Bugs are just plain fascinating for kids! Send your little ones out on a search for ladybugs, rolly-pollies, or ants and they will scour the yard for hours, well, tens of minutes. But in the land of the little ones, that’s a very long time!
I like to lump all creepy crawlies together first, because the children tend to do the same. The differences within the class of arthropods – the class that includes insects, arachnids, myriapods, etc. – can be pretty technical. I have to fall back on some high school biology or a site like this one to make sure I’m getting it right myself. Within the theme, however, I do like to point out some of the different characteristics of insects and spiders and encourage the children to begin thinking about sorting and classification. Then if you notice they are increasingly interested in one bug in particular, you can do a more in-depth study on that specific one.
Explore the world of bugs as you sing about them, move like them, paint them, and possibly even hold them! I also love to use the topic of bugs to do an Eric Carle author study. He has so many great bug books, it makes it very easy to provide a variety of excellent book activities by the same author while still following the theme. You can examine and imitate his art method of painting paper and then cutting and gluing to create pictures, and even make your own mural.
Here are some of the concepts and objectives within the theme:
|Concepts / Objectives||Subject Areas/Skills|
||Science, Graphic Organizing|
||Science, Art, Fine Motor|
||Science, Language, Large Motor, Music|
Here is a bit of a brainstorm for activities involving those beloved bugs! Those not yet linked will be linked back to this page as they are posted!
Eric Carle Author Study:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Art Activity)
- The Grouchy Ladybug (Math Activity)
- The Very Busy Spider (Art Activity)
- The Very Lonely Firefly (Science and Dramatic Play Activity)
- The Very Clumsy Click Beetle (Physical and Creative Activities)
- The Very Quiet Cricket (Science Activity)
Filter Paper Butterflies – Try this idea. As a variation, I have the little ones use colored water and eye-droppers. I add a clothespin (unpainted-don’t judge me), but I’ve also seen pipecleaners used!
Build-A-Bug – Use playdough for the body and provide pipe-cleaners (legs, antennae, stripes), wax paper (wings), and anything else your-or their- imagination can conjure up to create a real or imaginary bug!
Ants on a Log (Try a new twist by using craisins as ladybugs)
Gel Molds and Colors (I like to make connections between the eye droppers and liquid to the proboscis the butterfly uses.)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider’s Water Spout (Add plastic spiders and other bugs)
Bug Grab – Use this activity as-is, or add some plastic bugs as well!
Try outdoor themes where bugs would likely be found, such as camping or a picnic. Add some plastic bugs and magnifiers to your usual props.
Flick a Fly – Hap Palmer
Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz) – Laurie Berkner (YouTube link)
Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov (YouTube link)(Listen, imagine, discuss, and move!)
Interesting Song and Poem List Here
Bringing Bugs to the Classroom
I will be posting on this theme for the next few weeks and linking back to this page as an anchor to the unit. Obviously, there are many more great ideas for activities on this topic. I’d be on the same theme for a year if I tried to make it completely comprehensive. So please, feel free to comment with ideas of your own as well!
Top photo by babinicz.
Second photo by iudit.
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Great insect/ bug ideas and resources. Thanks! My preschooler has animal camp this month, and insects are next week. TwistyNoodle.com has lots of creepy crawly coloring pages and worksheets that you might find useful too. You can customize the pages (for free) by changing the font and text.
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