I am truly amazed at how much we learned this week with all of these preschool insect activities! I have to admit, even I learned a thing or two about insects during our science discoveries. So cool! Here is a look at our week:
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Insects: Books We Love
Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet by Mrs. Peanuckle was the perfect way to start off our insect theme! She introduces children to the not-s0-creepy, crawly world of insects with a bug for every letter of the alphabet. Not only was this a great way to practice initial sounds, but Mrs. Peanuckle also includes interesting facts for each creature. My kind of book!
Next, we read Are You an Ant? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. For our bee theme, we read Are You a Bee? and absolutely loved flying into the world of bees, so this was an easy pick. The authors take children into the tunnels of the anthill, showing how they grow from an egg to a worker ant and all of the jobs a worker completes. Their entire series includes different insects such as ladybugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, etc. so definitely take a look at these when learning about insects!
In all of my years teaching, I have never read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert, and all I can say is, “Wow!” The vibrant collages and different-sized pages make this book a unique and exciting way to learn about how different species of butterflies grow and transform in their life cycle. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it!
Firenze’s Light by Jessica Collaço is the story of a firefly who tries to hide her light from the world, ashamed because it always shines at the most inconvenient times. It takes a unique combination with another friend’s art and a lot of courage to finally let her light shine.
Another one of my favorites from this week was Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin. Despite the fact that this fly is little, she dreams big and wants to become a superhero. And why not? She has amazing superpowers – walking on walls, seeing in all directions, and of course, the ability to fly. But first, she has to go to school and learn that flies are really amazing, even if they aren’t typical superheroes.
Insects: Literacy Activities & Centers
Backyard Bug ABC
As an introduction to our week learning about insects, we first brainstormed a list of all of the insects we could think of: ants, bees, bugs. Whelp! We had a lot of learning ahead of us! We learned a few more by looking at these Backyard Bug ABC Puzzles. To make it simpler to find the right letters, I placed all of the letters in the pocket chart. Then, my little one chose a picture, named it, and then determined the beginning letter. These puzzles are self-correcting which makes it easy for students to figure out if the match is right.
We had the ants marching underground through all of the tunnels of the Ant Farm to find the matching letter. We just pretended black beans were our little ants! Easy to set up and lots of fun – including fine motor fun! This also comes with an ant life cycle poster / cards to add to your science center.
As snug as a bug in a rug – it’s time to rhyme with these Ladybug Rhyme Cards! Just place black pom-poms on top of the pictures that rhyme with the picture on the ladybug’s head!
Wiggle Worm Writing
Now, I know technically worms are not insects (as we discovered in our “What is an Insect?” science discoveries), but I could not resist having the kids practice letter formation in mud with these Wiggly Worm Writing Cards. I mixed equal parts of corn starch and cocoa powder, and then slowly added water to make the right consistency. Great sensory experience! Tip: For students who aren’t so neat, place muddy mixture in a large zippered bag and tape it down to the table.
Count the syllables in the bugs that have been caught by these adorable bug catchers! Place the card in the numbered jar, and you’ve got some great phonemic awareness practice while building vocabulary of all of the insect names.
Insects: Math Activities & Centers
Incorporate math into your sensory bins with these Catching Bugs Cards! With green yarn as grass, we used our Gator Grabbers to snatch up these bug counters according to the number on the card. We put them in either a plastic jar or a net to pretend like we were real bug catchers before dumping them back out!
Bug Catchers Math Game
Not gonna lie – I was caught playing this game by myself. Lol! Had way too much fun making and playing this game! In this cooperative game for 1-4 players, players must work together to get all of the bugs to safety before the bug catchers get them! Choose any 1 out of 3 of your cards to play by moving any bug to the next available color that doesn’t already have a bug on it. We played this every day this week, and at the beginning of the week, my daughter didn’t have a strategy, but she definitely picked up more strategy the more we played.
There’s something magical about the way translucent chips vibrantly shine on the light table. We have been practicing more and more addition as the year has gone on, and this was such an engaging way to practice. P.S. If you don’t have a light table, use an old overhead projector or these tracing pads from Crayola.
We made these adorable, fuzzy caterpillars as one of our crafts this week, and I just had to use them as part of our learning. First, we glued 10 pom-poms onto a 6″ popsicle stick. Then, we used our caterpillars to measure the various sized leaves. This Caterpillar Measure activity also comes with a butterfly life cycle poster / cards to add to your science center.
Subitize Flies Memory Match
I just love how these flies turned out, but even more importantly, I love all of the number sense that was built during this activity. We worked on subitizing (identifying groups of 1-4 without counting), and then counting on by ones. Then, we turned this into a game of memory match to add in some short-term memory skills. Match numerals to dots or dots to a different set of dots.
Insects: Other Activities
Outdoor Bug Hunt
After a long, long winter and a long, cold spring, we cannot get enough of the outdoors, which led us to this bug hunt! We used bug catcher scissors to pick up the different bugs around the yard. I was surprised to see how difficult it was to visually discriminate the bugs I camouflaged. After we collected the bugs in a jar, we tallied up the total of each color and found the total of all of the bugs.
What is an Insect? Science Discoveries
This science set has been perfect for my little one (and me) to know exactly “What is an Insect?” We started the week with a song describing all of the parts of an insect. Then, we labeled diagrams of a ladybug, beetle, dragonfly, bee, and ant. I made the labels with pictures so that the littles can label them without being able to read the technical vocabulary. We then observed insects (both plastic and real) using a magnifying glass to see if we could locate all of the insect’s body parts. The next day we sorted pictures into the categories of insect / not insect. Finally, we made our own insects using shapes and labeled them (I posted more about this below). So much learning this week!
Oh, no! Rescue the bugs from the spider web before it’s too late! We used tweezers to pull the bug counters out of the tangled webs (yarn wrapped around a tub). I have never seen so much concentration.
As a finale to our “What is an Insect?” we created our own insects using ovals, circles, and teardrops. I used this as an informal assessment to see if my little one could identify the parts of an insect. Fun and creative way to end this science investigation! The shapes template and labels are included in the resource.
Ladybugs in the Grass
For our sensory tub this week, I just added ladybug poppers and magnetic numbers on top of this grass mat. Easy set up and lots of counting until I showed them how to use the poppers! Then, it turned into a lot of laughter. Love it!
I was so amazed at how much we enjoyed this week with all of these insect preschool activities. I am even more amazed that my little girl is now chasing and picking up bugs all the time when she had a fear of them before. Hope some of these ideas help inspire your insect week! Let me know if you need anything to make these resources work for you little learners! Here is the entire Insects Bundle – 20% off: