Caterpillar sensory bag (2 - 3 year olds)

Create your own sensory bag, imagining that it should be the home of the caterpillar. What would you put inside?


Home Learning

You will need

  • a zip lock bag
  • tape
  • some oil
  • food colouring
  • various objects that your child imagines might be found in a caterpillar’s home e.g. glitter, leaves

What to do

Using a zip lock bag, fill it with some water and some oil.

Then choose what else to add - including the things that are part of a caterpillar’s environment. You could use glitter, objects and even leaves!

Why not ask your child some questions throughout, such as: does a caterpillar live in the sky? What does a caterpillar eat?

Once you have made this, you can tape it on the floor to engage the children’s tactile sense or you can either tape it to the window - this will give the bag a different look (with the sun shining).

When you add oil into the water, it will separate creating different textures and shapes. The water and oil won’t mix so you are also bringing in early scientific concepts!

Inspire your child’s creativity by reading them the classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar before you do this exercise. If you don’t have the book, you can use the video below.

Age guide: Children aged 2 and over will be capable of creating the sensory bag with guidance. Younger children,6 months old or more, will benefit from playing with the sensory bag, exploring their senses through its colours, the movement of the contents and the colours. Please always supervise your child when they play with materials consisting of small items that may pose a choking hazard.

A completed caterpillar sensory bag

Learning outcomes

  • Understanding the world:
    • Early scientific concepts; observations
    • Notices detailed features of objects in their environment.
    • Talks about why things happen and how things work.
    • Can talk about some of the things they have observed, such as plants, animals and nature.
    • Comments and begins to ask questions about the world around them.
  • Communication, Language and Literacy:
    • Beginning to use word endings such as ‘going’ and ‘cats’
    • Uses language as a powerful means of widening contacts, sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts.
    • Learns new words very rapidly and is able to use them in communicating
    • Uses a variety of questions, such as ‘what, who’ where, why’
    • Distinguishes between the different marks they make
    • Holds conversation

Keys words

Water, green, oil, glitter, bag, feel, touch, shake

Discuss with your child

  • Does a caterpillar live in the sky?
  • What does a caterpillar eat?
  • What colours can you see?
  • Can you feel the water?
  • Can you add the leaves?
  • What do you think is inside?

Video Resource

Watch this YouTube video of Eric Carle reading his popular children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar: