Even More Bugs, Insects, and Spider Activities for PreK

BuildABug

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.

BuildABugResults

This bug building center was inspired by What We Can Do With Paper And Glue.

BugObservation

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.

CaterpillarCraft

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.

LadybugRhyming

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.

BeehiveDramaticPlay

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)

InsideBeehive

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.

BeehiveInspection

I laminate my inspection sheet and have a dry erase marker and eraser available at the center for students to complete.

Beekeeper

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.

BeeGarden

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.

BeeBook

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.

 

Bugs, Insects, and Spiders in PreK

InsectQuestion

We started our Bugs, Insects, and Spiders week with a question of the day that would go along with our dramatic play area.  I love the photo of the kids in the beekeeping suits in this question.  This question is part of my Spring Question of the Day set.

InsectPatternBlocks

Pattern blocks are inviting when on the easel with sticky paper.  The pattern blocks are made of foam.  I used painters tape to put up clear contact paper over the insect theme pattern blocks that I printed out from PreKinders.  You can find pattern blocks from Teacher Created Resources. (aff. link)  We often use Contact brand liner (aff. link) for these projects, but have also used Duck brand (aff. link) as well.  Since this side of my easel does not have a tray, I use a large clip to hold a container for the foam pattern blocks.

ABCMagnet

The other side of the easel has some alphabet review for my students.  The Alphabet Beginning Sounds Match is from my shop.  I like having a handful of letters for my students to review, instead of the entire alphabet.

ABCMagnets2

I used both capital and lowercase alphabet magnets for this center.  This set of alphabet magnets can be found here. (aff. link)  I am liking this set of alphabet magnets, although the lowercase t does have the curve at the bottom.

InsectLacing

During our Bug, Insect, and Spider week we did a couple sewing projects.  This center got a bunch more use out of it after we created a spider web with a paper plate as one of our craft projects.  I had a difficult time finding a source for these.  I would not suggest buying them at this price, but wanted to share more branding information in case you could find them somewhere else.

Cootie

How can you  have Bug, Insect, and Spider week without Cootie? (aff. link)  My set has one missing leg, but none of the kids seemed to notice this year.  Putting the legs on is probably the biggest challenge for preschoolers since the legs look like they should go on one way, but really go in on more of an angle.

InsectMeasurement

We used some linking cubes to measure some insects this week, thanks to this great freebie.  Most of my students did not bother with filling out the form, but a few tried it.  They did enjoy measuring how big each insect was.  You could use a variety of non-standard measuring tools for these critters; we used linking cubes similar to these. (aff. link)

InsectSensory

My sensory bin was filled with shell, rotini, and bow tie pasta to represent the stages of a butterfly.  I also picked up some bug catchers, small nets, and tweezers from Dollar Tree.  The nets try to slide off the plastic handle, so I will probably glue the plastic handle shut for next year.  I also have some plastic bugs from Melissa & Doug to catch.  They look similar to these (aff. link), which may be the updated version since I have had these for several years.  Some friends captured bugs while others used the bug catchers to sort pasta.

My next post will share some more of my buggy week with a look at our bee keeper dramatic play that I was fortunate to have a bunch of help creating from both a coworker and a great set online that I purchased.

Dental Health Books and Circle Time Activities for PreK

I was gathering my dental health materials for our second week of healthy habits when I realized I might need a few more activities to round out the week.  When I get ready to plan a theme in my preschool classroom I try to divide up my plans into different areas to make sure I am covering everything I need to as I plan.  I try to gather my books and circle time activities together to make sure I have plenty for each day of the week.  Here are some of the dental health books and poems that I plan to use.

Dr. De Soto is a book that I think originally belonged to one of my own children before I started teaching preschoolers.  I enjoy being able to read longer books that have a story that my students really need to follow along with as I read.  I enjoy asking my students whether they think Dr. De Soto should treat the fox, what might happen if he does, and how will he keep from getting eaten in the process.

Many of my students have seen Little Bear episodes on television or on another electronic device, so Little Bear’s Loose Tooth might be familiar to some of my students.  We often talk about whether any of them have known anyone with a loose tooth.  Often there are older siblings to talk about.  We can also take guesses as we read whether each attempt at getting the tooth out will work.

Why Do I Brush My Teeth? is a nonfiction book with color photos and suggested activities on each page.  At least one of these suggested activities we will be doing this week with an egg and vinegar.  I also plan on having a few mirrors to pass around while I share this book, as well as having one with the book in my library area.

I Know Why I Brush My Teeth is a bit longer than the other books.  It is told as a story with a mother explaining to her son about teeth when he discovers a loose tooth.  There are lots of details in this book about tooth brushing, fluoride, foods to eat, visits to the dentist, cavities, and parts of teeth.  Some years I can read the entire book and other years I just read portions, depending upon the type of group of students I have.

I also make sure I share songs during the week that go along with our theme as well.  Here are links to a few that are easy to sing (love those piggy back songs to familiar tunes):

Brush Your Teeth (to Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Brushing (to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

I’ve Been Brushing (to I’ve Been Working on the Railroad) There are actually a bunch of songs here, just make sure they will work for you with the tune they suggest.  Sometimes I know it is just my lack of musical talent, but sometimes there is a word left out or something that just makes the words not quite work with the tune given.

Insect themed calendar set with three sets of cards for three pattern choices. Also has month headers, days of week, and seasons.
Insect theme calendar set

Since it is a new month I have just switched out my calendar numbers.  I did not go with a dental theme since the rest of our month will deal with spring type themes.  I decided I needed to use these great insects.  I discovered I had to laminate the last week’s worth last night because somehow I had managed to fit all the other numbers into little spaces during the year when I was laminating other stuff, but not 24-30.

questionofthedayteeth

I also plan to use my Question of the Day for healthy habits during circle time.  One student has the job for the week of tallying our responses and then we figure out which answer has the most and which has the least responses.   Healthy habits questions are in this Question of the Day set or you can find them in the bundle.

Do you have any favorites for circle time that involve dental health?

 

PreK Creepy Crawlers Week Fun and Games

 

 

Spider Web Fly Toss Game
Spider Web Fly Toss Game

My PreK students always keep very busy on Monday mornings since there is so much new in the classroom.  This week is our Creepy Crawlers theme.  I was energized from my spring break to discover some new ideas that I am glad to find engaging to my students.  This spider web game was a big hit.

I discovered an idea for the spider web when browsing Pinterest.  I knew I already had a hula hoop (affiliate link) that I had found at the dollar store last year, so I pulled that out, along with some masking tape.  The example on Pinterest showed cotton balls, but I thought that black pom poms would look more like bugs or flies caught in the web.

I overheard one of my students saying that it was like a carnival game.  I only had one student try to grab the hoop, which I think is quite a success, especially since that student did not try grabbing it again.  We used up quite a bit of energy playing this game and worked on our gross motor skills.

UPDATE:  Be sure to check the quality of your tape.  Did it again this year and the tape must have been too old.  Hardly anything stuck.

Creepy Crawler Calendar Cards

Bees and Other Creepy Crawling Critters

Bee with pollen
Bee with pollen

Spent a little time this evening working on lesson plans for my upcoming bugs and insects theme.  Love this macro photo of a bee covered in pollen, although it does make me a bit itchy to imagine that pollen all over me.

Working on a word wall to use next week, so making a list of insects and bugs that I want to be sure to include in my search for interesting photos.

Which insects and bugs do you like to use in your preschool creepy crawling critter theme weeks?