By Bobbi Philson
Eric Carle, beloved children’s author and illustrator, was born on June 25. You read his books to children throughout the year, so children will probably be familiar with his books and will be excited to host a birthday celebration for him!
Mr. Carle lives in the Florida Keys. He will be 90 years old this year. The Wikipedia web site below will give you lots of personal information about him. Did you know his first book was a collaboration with Bill Martin Jr. (author of Barn Dance, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Knots on a Counting Rope)? Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See was published in 1967.
As an illustrator, Eric Carle uses a collage technique. He uses hand painted papers which he cuts and layers to form his colorful images. What a fun art project! Show the children some of his illustrations and talk about how he formed them, then give them paper, scissors, and glue to create their own art. Alternately, click on the link to use the bleeding tissue paper technique.
There’s so much to celebrate about Eric Carle, why not make it a week-long party? Here are some suggestions:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Make cupcakes or muffins. To decorate, use green M&Ms to create the caterpillar body, with a red M&M for the head. Create caterpillar necklaces with yarn and green pony beads for the body, a red bead for the head. Make fruit skewers using the fruits mentioned in the story – good practice in patterning. Click here to watch Eric Carle himself reading the book
The Very Busy Spider: During circle time, use yarn passed back and forth to create your own spider web. Give children playdough and small craft items to create spiders: sequins, toothpicks, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, etc. Make your own spiders using round sandwich crackers or cookies, with pretzels for legs. *Please be aware that some items may be choking hazards for toddlers, so choose your items carefully.
The Tiny Seed: Show children the many kinds of seeds, then let them use the seeds to create their own flower collage. Plant seeds with children. Eat foods that come from seeds (fruits, vegetables, popcorn, etc.)
Pancakes, Pancakes: Make your own pancakes with the children. Put the batter in a squeeze bottle so children can squirt it right onto the grill in fun shapes. Shake up a jar of whipping cream to make your own butter for the pancakes.
See below for many other websites with ideas for art, games, math, gross motor, and science ideas to make Eric Carle’s birthday the best celebration ever!