Caterpillar Word Family Activity

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!

Kids will have great time learning word families with this fun caterpillar activity! A hands-on literacy activity for spring!

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

Supplies Needed:

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  • Construction paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  1. Cut small/medium circles out of construction paper. You can trace something or use a circle punch like I did.
  2. Draw a caterpillar face on one of the circles for each word family caterpillar you plan on working on.
  3. For each caterpillar, write a word on each circle and make sure they all end in the same rime.

Kids will practice reading and sorting words to their word family with this hands-on caterpillar activity for preschoolers and kindergarten students.

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.

Caterpillar literacy activity for kids to learn word families and rimes.

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.

Caterpillar literacy activity for spring.

Caterpillar word family activity.

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.

These word family sorting caterpillars are such a fun way to teach rimes to kids.

Here are some more bug and butterfly activities that your kids will love!

These bug and butterfly activities are perfect for your spring lesson plans!




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