVE celebrating birthdays! After reading the stories The Secret Birthday Message and Hello, Red Fox, set up a birthday party environment in Dramatic Play!
The Birthday Party
Set up your area with birthday crowns, pretend cake, games and don't forget to invite Mama and Little Frog, Red Fox, Orange Cat and the other characters to the party by providing stuffed animals!
For more ideas for this, check out my Birthday Theme page by clicking here!
After reading The Mixed-Up Chameleon, let the children experiment with color!
Wait...Where Did It Go?
Provide tempera paint and a bingo dauber with black paint in it.
Let the children create their own chameleon and then use the daubers to make its eyes!
After reading The Mountain That Loved a Bird, encourage the children to create mountains!
Up and Down the Mountain
Provide different shades of blue, black, gray and white watercolor paint.
Encourage the children to make their own mountain. Use spatial words as they use their muscles, "Up to the top of the mountain. Down to the bottom. The bird can fly over the mountain." Etc.
After reading Draw Me a Star, provide stars to paint!
The Many Colored Stars
You can either pre-draw stars on the paper or--and this is my preference---create (in advance) large star stencils.
Have the children trace them onto the easel paper and cut out (the more practice they have with these skills the better!).
Then have them paint their stars at the easel using tempera or watercolor paint!
VARIATION: Provide glue for the children to paint on their paper and a cup of tissue paper (variety of colors) for them to stick on.
It's great to do this at the easel rather than the art table for a change!
Encourage them to paint the entire paper first (or give them glue sticks).
We have a new perspective about art from standing up!
Provide buckets of water and brushes for the children to paint the sidewalk, or your building (if it is brick) with! It's awesome to see the designs and then see them evaporate!
Caterpillar, Caterpillar, Butterfly!
Play duck, duck goose using the words Caterpillar, Caterpillar, Butterfly instead!
Include props and furniture (such as going under and around chairs) for the children to go on a hunt for a surprise!
If you don't have a crawl tunnel, I HIGHLY recommend that you invest in one!
You will use it ALL YEAR LONG for gross motor development! You can use them as a way for the children to come into the classroom once in a while for a fun surprise. Use them for some indoor play time on inclement weather days. There are so many uses!
I use the first one (on the left). Here are just a few choices from Amazon. They range in size and price. My favorite is the first one (on the left) and it has been used for YEARS! Click on any of the pictures to read about each one!
Find the Cat!
Hide many different types of stuffed animal or toy cats outside. As the children find them, they can sort them by type of cat!
Throughout this Eric Carle Preschool Theme page, you will find at least 40 of Eric Carle's books referenced by me! However, there are SO many more! Here are some books I have not referenced that would be great to have available in your Preschool Library for this theme all by Eric Carle!
(I LOVE Amazon, and if you choose to get yours there, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit!)
Provide a few bowls of pom poms.
Encourage the children to create caterpillar bodies from them.
Encourage the children to create colored patterns.
Encourage children to create caterpillars using a specific number of pom poms. You could create number cards and place them in a pile face down.
They choose one card and create a caterpillar using that number of pom poms.
I found a couple of fun resources over at Amazon for an Eric Carle Preschool Theme! Click the pictures below to read more about them:
In advance, find zoo animals and farm animals (as listed in the stories) from magazines or online. Print and laminate them (make some duplicates).
Provide the book and have the children find the animals as they "read" the story to themselves in small groups!
Here are some of my favorites to have in the classroom! Click on the pictures to read more about them!
Mother and Baby Matching Game
EXTENSION: Make enough cards for each child to have a pair of each mother/baby animal.
Create bingo type cards with all of the animals on them.
When you show a card, they match it to their board.
I See and Move Like a........
This is a wordless book! Your children will observe and then act out the items from the story such as a leaf, a bow, a "many-colored figure", the violinist and more!
After reading the story Today Is Monday, sing the song with the children.
Today Is Monday Song
Add the food props from the story using pretend food for the children to hold and use!
Read From Head to Toe with the children and talk about the things the animals do in the story.
Fit From Head To Toe
Play games as in the story. Some ideas:
I have seen many videos and think.......wow, how cool! But until writing this theme, had never tried it myself! IT IS AWESOME! Make this for your Sand and Water Table!
NOTE: This ONLY works with Ivory Soap!
More Textured Clouds
You can then add some water (use warm water) and toilet paper to the above microwaved soap and smoosh it all together for clean mud!
Here are the approximate amounts of toilet paper and water you will need depending on how many bars of soap you use:
Be a Baker!Help the children become bakers after reading Walter the Baker!
Provide cornstarch and water. Let the children scoop spoonfuls of each into the table and mix.
This makes goop. It is hard once mixed but when they hold it in their hands, their body warmth "melts" it between their fingers!
Find an Animal Friend
Provide different types of boats: plastic, some made from craft sticks, aluminum foil boats (some with holes!) and see what happens when there is a hole!
In addition, provide strainers, water wheels and more for fun water play.
VARIATION: Provide sand and sticks, pipettes, water spray bottles, etc. Let the children wet the sand and make rivers in the sand, create sand castles, try to create a wall that doesn't leak, etc.
After reading The Very Lonely Firefly, provide some fun discovery jars!
Make a few discovery jars or bottles made with water and place glow sticks in them. Seal the jars. Provide flashlights and a nighttime space, such as a small tent or blanket fort for the children to see them glow in!
Make some fairy jars. I must admit, I have NOT tried this yet, but it looks fun!
Here's an example:
This is a great follow up to 10 Little Rubber Ducks!
Preschool Duck Race
Place rubber ducks in your water table to float around.
For math or letter fun, in advance, print numbers or letters on the bottoms of each duck with a sharpie. (Make 2 of each number or letter).
The children can now play a floating, matching game!
Ladybug Observations!After reading The Grouchy Ladybug, observe some live ladybugs in your classroom!
I LOVE the ones below......just keep in mind, they will be a bit dormant when you receive them. I, being the city girl that I am, thought most of them arrived "dead". It was sad. I placed the ones who did not survive the trip outside. Let's just say that when we went out to play later, I thought we created an infestation in our town! They were flying around everywhere!
You will need: clear cups (we used lots and lots of paint cups!), pipettes, water, food coloring and a big bin to empty the cups into.
In advance, place many clear cups in a row with water and food coloring...make many different colors of water.
Give each child their own cup with water in it (about 1/4 cup full) and a pipette.
Tell them they are color scientists! They are going to drop different colors into their cups and see what colors they can create!
They love this! Eventually their water turns muddy. Let them empty into the big bin and start over if time allows.
EXTENSION: We gave the children child sized goggles to wear to be scientists for fun!
Follow up the reading of The Tiny Seed by planting with the children!
Sorting and Planting
Provide small cups, soil, seeds and water for them to plant seeds.
Provide Lima beans, paper towels, spray water bottles and Ziploc baggies. The children place a few beans in a paper towel, fold the paper towel, spray it with water until it is completely wet, place in baggie and hang on a window (using tape) that gets a lot of sunlight. They should sprout in about a week.
Answer to Trivia Question #2:
Which famous author contacted Eric Carle to collaborate with him on his new book because of Mr. Carle's red lobster?
Bill Martin, Jr.!
Thier collaboration resulting in the famous book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
One of the Circle Time activities was to write a cooperative story together. Help the children to illustrate the story and print their names on it here!
After reading some of the stories from All in a Day, have your children write and illustrate something about their day.
Encourage them to draw a picture and then print the words or names they can such as: Mom, Dad, dog, me, and their name!
Or Me and whoever is important in their life! Read the story Mister Seahorse to the children.
Me and Dad
It is a story of fish fathers caring for their soon-to-be children! Provide watercolor paints, markers, colored pencils or crayons and stencils and stickers for them to illustrate their own story of them!
I found the following in my perusing through Amazon! Click on either of the pictures below to read more!
If you live in Massachusetts, a trip to the Eric Carle Museum might be in your future and the perfect compliment to your Eric Carle Preschool Theme!!
Or, check out all of the information on the Museum's website!
There are a couple of books that you might really enjoy about Eric Carle! Click the pictures below to read about each one!
Go to the main THEMES PAGE for more theme ideas!
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