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Need more insect activities

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My kindergartner is on a bug kick, and has been for afew weeks.
 We've gone over the caterpillar to butterfly thing.  Read the very hungry caterpillar several times, done 3 caterpillar crafts and 2 butterfly crafts...We talked about how bees make honey, the different jobs that bees have and watched the bee movie...we inspected ants outside and talked about ant hills, and the different parts of the ant.
 We also went to the childrens museum here and they had some gigantic spiders in a temporary exhibit...gross but she thought it was pretty cool.

I'm running out of stuff to talk about that is at her level, bug-wise.
 What else can I do lol??

by on Jul. 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM
Replies (11-12):
AllofFive19
by Bronze Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Caterpillars are usually a big favorite of first graders.  Of course, there's the amazing transformation they undergo to become a beautiful butterfly, but that requires a long wait.  For most kids, it doesn't get any better than the immediate pleasures of those weird creepy crawlies. This experiment gives your young scientist the opportunity to learn how much of a leaf a caterpillar can eat in one day.  And in the process, it will teach her some important steps in that time-honored process, the scientific method.

What You Need:

  • A caterpillar (you can probably find one in you own back yard)
  • A box (preferably with a screen top)
  • Two different colored markers
  • Pencil
  • 1 sheet of centimeter graph paper
  • 1 sheet of white unlined paper divided into two sections vertically

What to Do:

  1. To begin this activity you and your first grader must first go on a hunt outside to find a hungry caterpillar and a leaf.  Once you've found him, place the caterpillar in the box.
  2. Have your child place the leaf on the graph paper and trace around the leaf with one of the markers.
  3. Put the leaf in the box with the caterpillar. Be sure to close the lid of the box.
  4. Use the white paper to complete a “Before/After” activity.  Have your child give a hypothesis (or guess) by completing the following sentence: Hypothesis:  A caterpillar can eat between ___ and ____ square centimeters of a leaf in one day. You may need to explain to her that square centimeters are simply the boxes of the graph paper.  How many boxes of the leaf does she think the caterpillar is going to eat in one day? 
  5. Have your child draw a picture of the caterpillar in the box at this time with the uneaten leaf to document this stage in the experiment.
  6. Wait until the same time the next day to take the leaf out of the box to examine.
  7. Have your child place the leaf over the graph paper tracing she made of the leaf from the day before so that both the leaf and the tracing are lined up.  Using the other color marker, have your child trace around the places where the leaf has been eaten.
  8. Have your child use the marker to color in the spaces to show how much of the leaf is now gone.
  9. Assist your child in counting the number of squares that are in the area that the caterpillar ate.  A square that is more than half covered should be counted as a whole square.  However, if a square is less than half covered, do not count it at all.  Tell your child that this is what is called an "estimate."
  10. Discuss with your child how much the caterpillar ate in one day and the difference between the amount the caterpillar ate and your child's hypothesis.
  11. Finally, have her complete the “Before/After” activity by drawing a picture of the caterpillar in the box with the eaten leaf and complete the following sentence: Result:  The area of the leaf eaten by the caterpillar was ___ square centimeters.  My hypothesis was_____.

Afterward, she may want to complete this experiment with other insects as well to find out which one eats the most in one day.  Don't forget to put your caterpillar back in his home outside where you found him once you and your child have finished the experiment!

This is a first grader activity, but it can be adjusted for your Kindergartener

AllofFive19
by Bronze Member on Jul. 31, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Your little entomologist will develop a healthy curiosity while doing research and finding a good template for her puppet, work on her fine motor skills while cutting out the puppet parts and fastening them together, and learn about the differences between insect and human bodies all the while! During play, she'll synthesize her imagination and newly-acquired facts, an essential critical thinking skill that will allow her to learn and play more thoughtfully. Additional activities included below will make this puppet a generous playmate and teacher!

What You Need:

  • Picture of a mantis
  • Copy machine
  • Marker(s)
  • Stiff plastic, cardboard, or art foam
  • Scissors
  • Brass paper fasteners
  • Tape or binder paper hole reinforcers
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Popsicle stick (optional)

No time to buy supplies?

Get fun activities with all the supplies you need, delivered straight to your door. TryWonder Box

What You Do:

  1. With your child, find a picture of a mantis that clearly shows the head, body, and legs.
  2. Enlarge the drawing on a copy machine so that the puppet will be larger than a real mantis. This will make it easier to see and to handle.
  3. Trace the mantis head and body onto stiff plastic, cardboard, or art foam. Then trace each leg separately. You can use multiple tracings of a leg if the other leg is obscured or hard to cut out in the original picture.
  4. Your child can use colored materials (like the art foam) or markers to color in the traced mantis parts, using the original picture as a guide. Add googly eyes for extra personality!
  5. Cut out the body/head piece and all six leg pieces.
  6. With tape or hole reinforcers, reinforce the legs and body where you'll be attaching them. You can use this opportunity to ask your child where the legs should go.
  7. Hinge it at the joints with brass paper fasteners. Include all six legs even though it’s a flat puppet. If you feel like that's too many legs or too many fasteners, try using one fastener to hold two legs (one for each side of the body) onto the puppet.
  8. The puppet is ready for play as-is or with a popsicle stick taped to the back to make a handle.

Introduce your child to her new friend! Have him say "Hi, my name is Mantis. What's your name?" Don't forget to make his legs move! Find more great ideas for mantis learning activities on the next page.

Learning From Your Mantis:

  • Ask your child to count the legs on the mantis puppet (there should be six) and to count her own legs. What's different about the mantis' front legs and back legs? What are the front legs used for?
  • Make the mantis puppet catch an "insect" (your own hand, then your child's hand if she's willing). As long as your child knows that she's safe, being "chased" by the mantis puppet can be a lot of fun.
  • What other parts of the insect can your child name? Introduce vocabulary such as "thorax," "abdomen," "antenna," and "palps." You can even sing this song to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes":

Head, thorax, ab-do-men, abdomen. (The insect’s thorax is the part where the limbs are attached—point to your chest. The insect’s abdomen is the part after the legs are attached—point to your bottom.)

Head, thorax, ab-do-men, abdomen.

Eyes, antenna, and mouth and palps, (Point to your mouth, then make your index fingers into tiny arms at your mouth to be the palps, which are mouth parts.)

Head, thorax, ab-do-men, abdomen.

Of course, you're not limited to these activities. Have fun with it!

Here's one for a Pre-schooler.

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