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Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar
Pros: Fun illustrations by Eric Carle draw kids in to a familiar story.
Cons: Kids may bore quickly of the simple repetitive tasks.
Bottom Line: Kids can learn and practice counting with Counting with the Very Hungry Butterfly, but other apps offer more engagement and depth.
If you're reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar in your classroom, introduce Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar as a complementary activity for a learning center. You may want to pair the app with another counting activity using manipulatives so kids get additional hands-on experience counting.
Editor's Note: Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar has closed and is no longer available.
In Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, kids progress through five levels of counting games where they tap foods from the popular children's book to count them. In Level 1, kids tap the food, causing holes as if the caterpillar took a bite, and then hear the narrator count and name the food. In Level 2, kids tap only the food they are instructed to tap for the caterpillar to eat, and in Level 3, kids tap only the stated number of food items. Level 4 combines the tasks from Levels 1 and 2. Level 5 is a timed game where kids tap as many of the foods the caterpillar chooses within one minute.
The familiarity with Eric Carle's fun illustrations and the story of the very hungry caterpillar will excite kids to explore this counting app, but they may be disappointed that the story and many of their favorite parts are not included. There are no days of the week. And there's no butterfly!
Kids tap an item of food and hear it counted -- one lemon, two lemons; the repetition will help very young kids just learning their numbers. Preschoolers will also benefit from the verbal instructions and listening carefully to understand and follow the directions. Each of the five levels presents kids with a different set of directions to follow in how they count the foods. Kids familiar with counting to ten will advance through the five levels quickly and may want to focus mostly on level five -- the timed game. In that level, kids will have to focus on listening to the directions telling them which food and how many to tap, and they'll work quickly against the timer. The background music is a lovely Mozart piece, but it may be distracting to some kids focusing on the verbal instructions. It can be turned off in options.
Young preschoolers may be excited by the familiar illustrations from the book, and they can easily navigate through the levels counting foods and following instructions. Kids must hit the "done" button after each screen to advance to the next, which may cause little ones some frustration. You can boost the level of challenge a bit by choosing a random order of numbers rather than sequential order in the options, but there is not much to engage preschoolers for long -- even with the five levels.