Friday, June 11, 2010

Preschool Corner / Weekly Wrap-Up – Bugs!

We finished our bug unit a couple of weeks ago, but… life intervened and I haven’t had a chance to write it all up until now. 

I use the term “bugs” to mean any creepy crawly thing, so although we talked about how spiders are not really insects, we still included quite a few spider-ish activities. 

I wrote about the bug books we read in this post,  and a couple of bug crafts we did here and here, in case anyone is interested. :)

To begin, I set up a sensory bin that was full of Easter grass, and hid 20 plastic bugs in it.  M had to find them, then use the tweezers to pick them out and place them on the grid.  I also had his little bug viewer out in case he wanted to examine some of them more closely.  (The grid was used so he would know when he had found all the bugs).may  2010 010may  2010 012M has been using his bug viewer (Target!) quite a bit outside – capturing bugs and them looking at them.  I’m… let’s say – not exactly a bug person… and somehow I always end up worrying about them escaping and getting on me and forget to take pictures.  But, believe me, M has spent plenty of time outside looking and learning about real bugs (even telling caterpillars that they are going to turn into butterflies – so sweet!), there just aren’t many photos to prove it. :)

We talked about the names of the various insects, then sorted them by color onto a color wheel:may  2010 013
For a fine motor skill, I showed M how to wrap bugs up in yarn… like a spider wraps them up in order to save them for eating later.  He had so much fun with this!  He had a little spider web and a plastic spider from a community center activity we’d done recently.   So he played for a very long time, pretending a bug would get in the web, then he’d wrap it up, then along would come the spider and eat them all up.  It was getting pretty gory, let me tell you, and M had a ball with this ! :)may  2010 017may  2010 018
At our nature center M did some pond dipping with the other kids… using a net to scoop up interesting things and then examining them in a bowl.  My pictures weren’t great, but he caught a damselfly, a dragonfly nymph, and a tiny snail, along with lots of plant life:nature center (1) may  2010 008     We also saw this lovely spiderweb, which fascinated him:may  2010 006 
I found an amazing bug book at a garage sale over a year ago.  It includes a tray of bug parts that snap onto each page.  You can create the bugs that are described, or use the pieces to make a weird bug creation all your own.  M had a blast with this book!may  2010 009
I’ve also been holding onto some beautiful bug flashcards I found about a year ago.  Here’s a sampling of them:may  2010 016
There’s 36 in all, and I have 2 sets.  I split them in half and placed 18 of them in a circle on the floor around the room.  The matching cards were placed in a pile.  He took a card from the top of the pile and had to find its match, by moving the way that particular bug moves, as he went around the room.  So here he is hopping like a grasshopper:may  2010 036
Crawling like a spider:may  2010 037
Wriggling like a worm or caterpillar:may  2010 038
And flying like a butterfly (with a bit less gracefulness) :may  2010 039He really worked up a sweat with this one!  But he had so much fun, he begged to do the remaining 18 the next day! :)  If only I could think of activities like this for everything we do… he is such a kinesthetic learner, and I am such a non-kinesthetic kind of mama.  {sigh}

I found some storyboard pieces here that go with the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.  I made them into magnets and M had fun retelling the story with them.  may  2010 002
I made a file folder game, inspired by this one at Mama Jenn’s blog, but using butterflies from Prekinders that I had already printed out.  may 016
The idea was to match up the halves.  We talked about how butterflies are symmetric, meaning each wing is a mirror image of the other.  M understood this, but was completely NOT into this activity.  I’m not sure if the more muted colors were not to his liking, or if it was a bit overwhelming – it is a pretty tough visual discrimination activity, with many looking almost alike, but not quite.  Or maybe he’s just tired of this sort of thing. 

He loves doing “what’s different” activities, so I made up these little cards for him  (you can download them here):may 015may 014They were laminated, so he could use a dry-erase marker and erase them – something everyone loves, right? ;)

I put these little foam capsules out for him and he enjoyed watching them open up in warm water.  This time we used pretty hot water and he took them out with tongs.  They dissolved so much more quickly than they have in the past with only lukewarm water.   These were all bug-shaped and we identified each one, then made them into stamps by gluing them onto peanut butter lids.may 013
We played some basic grid games using bug grids that I made and printed out.  These can be downloaded here.  These are great for math and reading skills!  Going from left to right and top to bottom mimics the movement of reading.  He loves doing these – we just roll the die and stamp out that number of bugs.bug grid game
I found the following two activities online, and thought they were great ideas.  M did not like them.  Not one little bit.  Maybe he wasn’t in the mood, I don’t know, but they were huge flops! However, I still think they are good ideas so I’m sharing them anyway. :)

First, a ladybug visual discrimination activity from Making Learning Fun:bug activities
And a phonics activity from Sparklebox, using caterpillars.  I wrote all the letters of the alphabet on 26 flat glass marbles from Dollar Tree, and the idea was to match them up to the beginning sound of the objects pictured on each caterpillar section :bug activities (1)
Look at that face… bored out of his mind! :)  Oh well, I try to not let this kind of reaction discourage me.  Writing these posts helps with that, because I can see how many things he really enjoyed and learned!

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up – check them both out for some great activity ideas!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. And they don't really dissolve in cold water, that's what we discovered in our experiment.

  2. I love the spider web he made! That is totally awesome!!!

  3. What a great week! We did those capsule things recently too...much faster in the hot water:)
    I meant to comment before and let you know that I Love your printables!

  4. I love the fun game you made up for bug match-up - maybe you are not a kinesthetic mom, but you are definitely a very creative mom. We have a lot of activities that flop, I just don't write about them most of the time :)

  5. Wow what a great unit and so many printables too. I think with all of the 'winners' you were bound to have a couple that flop. :)

  6. Thanks for the ideas and links. Great stuff.

  7. I love the activities you come up with! How fun! :)

  8. Inspirational. So many great activities, I had to read this post twice to let it all soak in!

    I really like your idea of incorporating tweezers, the bug viewer and the grid into the sensory bin experience. These are great ways to add variety to the whole sensory tub experience.

    I am also constnatly trying to come up with kinesthetic learning/play based activities. M looks like he had a ball acting like the animals to find the matching bug cards - another one of your great ideas.

    You provided such a great variety of creative and fun activities for M to explore the theme on bugs.


  10. Great bug unit. I'm definitely saving these ideas for later:) Thanks!

  11. Hi! Just came across your blog via WUHS Weekly Wrap Up. Just curious, are you in MN? I took my kiddos to a Damsels and Dragonflies program recently at Lowry Nature Center at the Carver Park Reserve. The pics from your event look familiar! (I posted pics on my weekly wrap up too!)

    Holly @ Bloggy Mama

  12. Loved your idea to match bug colors with the color wheel. I think we will be using your web idea this week with our W lessons. And I really like the grid game idea and the action kinesthetic activity with the bug matching. Great ideas!


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