Thursday, July 9, 2015

Family Book Club - Eric Carle Author Feature Part One

We are BIG Eric Carle fans at our house.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  The Grouchy Ladybug.  Give us all the Eric Carle books! :)

I couldn't pick just one to feature for a Family Book Club Day so I decided to do an author study on Eric Carle!

We started off by going to Eric Carle's website and watching several of his videos on his painting technique and looking at pictures of his studio.

We gathered up all of our Eric Carle books and decided to start off with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The boys loved listening to Eric Carle himself read it in this video.

 I drew out ten leaves on a piece of green cardstock and then cut them out and punched holes in them (one through ten).  Then I cut out 20 rocks and labeled a set 1-10 for Mason and then basic arithmetic problems that had solutions of 1-10 for Luke.

 The took turns with the leaves and they had to count the holes on the leaves and then find the corresponding rock.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and it was so easy and the kids LOVED it!  All you need is a Granny Smith apple, Babybel cheese and a fruit leather.

Voila!!!  It looks complex, but really it was just slicing.  So easy!

I've never seen them so excited about green apples :)

Luke loves lacing projects and so I made him this big leaf with holes punched out and he laced it several times.

Next, we focused on The Very Busy Spider.

I took regular, Chinet paper plates and punched holes all the way around the edge.  I taped down one end of a piece of string to the back of the plate and then let them go to town making their web.

I didn't take a picture, but later they drew spiders and we taped them onto the web.

During rest time I used painters tape to tape down a web on the floor.  I used a contrasting color tape to designate the spider and then the boys sat on the carpet and had to zoom cars and see who could get closest to the spider.

Even my biggest boy got in on the fun :)

For snack on a different day we had string cheese and I encouraged them to make a spider web with it.  I helped Griffin out with hers and the boys ate theirs before I could snap a picture.

I found this cute printable online and it was right up Luke's alley.  

He started on letter A and then followed the alphabet to create a web.

One of my very favorite activities was painting tissue paper like Eric Carle. We took acrylic paint and I squirted some in plates for each of the boys.  They brushed it onto the tissue paper (I encouraged them to layer colors and brush strokes) and then we set the tissue paper out to dry (on a trash bag - because we're classy like that).

When the papers were dry we had a FABULOUS stack of Eric Carle inspired paper. 

While Mason was napping, Luke and I worked on a project for The Very Lonely Firefly.  We looked at the book cover and cut out shapes of the body, head, wings, etc.  Then we mod podged them onto an old vase.

The mod podge dries clear, but we did cover the entire vase so that it had a uniform look.

It took about an hour to fully dry and we were left with this!

If you haven't read the book before - the last page is full of fireflies that light up!

We put a tealight in it and it looked like the firefly's light was glowing.  SO FUN!  It turned out so cute that we found a great spot for it on the shelf in the office.

We have TONS of the painted paper left over, and I think that next week the boys and I are going to cover clear glass ornaments with squares of the paper.

Last night when they got home after a walk on the golf course with Dave I had a "firefly bath" waiting for them.  I picked up a couple packages of glow bracelets and threw them all in the tub.

They LOVED this!!!

A few weeks ago I came across My First Book of Animal Homes at Homegoods.  I opened it up and fell in love with the concept.  Th top half of the book is animal homes and the bottom half is the animals.  BUT... they're all mixed up so the kids have to flip through and match the animals with their homes.

We made these adorable birds nests reminiscent of the book cover and I LOVE how they turned out.

While the littles were napping I drew a line across the plate and Luke painted the top half blue and then I painted the bottom half brown.  After the plates had a chance to dry, I let the kids each pick out a piece of scrapbook paper from my stash of random bits and pieces and I cut out little bird shapes.  We used mod podge to stuck them down to the plate on the top of the brown portion.

Then we added a beak, eye, feathers and brown crinkle to complete the nest.

Griffin picked polkadot paper and PINK feathers (shocker!) and Luke picked robot paper.

Mason made his a pirate bird and gave me a classic "Mason posing with his art face" ;)

A while ago Gymboree partnered with Eric Carle and had cute clothes with some of his artwork on them and they also have a webpage with some great printable coloring pages, mazes and dot to dots.

Griffin loves to paint with watercolors, so she was excited to get her art on!

I have several more activities, snacks and crafts for the books I featured today as well as a few other Eric Carle books that I'll show you next week.  I figured this was enough for one post :)

Here are the links to the books I talked about today as well as the ones I'm going to be featuring next week.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Lonely Firefly
The Very Busy Spider
My Very First Book of Animal Homes
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See
The Mixed Up Chameleon
The Grouchy Ladybug

And in case you're a REAL overachiever, here are a couple more books I have in my lineup :)

My Monster Mama Loves Me So
Where The Wild Things Are
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Happy crafting, girls!

PS - This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and purchase an item - I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU!


  1. Such fabulous ideas!!! We love Eric Carle at our house too!

  2. Wow! Each time you have a family book club, I am blown away by all the great projects and ideas you put together! I'm thankful you share all these great family fun ideas. You mention Pinterest. Where else do you draw inspiration for your ideas?

    1. Thanks, Mary! Pinterest and supplies I have on hand mainly ;) Sometimes I'll do a google search and then look at the images that pop up as well.

  3. You should open up a summer craft camp at your house !

    1. Hahahaha - I don't think I have enough patience for that ;)

  4. You should totally be a preschool teacher!!! Lol. I think I have the best job in the world. Thanks for all the ideas. I do a whole week of Eric Carle with my class. He's a favorite! Can't wait to see what's next in the line up. You never disappoint. :)

    1. Hahaha - I don't think I could do all the nose wiping involved. Middle schoolers get my sarcasm and are a little more self sufficient. ;)

  5. EC is considered a local for us here in North Carolina - I'm only about an hour from where he created a lot of his work. He also makes for an incredible 1st grade resource in the classroom! xo Amanda

    1. That's awesome!!! Thanks for reading, Amanda!

  6. So fun!! I love all of the activities!! What a great memory for your sweet kiddos!!

  7. I absolutely love this! I used to teach Kindergarten before staying home with my girls, and I loved basing a whole day (or weeks) worth of activities on one book! Eric Carle books are the best! I need to make a point to do this with my girls! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Oh my goodness Andrea! This is just so cool!!! I'm seriously blown away by your creativity friend!!

  9. SOOOOO cute!!! I used to do an Eric Carle unit when I was teaching and did a Brown Bear 2nd birthday party for our youngest because it was his ALL-TIME favorite book! I can't wait to see the rest of the fun.

  10. I love you with All my preschool teaching heart. That is all. 😊

  11. Oh my gosh, you are SO creative! I love it!!!!

  12. Love love love when you do craft posts! I can't tell you how many we have borrowed :) my boys love crafting!

  13. So much fun! We love Eric Carle too. My kids are teens now and probably wouldn't join me in doing these crafts! LOL! :)

  14. These Family Book Club posts have turned into my favorite posts of yours!!! You always knock one out of the ballpark :)

  15. Wonderful blog! I would love to share it on The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Books website. Do you know about our wonderful museum in Amherst, MA? We also have a blog called Making Art with Children.

    1. I second that! You are amazing Andrea!

  16. Wow, just wow! Such awesome memories you are creating for your littles. That apple caterpillar is so impressive and I LOVE that cup!

  17. Love Eric Carle books! And you have some great ideas, lucky kids!;)

  18. You are just the most fun ever!! As a elementary librarian, I am bookmarking this page!!

  19. I am loving your book club posts! I'm a kindergarten teacher turned stay at home momma, and these are exactly the types of activities that I always envisioned doing with my daughter. At what age did your kiddos start participating? I've noticed some of the advanced stuff is done while Griffin is napping. My little one is only 18 months and water color painting turns into crumbled up paper most of the time haha. Thanks!

  20. Holy Smoly Andrea! I want to be a kid in your household! This is fabulous and so creative! You keep your kids interested and their brains working during summer vacation -- in such a fun way!

  21. As a craft-challenged parent, I sure appreciate your posts. I do wonder, do you have a good system for saving/storing things your kids create? I have three kiddos also, and am amazed at the sheer amount of stuff. Would love to know how much you save indefinitely, and how.

  22. Your blog has become my favorite....
    You are so creative and down to earth! You are just a "regular" person like the rest of us!
    Not wealthy like a lot of other blogs out there
    Thanks for making me a better parent, and child of God :)

  23. So cute!! Great ideas! For my little guys first birthday we had a brown bear, brown bear birthday party!! We love all of his books! Once he's a little bigger we will try these activities!! thank you!! Jessica L.

  24. Eric Carle is such an inspiration! We watched his videos and studio tour in my college preschool art class and did an imitation of his paitning technique too! Using different utensils to paint with (a potatoe ricer, a fork, a feather, etc) produces great texture on paper also and I beat your kids would enjoy that!

  25. I was really inspired by a previous family book club you did to do our own and gave you credit! Hope you don't mind! I love that idea!

  26. you have the cutest ideas EVER. I love all of your kids' crafts and fun ideas, your classroom, and your darling outfits!

  27. I love this! I would love to hear how you organize all your craft supplies!

  28. You make every day an adventure for your kids...what a great mom you are!

  29. This is adorable! You are so fun and creative. We love Eric Carle at our house, too!! Can't wait to start Family Book Club when my little one gets a bit older. :)

  30. I AM IN LOVE with this idea! Eric Carle books rock!

  31. Have I told you how much I LOVE your blog???? :D I love it all, but especially your family book club posts! We LOVE Eric Carle and I can't wait to use these ideas with my kiddos. I would love for you to do a post on how you organize your crafts, what you keep on hand, etc. Thanks for all your ideas!

  32. I want to be your neighbor so I can come over and do these activities with you and my daughter (who is GGs age!). Andplusalso I love that G is wearing the necklace while painting hashtag adorable.