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Make a Day of It: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at Oregon Children’s Theater

Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience!

The next installment of this series is Oregon Children’s Theater “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show”

If you have read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, you know that it’s all about numbers (and eating). The book offers opportunities to explore ordinal and cardinal numbers, beautiful illustrations to count and discuss, and of course, you can have the talk about healthy food versus junk food. Then there’s the science – no child can hear the story without asking HOW the caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show,” playing March 31 to May 13 at the Winngstad Theater (1111 SW Broadway), includes that story and three others by Eric Carle: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, and The Very Lonely Firefly join The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a puppet show sure to entrance your kiddos. To go along with this colorful play, I have a few suggestions on how to turn the stories into some runs and give you things to think about. Read more about the play after the run info below:

First the Running – Two Runs Inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show:

Hit the Track

The first run I am suggesting is to go with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The distances I’m listing are for grown-ups running a workout, but you could easily do it with your kiddos by shortening the distances to age-appropriate segments and overall distance.

Just as the Caterpillar in the book starts out eating through one apple, then two pears, and so on, we will do some track intervals: Start out with one 1200, then two 600s, then three 200s, and four 100s. Do five pick-ups (100 meters where you start slow and easy and accelerate so you hit the finish line at full speed) and then do a series of core and strength exercises (you pick the quantity in each set) instead of “one ice cream come, one pickle, one cupcake” and so on: I recommend planks, tricep dips, high knees, crunches, push-ups, plank twists, burpees, and of course, inchworms. After all this, go for a nice, easy mile – four laps around the track, and the next day, you’ll feel much better.

Go for an Art Run

This run is to go along with “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.” This book is all about celebrating art and perspective, and the intersection of the two in what we can create.

I am not suggesting a specific route – after all, art is where you find it – rather, I’m suggesting you run with a camera or have your phone out, and pause often to look at things in a different way, and snap pictures of what inspires you. You may not get a heart-pounding workout or log a ton of miles this way, but the focus on what you enjoy will clear your head. This is easy to turn into a kid-friendly outing – simply run slower or even walk! A few areas around the Portland metro that have great art and architecture include:

More about the show:

This puppet production is an all-ages show, which means that I finally get to take my just-turned-3 little man to a play. I’m also really excited to see how he reacts to the stories, which he knows, and see what he takes with him compared to what are his favorite parts in the books. The production uses music, light, and color in addition to beautiful puppets, so I think he’ll get lost in the story. The play was first performed in Australia in 2015 and has since traveled the world, and uses 75 puppets, expertly animated by a cast that includes Robert Amico, Robi Arce, Allie Menzimer, and Summer Olsson.

As with all OCT productions, there will be a fun activity to engage the little ones before the show. It’s a good idea to get there early – I’m planning on 45 minutes – to pick up my tickets, climb the stairs a few times, and do the craft activity they have set up.

I also suggest, if your little one is quite little, renting a booster chair from the coat check area. It’s only $1 and well worth it so they can see. I got one last time for my almost-6-year-old and while she may have been fine without it, she thought it was pretty cool. You won’t need to worry about finding your seat by yourself – the playhouse is well-lit before the show starts and volunteers will show you exactly where to go. Just make sure to use the potty first … just in case.

The show runs 60 minutes and offers two shows on Saturdays (at 2p and 5p) and two shows on Sundays (at 11a and 2p). There are two special productions of this show as well. On April 7 at 2p, there will be an ASL-interpreted performance (these are amazing as the interpreters really get into the production). And there is a sensory-friendly performance on May 5th at 11a, at which the lights will remain on for the play, extra space will remain between seats, and a designated movement area for kiddos who would rather be able to walk around during the play. And as always, audience members can get their playbills signed by the cast after the play.

I personally can’t wait to take my favorite 3-year-old to this play. We have a number of Eric Carle books (Brown Bear Brown Bear is his favorite), and ever since I told him we were going, he’s been asking, “Can we go to tatter-pidar today?” We’re going to turn it into a “date day” complete with lunch at McDonald’s … but only after I get a good run in that morning, of course.

Dates and Times:

  • March 31st – May 13, 2018
    • Saturdays at 2p and 5p
    • Sundays at 11a and 2p


  • $14-$28
    • Discounts available for groups of 8 or more.
  • Buy tickets HERE
About Kelly Barten (1006 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

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