Little creatures will inspire big stories.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Tempera paint
- Flour/water mixture (equal parts)
- Cotton balls
- Colored pipe cleaners
- Plastic googIy eyes
- Cookie sheet, covered in tinfoil
Step 1: Introduce this activity by reading insect stories with children. Engage children in a discussion about insects to find out what they already know. As you read, point out the various body parts of the bugs, or count the number of legs and antennae. Observe the different shapes, sizes, and colors. Record the number of body parts, legs, antennae, and eyes on a large chart to refer to later. Explain to children that they will create their own insects and write special stories about them.
Step 2: Using the suggested materials, model how to dip a cotton ball into the flour and water mixture and place it onto the tinfoil-covered cookie sheet. Show children how to gently place the cotton balls next to each other so they will stick together when cooking. Allow children the freedom to build and use the cotton balls creatively.
Step 3: Once the cotton balls are on the cookie sheet, invite children to use the cut pipe cleaners to represent legs and antennae.
Step 4: Place the "bugs" in an oven at 350° for 15 minutes. Let cool.
Step 5: Invite children to paint their insects with tempera paint and glue on plastic googly eyes.
Step 6: Help children write insect stories by asking some specific questions to help them focus. What is the name of their bug? Where does it live? What is its favorite food? Does it have special powers or abilities?
Remember: The process of creating is much more important than the finished product. Encourage children to use their creativity. They may decide their insect should have ten legs and four eyes!
Send home children's completed bugs with a note asking parents to sit down as a family and create a bug story together. Start with an opening sentence. Invite each family member to add a line as the story grows. Suggest that one parent record the dictated story, so that, when completed, it can be read aloud.
Curriculum Connection: Art
Draw an oval on printer paper. Write a key at the bottom of the page so children have a reference to use and check off. (For example: 6 legs__; 2 eyes__; 2 antennae__.) Make a copy for each child. Make dice marked with the numbers 0,1, 2, and 3. Invite each child to roll one die and draw that many body parts. This game can be played individually or with a partner.