CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK, MONTH, YEAR
(Open Friendly advice caterpillar - Acceptable) (Open Friendly advice caterpillar - Unacceptable) Print, laminate, and display for children to see. Have children add the caterpillar's legs. If a child is having difficulty with a particular rule, have him add the corresponding leg to help him assimilate it. Have fun with the caterpillars. They will surely inspire new ways to help children while having fun. Do not hesitate to share them with us.
We suggest an imaginary game to begin each day. (Open thematic letter - Insects) Print the letter and insert it in an envelope. Leave the envelope in an easy to find location within the daycare. During circle time, ask children to find the letter and read a portion of it to them each day.
Hold a fly swatter. Sit in a circle with your group. With the fly swatter, point to a child. The child must name an insect. If the child doesn't name an insect, transform the child into the insect of your choice. The child must imitate it (jump like a grasshopper, fly like a butterfly, walk like an ant, crawl like a caterpillar). If the child succeeds, continue. This activity must be fast-paced. Your goal is for all the children to be transformed into insects. Then, have everyone sit down and start over.
Blow up balloons. Have children decorate them to look like insects (dragonfly, bee, butterfly, caterpillar, ant, etc.) Hang from the ceiling.
Make a garland using leaves (Open leaf garland). Print and hang around the daycare. Add insects children make.
Use egg carton cavities to make caterpillars. Put them in brown paper bags (cocoons). Hang from the ceiling. Later, replace the caterpillars with crafted butterflies.
Use the pictures as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game - Insects) Print, laminate, and store in a "Ziploc" bag or in your thematic bins.
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets - Insects)
Green straw (used for Easter baskets) in a large, shallow bin along with plastic insects to play with.
- Use only green, black, brown, and red blocks to make giant insects.
- Assembly games (K-Nex or Magnetix) children can use to imagine scary or silly insects.
- Drinking straws which can be connected to create the longest worm ever seen! You can even have a contest among friends or with another group.
Arts & crafts:
- Plastic insects and paint. Children can make prints, make the insects walk over paper, etc.
- Attach plastic worms (or jelly worms) to a fishing rod and dip them in paint to make impressions on paper.
- Make insect crowns! Use a strip of paper and antennae (use red and black for a ladybug crown or yellow and black for a bumblebee crown).
- A roll of toilet paper, cardboard wings, pipe cleaners for antennas, and a small quantity of paint can easily become a bee or a butterfly.
- A coffee filter and a clothespin attached to the middle can become a butterfly or a dragonfly. Add a few drops of food coloring for an added touch.
- A butterfly model and several colors of tissue paper. Children can tear and crumple the tissue paper and glue it on the wings to make a multicolored butterfly.
- A butterfly (or ladybug) traced onto a transparent acetate, colorful sand, and glue to create a stained-glass window effect. Display in a window.
- Two paper plates (a plate cut in two), a fastener, red and black paint...and you get a magnificent ladybug!
- Two egg carton cavities, wiggly eyes, a small amount of black and yellow paint, cardboard or tulle wings, and antennae...a wonderful bumblebee!
- Insect-shaped punches (scrapbooking)
- Bits of yarn (brown, pink, black) to make a worm collage.
- Glow in the dark paint can be used to make fireflies.
- Use two empty toilet paper rolls, string, and cellophane paper to make binoculars.
- With string and paint, paint like worms!
- Use a series of egg carton cavities to make a caterpillar.
- Black or brown paint can be blown on paper using drinking straws to make spiders.
- Stencils with insect, flower, and garden-related shapes.
- Insect coloring pages.
- Set up a bee-keeper area. Add a hat with a protective net, a rain suit, a few bees (or other insects), a large square box which may be used to represent a beehive, a few instruments such as a watering can, shovel, etc.
- Organize an insect hunter area with butterfly nets, containers for insects, plastic insects of all kinds, insect posters which may be used to identify insects, magnifying glasses which may be used to observe insects, etc. Don't forget to have a picnic...there are always insects at picnics!
- You can also organize a gardening area with various gardening tools (toys), a few watering cans, empty pots for plants, etc. You may add gloves for gardening, a hat, part of a hose, knee protectors for gardening, etc.
- Dress up like insects...
- Memory game using educatall pictures.
- Puzzle with insect pictures or other puzzles you have on hand which tie into the theme.
- Modeling dough and insects which can be pushed into it. Cookie cutters shaped like flowers can be fun too...insects love flowers!
- Salt dough can be used to create insects...let dry.
- Real insects you have captured in small transparent containers.
- Association games with insects (some that bite, some that crawl, some that fly...)
- Several illustrations of insects. Find the ones with the same number of spots!
- Association games with bees and flowers of the same color!
- Books about insects and flowers.
- Colourful butterflies may be used to decorate the walls.
- Insects with dotted lines for tracing.
- Games in which children must find the errors, involving insects.
- Hunt and seek games.
- Activity sheets about insects.
- Games with educatall word flashcards.
- We are worms crawling in the rain.
- Obstacle course with chairs children must crawl under like ants in an anthill.
- Simon says...to act like insects.
- Treasure hunt.
- Deposit a jumping rope on the floor and have children walk on it as if they were walking on a worm.
- Wave a jumping rope and invite children to jump over it without touching it.
- I am flying like an insect.
- Pin the tail on the insect! Hang a giant bumblebee on the wall and have children attempt to place its sting in the correct place while blindfolded (like the pin the tail on the donkey game).
- Children place themselves on their hands and feet, placing their feet on the shoulders of the child behind them...what a caterpillar!
- Children sit in a circle with a ball of yarn. Make a giant spider web by throwing the ball to one another.
- Fill a bin with dirt and add real worms!
- Sandbox...hide plastic worms or other insects in the sand.
- Bin filled with Honeycomb cereal.
- Water table, a few lily pads (Styrofoam), and a few insects which go on the water such as a praying mantis.
- Make your own vivarium using an old aquarium. You may also give each child a small transparent container. Add dirt, a few strands of grass, and insects children find while playing outdoors. Cover with a screen.
The word flashcards may be used to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing areas. You may also use them to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards - Insects) fly, ant, grasshopper, butterfly, ladybug, bee, dragonfly, mosquito, caterpillar, worm, leaf, fireflies.Children stand, single file, holding the waist of the child in front of them. They move to the sound of music. The first child in line decides which direction the "caterpillar" will go: forward, backward, turn, small steps, big steps, etc.
Where are the insects hidden?
(Open models - small insects) Print. Hide the insects throughout the daycare. When children find an insect they must shout "I found an insect!" and give it to you.
Use four shallow containers. Add sugar, maple syrup, salt, and flour. Place the bowls near an area where there are ants. Watch closely to see which bowl will attract the ants. Why? How? Observe other insects.
Use magnifying glasses to search for insects. You may also use nets or small exploration containers. Small plastic containers in which you punched a few holes are great too. Explore bushes, grass, and soil. Encourage children to capture insects and observe them.
Deposit four or five hoola hoops on the floor. Children take turns jumping in the hoops without stepping outside, just like grasshoppers. Variation: Have your little grasshoppers jump single file.
Hold a rope. Zigzag it behind you. Children follow you, attempting to put their foot on the rope.
Fly butterfly, fly
Use a blanket. Have each child hold one corner of the blanket. Have fun moving the blanket to make your butterfly (ball or cushion) move up and down.
Stand in the middle of the circle. Indicate a direction using your arm. Children move in that direction as fast as they can. Change direction several times. When you shout "beehive", children must group together. Continue the game and without warning, shout "beehive" again.
Give children pictures of insects and go on an insect hunt. Capture the ones you find to observe them with your group using a magnifying glass.
The ant race
Children are in a line, on their hands and feet. When you give the signal, the race begins. The winner is the first child to cross the finish line.
The butterfly race
Children stand on a line. When you give the signal, the race begins. Children race to the finish line, "flying". The winner is the first child to cross the finish line.
The worm race
Children stand on a line. When you give the signal, the race begins. Children must crawl like worms. The winner is the first child to cross the finish line.
The centipede race
Divide the group into two teams. Have them stand single file with their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them. When you give the signal, children move towards the finish line. The members of a team must always move the same foot at the same time.
(Open dominoes - Insects) Print, glue on heavy cardboard, and laminate. This game is for two to four players. Each child picks five cards. Place the remaining cards in a stack on the table. Turn over one card. The first player tries to deposit one of his cards which matches an illustration already on the table. Matching illustrations must be touching. The second player does the same, and so on. If a player does not have a card with a matching illustration, he must pick an additional card from the stack. If he is still unable to play, his turn is over. The game ends when a player has used all his cards.
Hide plastic insects under a blanket. Remove one insect and have children identify the insect which disappeared.
Insect hunt and seek (Open hunt and seek - Insects) Print and laminate. Children pick illustrations and search for the items in the larger picture.
In the air and on the ground
Have children sort plastic insects according to how they move about, those which fly and those which move on the ground.
I am counting insects
Use five Styrofoam glasses and number them 1 thru 5. Children must add the correct number of insects to each glass.
(Open ladybug) Print and laminate. Add Velcro. Cut out black circles and add Velcro to them too. Ask children, one at a time, to add the correct number of spots to the ladybug.
Snakes and ladders
(Open snakes and ladders - Insects) Print and laminate. Use a dice and jelly worms as pawns.
(Open sequential story - Insects) Print and laminate the story. Let children place the pictures in order to recreate the story.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Fill a bin with worms and dirt. Add small magnifying glasses and objects children may use to observe the worms.
Darkness and light
Do worms prefer darkness or light? Place one container in the shade and another one in sunlight. Watch closely. (Worms prefer darkness)
Dry soil or wet soil
Do worms prefer dry soil or wet soil? Fill one container with dry soil and another one with wet soil. Watch closely. (Worms prefer wet soil)
Hot, cold, lukewarm
Fill part of the container with very cold soil, another part with warm soil, and another part with lukewarm soil. Watch closely. (Worms prefer lukewarm soil)
Explore and observe worms in their natural environment.
Taste different products such as honey, beeswax, royal jelly, etc.
I am eating a caterpillar
Place a salad leaf in the bottom of a plate. Align three balls of honeydew melon or cantaloupe on top to represent the caterpillar's body. Add raisins for the eyes.
I am eating worms
Add jelly worms to Jell-O.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open Insect stencils) Print and trace onto cardboard. Have children place the stencils on top of a sheet of paper and spread paint on top using a sponge.
Cut an egg carton so that two sections remain attached. Make a hole in the bottom of each section. Attach pipe cleaners to either side to make glasses. Children decorate their insect eyes.
Cut out pictures of insects. Glue them to a strip of cardboard. Add antennae made with pipe cleaners.
Fly swatter painting
Dip a fly swatter in paint and use it to make impressions on paper.
Trace the contour of a beehive. Have children glue Honeycomb cereal inside to make the beehive look real.
Take a walk with your group and tell children to find one rock each. Set up a tub of water and let children wash their rock. Let dry. Each child paints his rock red and later adds black spots.
A felt ladybug
Cut one large circle and a smaller one out of red felt. Assemble the circles on cardboard. Cut tiny circles out of black felt. Add them to the ladybug's back. Add wiggly eyes and a pipe cleaner for the antennae. You may also use bits of black yarn for the antennae. This can be done with fun foam instead of cardboard too.
Cut a Styrofoam ball in two. Give half of a ball to each child. Have children paint it red and then add small black dots. They may add wiggly eyes and antennae made out of pipe cleaners.
Make a cut little ladybug using an egg carton cavity. Paint it red and add black spots. Add legs and antennae made with pipe cleaners. Use a crayon to draw a face.
Paint a paper plate red. Add black spots and pipe cleaner antennae.
Cut a potato in half and use it to make impressions on a piece of waxed paper. Add dots by dipping your finger in black paint or add details using a black marker.
(Open models - circles) Print and cut out circles using the models of your choice. Use colourful construction paper. Glue the circles on another piece of paper, overlapping them. Glue wiggly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae.
Make caterpillars by lining up colourful pompoms.
Make a caterpillar out of a row of six egg carton cavities. Paint and decorate.
Give each child a cone-shaped coffee filter. Open it so it looks like two wings. Provide water to which you added food coloring (several colors) and eyedroppers. Children use the eyedroppers to add a few drops of water to the coffee filters. Let dry. The end result will be a pastel-coloured butterfly.
Dip a potato which you cut in two in paint. Children make impressions on a large sheet of paper. Have children dip their index fingers in black paint to make antennae on the butterfly.
Make a butterfly by folding a colourful piece of construction paper like an accordion (butterfly wings). Glue to the back of a clothespin. Thread a pipe cleaner in the clothespin's hole to make the antennae.
Dip string in brown paint. Make impressions on paper. Variation: Dip bits of string in paint and encourage children to slide them on the paper to make long worms.
Painting with worms
Dip real worms in paint and then place them on paper. Let them move about.
Add a fluorescent sticker to the tip of a Popsicle stick. With the lights off, children will admire their fireflies.
Have children trace and cut out a bee shape. Provide children with yellow and black construction paper. Have them cut out strips of paper and glue them on their bee.
(Open coloring pages theme - Insects)
SONGS & RHYMES
I'm a little insect
by: Patricia Morrison
sung to: I'm a little teapot
I'm a little insect
with eight legs
I crawl about and
I spin my web
I'm a busy insect
don't be scared
I am a little spider that does
The Educatall team