Some Bugs: Educational Connections and Activities

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This summer has been a hot one! Even with the heat, we try to spend a good amount of time outside playing. Our mornings are usually reserved for outside play. We take a walk every morning after breakfast and stay out until about nap time. Our time outside has really given us fresh air, but has also exposed us to TONS OF BUGS ! Our home backs up to a very wooded area, so we get all kinds of critters. I’m not the biggest fan of bugs, especially ones that sting, or fly, or that are alive. I HATE WASPS more than anything, but I don’t want to pass that fear on to LC. I try to not let her see me freak out and just stay calm on the outside, while I’m screaming in my head.

Since we want her to enjoy nature and the world around her, we thought it would be wise to get her exposed to bugs and approach them with calm and respectful attitudes. We recently purchased ” Some Bugs ” by Angela Diterlizzi. This book is really cute and I think it has helped LC get a little more familiar and comfortable with the bugs we encounter. Since the opportunity presented itself with LC’s love for this book, I thought we’d take some time during these last few weeks of summer to learn more about bugs and relate this subject to the other concepts and skills we’ve been working on. Here is our unit all about bugs, based around the book ” Some Bugs “.

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” Some Bugs ” is a tool for opening up a discussion, or unit, about bugs. The text goes something like this:  Some bugs sting. Some bugs bite. Some bugs stink, and some bugs fight. The illustrations are beautiful and there is a lot to take in on each page. As always, we start a new book by taking a picture walk. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, it is the first step you should take before a read- aloud session. You look at and discuss the front cover, flip through the book and only view the pictures. You can ask questions about what is seen in the illustrations, what they think will happen, what characters they see, and so on. For more information about picture walks, click here.

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After our picture walk, we then start back at the beginning and read the book together. I like to ask LC questions as we are going through the book to keep her engaged, but to also help build her comprehension skills. She is only two, but we’re trying to set a great foundation now for being a strong reader down the road. We think our hard work is already paying off. She loves reading with us and will even sit by herself and “read” to her dogs or her stuffed animals. Children are little recorders and reflect to others how they are treated and what they see and hear. She’ll ask her stuffed animals they same questions we ask her and point out the same things we show her!

Example questions to ask as you read: What kind of bug do you think that is? / What is he doing? / I wonder if this bug stings. What do you think ? / I think I see a lady bug on this page. Can you find the lady bug ? / And so on…

The last page of this book has been very helpful for our bug unit. This page features a chart of all of the bugs discussed in the book, along with their names. We have been using this information to look them up, learn more about them, and even watch some videos.

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Here are a few links to the videos we used during our unit:

Bugs and Insects for kindergarten and preschoolers

All About Bugs

National Geographic – The World’s Biggest and Baddest Bugs

Butterfly – My Animals Friends

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We’re all about simple projects around here. With a two year old who’s still learning how to hold crayons, use glue, and still not fully ready for scissors, we like easy projects! We made these very cute butterflies after we had gone on a bug hunt and found several caterpillars. We talked all about the life-cycle, what foods they eat, and watched plenty of videos all about butterflies. We even slipped in a reading or two of ” The Hungry Little Caterpillar “. Here is what you will need to make your own simple butterflies and the steps you’ll need to take. Have fun !

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Step 1: Fold your piece of paper in half. Draw a ” B ” to create your outline of your butterfly. Cut along this line to create your little critter. Unfold and you are ready to color.

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Step 2: Color away ! During this step, we talked about what colors we had seen on the butterflies from our bug hunt and the videos we’ve watched. Rather than just coloring in silence, I wanted this time to also be an opportunity for LC to think about what we’ve seen, talked about, and watched. She has an amazing memory and I think it’s because we have always done these exercises with her. Seriously, the child remembers who gave her each of her toys.

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Step 3: Using your crayons, add some color to a jumbo popsicle stick and glue on a pair of googly eyes to the stick. Cut your pipe cleaner to size, form into a V and add them to the back side of your popsicle stick. We found that taping them to the stick worked best, especially when a two year old is throwing it in the air to try and make it fly! We added a cute little smile to give him some personality! Final step: just glue your popsicle stick body onto your butterfly wings.

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Another easy and versatile project idea! During our ladybug construction, we were able to talk about ladybugs and the things we’ve learned about them. However, the spots for the ladybug allowed us to make this an opportunity to practice our counting skills! For this project idea, you will need the following:

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Step 1: Using your red crayon, or marker, color your plate. The paper plates that we used have raised edges, so we just colored the inside portion and cut off these raised areas.

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Step 2: Cut a rectangular strip of paper out of your black paper, as well as 10 circles and a large half circle. The rectangular strip will be the line that goes down the center of the ladybug, the circles will be her spots, and the half circle will be her head. You could also use this step to do a quick review on shapes !

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Step 3: Take all of your pieces of black paper you’ve cut out and assemble your ladybug. Add her googly eyes, some eyelashes, and a smile. You’re all done!

This cute little bug gave us a perfect opportunity to practice counting to 10. One of my goals this summer has been to get LC to count to 10 all by herself and work on her ability to start counting objects as well. We first counted all of our black spots that we had to use. While we were putting the spots in just the right places, we kept counting how many we already had in place on our bug. Lyanna loves her newest paper friend and continues to practice her counting with it. This project is definitely one to do when learning about bugs, but it can also be beneficial when working on counting in general.

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This was a great activity for us as we love being outside, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be out FINDING the creatures I usually try and get away from! Again, I sucked it up so that Lyanna could experience some hands on learning and go exploring. We were recently given an “observer” by a teacher friend of mine and we put it to use for this activity! ” Some Bugs ” ends by asking you to ” kneel down close, look very hard, and find some bugs in your backyard ” . So that’s exactly what we did.

LC’s face would light up when we would encounter a bug. There was no more fear! She was ready to catch them, look at them in her observer, ask me questions, and then set them free. Every little friend we caught, we would talk about what it was and we would would talk about what we had learned about that particular bug from our readings and videos. If you are currently learning about bugs, this is definitely an activity I would recommend trying out. If the season is correct, you need to be outside in order to truly get a hands on learning experience and to explore these creepy creatures.

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First, let me say that WE LOVED THIS ACTIVITY ! It was silly, fun, and it got LC moving! It’s pretty simple, but as always, I tried to complicate it. At first, I wrote down on note cards the different movements we would make. For example, ” Fly like a butterfly “. All LC cared about at first was holding the cards, flipping through the cards, and laying the cards out on the floor. This wasn’t what was suppose to be happening here. You’re suppose to be moving around and having fun. So I ditched the cards and I just did the movements with her. Sadly, this is why we don’t have any pictures of us doing this activity. You’ll just have to imagine me dancing around like a fool 🙂 .

For this activity, you just put on some great music ( LC is currently digging “China Cat ) and did bug movements together. Here is the list of the actions we did:

Flutter like a butterfly

Hop like a grasshopper

Buzz around like a bee

Fly like a wasp

Hide like a stick bug

Curl up in to a ball like a rollie pollie

Crawl like an ant

Nap time came easily after this activity ! We had so much fun during our Bug Unit and we definitely learned a lot about our neighboring creatures. While I still HATE wasps, I think that I am even a bit more calm about the other critters we come across each day. This unit is great for educating your children about bugs, but it can also help teach them to respect the world around them. It’s in our nature to squish spiders that are in our homes, but it’s important to learn that we share this environment with them. Insects play such a huge whole in our ecosystem and while they can be a nuisance, I think we all need to have a little more respect for these guys.

We hope that you have enjoyed our Bug Unit and that it gave you some inspiration to go out and explore the world right outside your door. We highly recommend purchasing ” Some Bugs ” and reading it with your family.  It was such a great tool for this unit and it presented another opportunity for Lyanna to see the importance of books and work on her comprehension skills. It was also another opportunity to do hands on learning activities and projects that were fun and educational at the same time.

Happy Crafting ! XOXO




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