Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014
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My Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Gorgeous visuals, open-ended play with everyone's favorite caterpillar

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity

Subjects
  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-2
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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5 images

Pros: Superb graphics and open-ended play are sure to fascinate kids.

Cons: Activities offer little explicit learning content and are somewhat limited.

Bottom Line: Despite limited solid learning content, it's a pleasure to dive into Eric Carle's magical world, which kids are empowered to calmly explore any way they please.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

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.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

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.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

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.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Colleen M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lakeshore Elementary School
Holland, MI
Beautiful graphics, not so much learning

Overall, I would not use this as a teaching tool in my classroom. It does not have any specific ties to academics. The things that it may teach are things that can be learned more effectively in other ways. I do think it could be a good way for children to learn to navigate a device without getting frustrated. The graphics are very nice and the app does not punish the child for doing something wrong. It was fun but it lacks in educational quality.

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