Insect Activities for Preschoolers
If there is one thing that most preschoolers cannot get enough of, it is bugs! Creepy crawly, flying, hopping, eight-legged, with no legs, colorful, or camouflaged, there is sure to be at least one insect that fascinates and grabs the attention of every preschooler.
With over 5 million insect species to choose from, there are unlimited opportunities to teach insects to preschoolers while still barely touching the subject’s surface.
Learning about insects does not need to be done only in the classroom. Walking field trips through the neighborhood, park, or even a decent-sized backyard or garden will provide plenty of chances to spot an insect and discuss its characteristics.
When the weather is not cooperative for spending time outdoors, numerous activities can be done indoors to investigate what makes an insect an insect, play insect-related games, and have hands-on fun with crafting materials.
Preschool Bugs Crafts
Slime is exciting for preschoolers and provides an excellent hands-on opportunity to learn about Bees.
To make the slime, you will need:
1 (5oz) bottle of Elmer’s Clear Glue
Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Tbs Contact Solution
10-15 drops of Yellow Food Coloring
1 Mixing Bowl and a Stirring Spoon
Bee Buttons or Bee Insect Toys
How do you make Bee Slime?
Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl in the order they are listed. Make sure to stir the mixture with each added element.
Knead the slime for 2 to 3 minutes until the preferred texture and stickiness are reached before adding the food coloring and buttons.
Lady Bug Slime
The same ingredients and directions as Bee Slime can be used for Lady Bug Slime, but replace yellow food coloring with red.
Replace the bee buttons with either black pom poms or black buttons to represent the Lady Bug’s spots. Another option for Lady Bug Slime uses water and glitter.
Lady Bug Slime with Glitter:
1 Airtight Container
1 (5oz) bottle of Elmer’s Clear Glue
tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Contact Solution
Red Food Coloring or Soap Coloring
Red Extra Fine Glitter
1 Mixing Bowl and Stirring Spoon
Black Buttons or Pom Poms
Small Lady Bug Insect Toys
To Make Glitter Slime:
Add all the ingredients in the order listed, taking extra time to knead for reduced stickiness before adding food coloring and glitter. Store in an airtight container when not in use.
Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Bottles
These sensory bottles are a hit! Using dried pasta that has been dyed in different colors, preschoolers can sort them into four different bottles that represent each stage of the butterfly life cycle.
What you will need:
Four empty bottles or jars (16.9oz water bottles work well)
Small pasta shells or plain white rice
Regular-sized pasta shells
Farfalle or Bowtie pasta
Liquid watercolors or food dye
Choose which pasta shells will be dyed or not dyed. Plain rice or small pasta is an excellent way to differentiate the egg stage from the other three, but that is optional.
The other three kinds of pasta can be dyed one color per stage or a combination of random colors if the preschoolers are ready for a challenge.
To color the pasta, place the noodles in baggies, one for each color, add a few squirts of coloring, seal the bag, and shake.
Place the freshly dyed pasta on a wax paper-lined drying tray. Once they are dry, combine all the pasta in a sensory bin and prep the bottles.
To help match the pasta shell to the correct bottle, tape a picture of each butterfly cycle stage to the outside and demonstrate how they are meant to be used.
Playdough Bug Activities for Preschoolers
Preschoolers have the chance to create their favorite insects with this activity!
What you need:
Multiple colors of playdough (enough to share between preschoolers)
Cut-up straw pieces
Cut-up Pipe Cleaners
Cut-up Foam Craft Sheets
Have your preschoolers sit around a table with their attention on the teacher or leader.
As each insect is introduced, have everyone use their crafting supplies to create the insect as described.
Supplies will need to be reused with every insect. At the end of the activity, have each preschooler recreate their favorite insect.
Preschool Insect Activities
Buy or print a set of insect picture cards and a container of children’s insect toys for insect matching.
Place four to eight image cards on a table and have the preschooler find the matching insect to place on the matching card.
To add a challenge to the activity, have the child name the insect before matching, place images and bugs around the room and have the child go on a scavenger hunt to find and match, or introduce insect facts and have the preschooler list a fact while making a match.
Pet Rock Painting
This activity is a twist on the traditional concept of a pet rock. Prepare enough rocks for all the preschoolers and teachers in the class. Have each child choose their rock and take it to their table.
After all the rocks have been selected, children can paint an insect on their rock to become their class pet.
Children can name their pets, check on them before and after class, and, if parent-approved, have their pictures taken together throughout the year for a unique end-of-year picture collage project that goes home with each child.
On a piece of plain printer paper, draw nine or ten circles. Next, use two or three different colors to start a pattern by coloring in the first few circles.
Leave the remaining circles uncolored. Draw a face and antennas on the first circle and two legs under each following ring. Laminate the paper, then cut out each caterpillar from the page.
Continue this design using different color patterns for each caterpillar until there are enough variations.
Using colored pom-poms, have preschoolers continue the patterns that were started for each caterpillar. This activity is excellent for motor skills, color identification, pattern recognition, and sensory stimulation.