One very popular center during Bugs, Spiders, and Insects week was the Build a Bug Center. I gathered a bunch of shapes on a tray, along with glue sticks. I had construction paper available for students to create a bug. I also made scissors available in case a student wanted to cut any of the shapes before gluing. One student created four different bug art pieces at this center during the week. I quickly filled up my bulletin board. You can see the first batch below. The last set (which somehow escaped my camera) looked increasingly like specific insects as we discussed more about them as we went through the week.
This bug building center was inspired by What We Can Do With Paper And Glue.
In our science center we continued to observe our caterpillars as they each turned into a chrysalis. We also did some observation of these insects from a Lakeshore set called Real Bugs Discovery Kit. (aff. link) Some students also completed the Bug Observation Form that I printed from Sparklebox. Several kids asked me if those were real bugs.
We created a several day craft to walk through the steps a caterpillar takes to become a butterfly. You can see our caterpillars above. I gave the students each a clothespin and a bin full of pom poms along with liquid glue. They chose the colors they wanted and glued the pom poms on the clothespins. I helped put the eyes on this time.
The next day we wrapped yarn around a cardboard tube to create the chrysalis. We put the caterpillar in the chrysalis and then used markers to color a coffee filter, which we then sprayed with water. Finally, when dry, we had the caterpillar grab its wings and emerge from its chrysalis. They are currently hanging all around the room with the butterflies clipped to their chrysalis as if they just emerged.
We played a small group rhyming game with a ladybug theme during our bug week. I placed half the ladybugs in the grass, which is a drying rack for baby items that I picked up as a special buy at Aldi. I found a very similar one on Amazon. (aff. link) My students each received a few ladybugs and then took turns choosing a ladybug from the grass. They then all looked at their ladybugs to figure out which person had the ladybug that rhymed to make a match. You can find these ladybug rhyming cards on TPT.
Our dramatic play for our insect them was BeeKeeping. I utilized some pieces that one of my coworkers had put together last year along with some printables from this Honey Bees Dramatic Play set. I always want labels for everything in my dramatic play because it helps with literacy development as well as clean up. The beehive above is a file box. (aff. link)
Inside the beehive there are hanging file folders that are covered with artwork of beehives and some with painted bubble wrap. The artwork helps the students fill out the checklist that is also part of this set, so students need to look carefully at each part of the hive to check for danger.
I laminate my inspection sheet and have a dry erase marker and eraser available at the center for students to complete.
To be a beekeeper we needed gloves, a hat with netting, a smoker, and some tools to gather the honey. Next year I will probably add some kind of white shirt to be the beekeeper’s clothing.
You cannot have bees without some flowers for them to gather nectar from, so I pulled out this set for students to water. They also had fun taking them apart and putting them back together in various ways. This set was found at Toysrus and was called the Mix and Match Flower Garden. A similar set that does not have the base can be found here. (aff. link) I actually have it as well as use it during our gardening unit.
For checking out more about bees in our pretend play area, I have this book. It is called Honeybees, An Amazing Insect Discovery Book. This book has some great photos for students to look at while in the pretend play area.