A Visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts

“The very hungry caterpillar!” The sun is pouring through the wall of floor to ceiling windows. My twins are racing ahead of me down the corridor to the huge green caterpillar ahead.

It is 10 am. We burst through the door the moment The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art opened and we are ready to go!

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Friday Field Trip to Eric Carle Museum

Field trips, adventures, whatever you call them they are fun. They are also incredible opportunities for hands-on, real life experiences – or just to see things you love on a huge scale.

This field trip was especially special because it combined many of our loves; children’s books, art, and Eric Carle. Here is how I prepared;

related curriculum or projects

*Animal theme. My kids love animals and learning about them also happens to be a First Grade science goal.

*Developing literacy skills including independent reading, reading comprehension and the role of the author / illustrator.

Before the Field Trip
  • Schedule a date and time and plot your route and transportation. We drove from Brooklyn up to Amherst. I’m still pinching myself that we live close enough to do this trip in a day, but it was a long day!
  • I also visited the  Eric Carle Museum website to read about the current exhibits.
  • To get the kids excited we started reading and re-reading books by Eric Carle.
  • We also visited the official Eric Carle Website for more info about him, his books, and some activities.
  • Our morning invitations for the week leading up to our Eric Carle Museum visit were all related to his books.

7 Eric Carle Inspired Morning Invitation Activity Ideas

We start our day with Morning Invitations. They ease us into the day with creativity and learning and children’s book. For a couple of weeks prior to our trip to the Eric Carle Museum I introduced some different activities a few times a week.

  1. Explore your Eric Carle Picture Book collection and vote for your favorite.
  2. Make our own tissue paper art using instruction from the Eric Carle website.
  3. Use art supplies to create a picture of our favorite animal after reading What’s Your Favorite Animal?
  4. Imagine and dictate our own animal stories using these Eric Carle Animal Cards.
  5. Very Hungry Caterpillar Coloring sheet from the Eric Carle website.
  6. Retell our favorite Eric Carle picture book using legos and again using these magnets.
    Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Morning Invitation
  7. What would you munch through? Creative Invitation.
  8. Created math problems for each other using the Eric Carle Number Cards and loose parts.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

During the Field Trip

The first thing we saw was this light table so I was pretty sure we were in a magical place.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art with Kids

We started our trip at the art studio. It was an incredible space! By getting there at opening we had the entire thing to ourselves for a while.

There was an invitation to create sculptures on the table and my kids dove right in.

They worked with focus. Occasionally they stopped to chat with each other or the kind person staffing the studio.

This also gave me a chance to check out their other projects which all oozed with inspiring creativity.

In the corner there was this little toddler area for littles who won’t be quite as engaged by the table activity.

This fun latch board would also keep babies and toddlers busy.

When we eventually tore ourselves away from the studio my kids raced down the hall to the Hungry Caterpillar and this cozy library space.

Then we went through the exhibits. This one was our favorite. It focused on Eric Carle’s books about nighttime.

My kids loved the “Night Stroll” and the huge lite bright table.

Good things to know about the eric carle museum

*There are kid friendly bathrooms adorably decorated with Brown Bear characters.

*There is a cafeteria space (pictured above) but the only food available is a vending machine. I recommend packing a lunch.

*There are kid friendly details everywhere. Even just little things like clipboards and paper to draw on in the exhibits.

*Exhibits change. Check the website before you go for what’s currently on site.

after the field trip

Back at home we returned to our books. We re-read favorites and especially the night time ones. We also worked on perfecting our caterpillar drawing.

Visit to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

common core standards addressed

*Literacy standards including retelling stories, building independent reading skills, ask and answer questions, understanding the role of author and illustrator.

*Speaking and Listening skills including speaking clearly so others can understand me and use words to describe my world.

*Math standards including adding and subtracting within 20, telling time in hours and half hours, and measuring objects with objects.

*Science standards including how young animals are the same and different as their parents.

*Other (non-common core) standards for first grade include exploring different styles of art and illustrations and strengthening personal creative style.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

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