Summer is a great time for getting outside and exploring all the tiny creatures that surround us. Check out these activities and books to help you and your kids learn more about all the creepy crawlies hiding in plain sight!
If your little one is anything like mine, they LOVE to be outside. And since they are so much closer to the ground, they are more likely to notice all the little creatures that cross your path. I was never good at science and don't remember most of what I learned about bugs in school but the library has amazing resources to help you learn alongside your kiddos about the invisible world around our feet. Try some of these activities and books next time your kids ask about the bugs in your backyard. (And don't worry, I included some inside activities for the days when A/C is a must!)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Add a PVC pipe, hose, or other "water spout" to your outdoor water play. Find a plastic spider that can be washed out of the spout as you sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
What's in the Hoop?
Grab a Hula Hoop or other circular object and place it in the backyard. Sit with your child and talk about what you can see inside the hoop. Are there bugs? Leaves? Grass? Rocks? This can be done throughout the year as the objects in the hoop will change with the seasons.
Head to a local park, lake, or even your backyard for a nature walk. Look down as you walk to find bugs, plants, and other objects you might not normally notice. Allow your child to take the lead and spend as much time looking at rocks and bugs as they would like.
Take some yarn and string it around a room at a variety of levels to make a "web maze." Invite your child to pretend they are a fly and must make it through the maze without touching the web. This is a great time to introduce movement vocabulary like "over," "under," and "through."
Make Spiders and Other Bugs
There are so many ways you can do this:
- Use two sections of an egg carton to make bug eyes.
- Use the whole egg carton as a bug body and add chenille stems (pipe cleaners) as legs and antennae.
- Grab some construction paper and cut it into strips. Then do accordion folds to create legs that can be attached to a paper headband, paper plate, or other "body."
- Use colorful glue to create spider web designs that can be peeled off and put on windows (or not!).
- Cut webs out of folded paper by cutting out triangles and rectangles and then opening the web.
- Use string to create a web on a piece of paper or inside a box.
- Draw with a white crayon on paper then paint over it with watercolor paint. The watercolor paint will not soak into the crayon and will leave your crayon design on the paper.
Find some small plastic bugs and press them into Play-Doh to create bug fossils. Then, roll them into a ball and try again! Talk about what fossils can tell us and what you see in the fossil versus what you can see with the actual bug.