This caterpillar word family activity was an excellent way for my son to practice sorting words to their word family. It’s great for bug theme lesson plans!
Now that my son has knows most of the letter sounds, I have started introducing him to word families (rimes). I know that once he learns those common rimes, it will be much easier to read a wide variety of words. That is because he will be able to chunk the word and sound it out accordingly. For example, if he knows the rime -at, he will be able to read words such as mat, cat, bat, pat and rat. All he has to do is recall the sound of the onset (letters that appear before the vowel in a single syllable word) and add it to the phonogram:
c -at = cat
m -at = mat
I chose to work on rimes with the same vowel sound. I don’t want to confuse him and I think this is the best way to do that. So we worked on -at, -ag and -an. In hindsight, I probably would have started with only two word families because three was a bit overwhelming at this stage.
I am in the very beginning stages of teaching this and I am far from an expert at teaching reading, so I found this article from This Reading Mama to be very helpful. I highly recommend it for a more thorough and easy to understand explanation.
Setting Up the Caterpillar Activity
Affiliate links below.
- Construction paper
- Cut small/medium circles out of construction paper. You can trace something or use a circle punch like I did.
- Draw a caterpillar face on one of the circles for each word family caterpillar you plan on working on.
- For each caterpillar, write a word on each circle and make sure they all end in the same rime.
Caterpillar Word Family Activity
I started by showing my son how we could use the circles to make a caterpillar. Then I talked to him about the words that were on each circle. I began sorting them by their word family. He started to get the hang of what I was doing and joined in.
I would start the caterpillar by adding a word or two and then he would finish by finding the remaining words in that word family and adding them to the caterpillar.
It is a hands-on way for kids to practice chunking words in this way. I could already see a great improvement in my son’s ability to recognize the rimes. I can definitely see us doing a lot more word family sorting in the future.
Here are some more bug and butterfly activities that your kids will love!
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Ladybug Playdoh Math Counting Mats // Fun with Mama
Get the Bugs Out Sensory Bin // Coffee Cups and Crayons
Butterfly Alphabet Puzzles // Modern Preschool
Butterfly World Play Dough Kit // Mama. Papa. Bubba.
Bug Addition Cards // The Kindergarten Connection
Caterpillar Word Family Activity // Mom Inspired Life
Bug Race Math Game // The STEM Laboratory
Ant Life Cycle: First, Next, Then // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Collecting Bugs Addition Game for Preschoolers // Stay at Home Educator
Butterfly I Spy Game // Pleasantest Thing
3D Ladybug Counting Game // M is for Monster
DIY Clay Minibeast Tic Tac Toe // Adventures of Adam
Butterfly Life Cycle Hats // Playdough to Plato
Butterfly Count and Color Sort // Powerful Mothering
Visual Closure Activities Bugs Theme // Sugar Aunts
Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft for Kids // Pre-K Pages
Spring Insects Skip Counting Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Ladybug Spot Counting Activity // Play & Learn Everyday
Days of the Week Caterpillar // Fairy Poppins
Butterfly Memory Game // Teach Me Mommy
(Not Shown) Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly Craft // Life Over Cs