StoryToys Entertainment Ltd.’s newest edition in the Hungry Caterpillar™ series, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ – Creative Play, is pure aesthetic genius. Apps like this are just awe-inspiring in the level of commitment to pre-school children. It allows not only pure creative fun but also sustains keeping kids on topic by providing structure. It inherently sets in motion ideation and planning in a safe environment. The app opens to selecting a template from one of Eric Carle’s beloved characters to construct a virtual tissue paper collage to create an individualized piece of art.
Once a template is selected, the fun begins! Select a color from the gorgeously rich palette of tissue papers and the tissue paper scrolls down over your selection. Then, trace the outline of the template part that you would like to see filled in with that particular color. Here is an opportunity to begin facilitating open exploration and experimentation with color and all its facets. Color sense, composition, and aesthetics are all on the table to be discovered. Can you make a duck using purple and green? In this phase of the project, pieces can be moved or rotated for better alignment in the composition as a whole or simply to please the young artist.
Younger children can use their fingers to trace the outline. By using their index finger to outline, it supports emerging hand separation skills and is a precursor to tool use. For children, a little older, the introduction to using a stylus will introduce them to making prewriting shapes as well as beginning to follow a pathway in a non-threatening manner. In addition, the demands of the task can be upgraded to printing the page then physically using scissors to cut out the pieces. This helps coordinate the visual and motor systems and promotes praxis when placing the pieces together. And how motivating would it be to make a puzzle from the artwork a child created?
After the basic collage is made, kids can refine it using the drawing tools. A Brush or a pencil will help fill in any detail needed.A tap on the frame icon when finished, and the picture is sent to the gallery. The Hungry Caterpillar is in the gallery, just waiting to view the pictures placed on the wall – now in frames and given the highlighted treatment they deserve! In the gallery, pictures can be saved to the camera roll for sending off to others. Similarly printing out your finished product in an Art Show helps support the value of all children in the classroom. Projects such as these send a subtle message in the acceptance and appreciation of others.
Let’s face it…most kids can recite Eric Carle’s books, and the ability to directly relate to the material is real. By creating characters that kids see and experience in everyday literature, songs, and stories, it makes it exciting. The familiarity also helps more reluctant kids take action. There are 21 characters to choose from, and this is one time where I wish I could request IAPs that would go along with all the characters in a particular book. This way, it could be a part of a theme within many lessons of curricula, rather than an isolated task.
The Hungry Caterpillar™ Creative Play presents the ability to produce an Eric Carle’s masterpiece by kids. The practical applications into everyday life are endless and are in the hands of teachers, parents, and clinicians for presenting the material to little ones. StoryToys and their inherent sensibilities to engage children on an intuitive level have been a favorite of TWA…and this little app demonstrates the reasons why we love them! A TWA top Pick and award winner of TWA’s recommended.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.