Ladybugs! Butterflies! Ants! Oh my! Along with the arrival of warmer weather comes new life in many forms. Fun to observe, identify, and search for, insects always seem to capture young learners' imaginations. Read on as I share some activities that will help your students learn more about insects.
Turn your students into future entomologists with a fun bug hunt activity. Before I take my students outside, I begin by discussing where we can find insects (under rocks, under leaves, in the grass, in the soil, etc.). It is very important that you tell your students that insects are to be observed and not disturbed. Explain that touching the insects can damage their delicate wings and body parts.
Next I equip my students with clipboards and magnifying glasses and have them draw and write about the different bugs they find. I created this bug hunt printable for students to record their observations on. When students return to the classroom, they share about an insect they found.
To help my students learn the different parts of an insect, I like to use this little song I found a few years ago.
Head, Thorax, Abdomen, Abdomen
(Tune: "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes")
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
Antennae, wings, and six legs, too.
Don’t let this insect land on you,
Shoo, bug, shoo!
Egg Carton Ants
Cut an egg carton up so that each student has three egg cups still attached to each other. This will represent the ant’s three body parts. Have students paint their egg carton with their choice of red, brown, or black paint. My students use wiggle eyes and add pipe cleaners for the antennae and legs. For printable instructions for this activity, visit DLTK's Crafts for Kids.
From Caterpillar to Butterfly
Your students will have a blast creating these beautiful butterflies! This craft is fun and easy to make. Begin by gluing pom-poms onto one side of the clothespin. To form the antenna, twist a pipe cleaner around the top end. To color your butterfly wings, mix water and food coloring. Next, pinch the middle of the wings and clip them inside the clothespin.
Paper Plate Insects
My students used paper plates to create this bumblebee and ladybug craft.
We made this cute craft to depict the life cycle of a butterfly using paper plates and pieces of pasta. First, students divided the paper plate into four sections. Second, students cut out a small, white circle to represent the egg. Then they used a piece of macaroni as a symbol for the caterpillar. The pupa was a seashell, and for the butterfly, we used a bow tie. Students decorated their butterflies with markers.
To help students learn about the different stages of a ladybug, we created this life cycle wheel.
Students created a graph of their favorite insects!
Students created their own unique insects. Students were instructed to draw a critter with insect characteristics. Each new insect was supposed to have three body parts (i.e., head, thorax, and abdomen) and six legs. After the new insects were drawn, students wrote about their new friends. In their writing, they included the name of their insect and described how it moves, where it lives, and what it eats. We made a class book of their creations.
Finally, we read the book Over in the Garden. After reading the book, we classified the “critters” as insects or not insects.
For some great songs and poems about insects, check out the site Preschool Education.
Scholastic also offers tons of great ready-to-use insect printables.
Do you have any fun insect activities you would like to share? Please comment below!