Happy Spring everyone! Now that winter is over, we are looking forward to warmer weather, longer days, blooming flowers, and of course...insects! Teaching the children about insects is one of our favorite themes because it is a very high interest theme for them! We love to see them excited about learning and they are always highly engaged during each of the activities.
We like to start our unit by discussing what makes an insect an insect:
*insects have 6 legs
*insects have 3 body parts: head, thorax, abdomen
*insects have 2 antennae
*some insects have wings
*insects have a hard exoskeleton on the outside of their body
*insects hatch from eggs
To reinforce the understanding of an insects body parts, we like to make a yummy bug snack:
We used 3 marshmallows (head, thorax, abdomen), 6 pretzel sticks (legs), chocolate chips (compound eyes), and Doritos (wings). We did not put antennae on our insects, but you could easily use two more pretzel sticks or twizzlers! The children had so much making and eating this insect!
Time to eat! Yum!
We also purchased these awesome insects that are encased in acrylic so the children can get a good look at the insects and their body parts. They think these are so cool!
You can grab these fun models from Lakeshore Learning here.
We then discuss some of the different types of insects around the world and if these insects are helpful or harmful. Of course we only hit on a few of the over 900,000 different types of insects. Some of the insect pictures were quite funny to the children, they especially like the peanut head bug. It is interesting to hear a child's perspective of whether an insect is helpful or harmful. When asked if a bee is helpful or harmful, they immediately say harmful. All they think is "I've been stung by a bee and I didn't like it! Therefore, the bee is harmful." They are surprised to hear they are actually very helpful to us! Now, they look at bees in a whole new way! We made a fun bee hat that they wear happily!
During our unit, we like to take several days to concentrate on certain insects that children are very familiar with and already have some good background knowledge about. One of these insects is the butterfly! We start by learning about the life cycle of the butterfly:
Children also learn the body parts of a butterfly and completed a labeling activity:
These activities are a part of "A Butterfly Bundle" that can be found in our store. The pack also includes a variety of activities for reading, writing, and math skills.
Every year we order caterpillars from Insect Lore. After learning about the life cycle of a butterfly, the children are so intrigued to watch the changes happening to the caterpillars every day.
You can check out these awesome kits here for your classroom or children at home. If you already have a butterfly garden, you can simply order a cup of caterpillars or maybe even order something different....perhaps ladybugs, praying mantises, or ants!
We love to make fun butterfly hats too! They turned out so cute and the children wore them around school the whole day making everyone smile! Some even wore them to recess and pretended to fly around the playground as the wings on the hat flapped in the air, ha!
You can find the pattern for this hat in our store for free! Click on the picture below:
We also had a blast pretending we were butterflies by drinking "nectar" (apple juice) from a flower using our "proboscis" (a straw).
No unit on butterflies is complete without reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar! After reading the book, children made an adorable caterpillar they used to retell the story with a friend.
Also inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we made necklaces!
There are so many fun and engaging things you can do during this theme! We feel like we could go on and on forever about all the fun we have! Come over and follow us at Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations to see more of the fun to come soon!
Thanks for hanging out with us this month! We will be back in May!