Product Review of My Very Hungry Caterpillar
My Very Hungry Caterpillar lets kids play and explore inside the familiar illustrated world of Eric Carle. Kids jump right into caring for the iconic very hungry cute little green insect. Tap the egg to help the caterpillar hatch, then give it food and entertain it. When the caterpillar’s had enough for the day, put it to sleep and start all over again. Each new day brings a new activity and more food. Water plants to watch them grow, take the caterpillar on a raft ride through a pond, open the toy chest, or paint a picture. After several “days,” the caterpillar builds a cocoon, which kids then unwrap to reveal a beautiful butterfly. Kids can then start all over again with an egg. A short how-to video demonstrates all there is to offer, and background graphics and activities may change over time.
My Very Hungry Caterpillar is great because of the opportunities it provides for kids to explore, create, experiment, and direct the caterpillar’s actions. Some kids, especially younger ones, might need minimal guidance in discovering what they can do within the app. But then, set kids free to explore on their own. Teachers can follow up and extend learning by asking kids to describe what they’ve done or created. Also, ask them specific questions about how they grew plants, what happened to the caterpillar, and how they felt about their experience. It may be best to uninstall and then reinstall the app between kids so that each kid can discover each new activity one by one, caterpillar day by caterpillar day. This progression can help give them a better sense of the caterpillar’s growth and development on its path to becoming a butterfly.
For Eric Carle fans young and old, it’s great fun to be immersed in your own hungry caterpillar world. Kids are in charge and in control of their own experiences as they explore, do, and imagine. Some activities are more interesting than others. The drawing board is especially neat because it has two drawing options: put the caterpillar on a bench and draw with your finger, or use the caterpillar as a “brush” and slide it around the canvas, dragging paint and mixing colors as you go. Caring for the caterpillar gives kids marginal practice in the role of nurturer rather than nurtured, and may inspire a curiosity about nature.
It would be nice to see a few more activities. Once kids unlock them all and then repeat a few times, they may get tired of them. Also, some way to reset the game completely –- through a button or an automatic reset each time kids hatch a new egg –- would allow kids to discover new activities one by one each time they journey through the caterpillar’s metamorphosis. This would be especially helpful for use with multiple kids.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Stunning Eric Carle graphics make it a pleasure to interact with the hungry caterpillar in its little caterpillar world. With a variety of activities and seasonal environments, kids should get good use out of this one.
Curriculum and Instruction
Kids are empowered to take charge of their own experience through open-ended play. Kids learn about nature (by watering plants to help them grow), take on the role of caregiver, and experiment with colors.
Open-ended gameplay makes interaction easily accessible for a wide audience. For extra help, there is a short how-to video. Extension suggestions would be nice — tie-ins to books, science, art, or real-world interactions with nature.