Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about bugs: insects and spiders
Find more Bug Activities for Pre-K
Check here for a complete list of Books about Bugs!
Bug Large Motor Games
Flight of the Bumblebee
We play a game with this song by passing a beanbag (the “bee”) like a hot potato around the circle of children while the music played. Occasionally, I stop the music, which means the person with the beanbag is “stung” and moves to the middle of the circle.
The Tale of the Tzar Saltan: Flight of the Bumblebee ~ Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Here’s an example (from Amazon) of a bee finger puppet that can be used as the “hot potato”:
Bug Fine Motor Skills
Play Dough Bugs
We place strips of green construction paper (for grass) in some small bug boxes (available at the Dollar Tree). Children make model bugs with play dough to put in the boxes.
Butterfly Lacing Cards
To make these, I traced a butterfly outline onto old file folders, cut them out, and punched holes around the edge. The children use yarn to lace through the holes, and decorate them with markers.
Bug Art Activities
Egg Carton Ants
Children paint an egg carton (cut so that each child had 3 egg cups for the 3 body parts) with their choice of either red, brown, or black paint. We add wiggle eyes and pipe cleaner pieces for the antennae and legs.
Cocoon & Butterfly
We talk about the life cycle of a butterfly, and make a cocoon with a toilet paper tube and white yarn. We decorate a clothespin with pom poms to look like a caterpillar and put it inside the cocoon. Another day, we paint a coffee filter with watercolor paints. When it is time for the butterfly to come out of the cocoon, the butterfly “wings” are then clipped in the clothespin caterpillar.
Egg Carton Bugs
We make bugs using half of a cardboard egg carton, paint, wiggle eyes, pom-pom balls, and other materials.
This clothespin art activity goes with the book, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, by Eric Carle. You can read about this activity at the Eric Carle Caterpillar Exchange.
Bug Literacy Activities
Very Hungry Caterpillar Story Retelling
The Very Hungry Caterpillar foods are made from construction paper, and are strung on a green ribbon “caterpillar”. The children try to sequence the story from memory. Read more about this idea at Eric Carle’s Caterpillar Exchange.
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
Children are given a simple bug outline. This is not a color sheet, the page only has 3 circles. They work in pairs to create bugs that are the same (“bug twins”). One child has the role of communicator and one child had the role of listener. The communicator adds features to the bug by drawing & coloring, and communicates each step to a partner. The partner listens and adds the same features to the bug without seeing the other child’s paper. This project helps with communication skills, listening, following directions, and cooperation.
Bug Bingo Stamping Game
Read about and print the Bug Bingo Game here.
Ladybug Roll & Write Game
Print and find directions here: Roll & Write Games
Bug Math Activities
We use butterfly counters to make color patterns. The children also make their own pattern with paper butterfly cutouts (I used the small craft punchers to cut the butterflies).
Printable Grid Pattern Paper
As gross as it sounds, children are fascinated by this game. Each child has a handful of 8 plastic flies. They throw them onto the table, and count how many flies are dead (on their backs) and how many flies are alive (on their feet).
Sorting by Sizes
We use three sizes of craft pom poms (our pretend fuzzy bugs) to sort by size into different sized containers.
Bug Counting Book
We make a bug counting book by stamping bug stamps on each page of the book. The words to the book are:
4; Those were good, but I want more!
8; The big fat juicy ones taste just great!”
Bug Pattern Block Mats
Read about and print here: Pattern Block Mat Printables. (Go to this page and look for the caterpillar, butterfly, bee, & dragonfly mats.)
Ladybug Grid Game
Read about about print here: Grid Games
Bug Science Activities
Bug Nature Walk
We go on a nature walk to search for bugs, and draw observational pictures of bugs we find.
Bug Cooking Activities
Children make an edible ant hill in a cup. We used a clear punch cup so the children could see the layers they added to their dessert. First they put a layer of chocolate pudding into the cup for the “dirt”. Then, they crushed up graham crackers in a plastic ziploc bag and poured the crumbs into the cup for the anthill “sand”. Last, they added chocolate chips for the “ants” (you could also substitute raisins instead of chocolate chips).
Picnic Prop Box
Include: Blanket, Picnic basket, Paper plates & cups, Play food
Color Bugs Printable Book
This book can be printed or projected as a slideshow. Go to the Printable Books page to download.
Bee Hive Fingerplay
Here is the bee hive
(Cup hands together)
Where are the bees?
(Peek into hive)
Hidden away where nobody sees.
(Hide hive behind back)
Watch and you’ll see them come out of the hive.
(Bring hive back out front)
(Open fingers one by one. Fingers become the buzzing bees)
Nursery rhymes that go well with a Bug Theme:
- Here is the Beehive
- Little Miss Muffet
Look for printable posters of these rhymes on the Nursery Rhymes Page.
- Spider on the Floor, by Raffi (Download on Amazon or iTunes)
- The Buggy Wuggy Song, by Mrs. Jones
- The Insect Song, by Mrs. Jones
- I’m a Butterfly, by Mrs. Jones
- Life of a Butterfly, by Mrs. Jones
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Mrs. Jones
- Ants Go Marching at Mrs. Jones’ Room
- The Ants Go Marching: traditional song
- Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee: traditional song
- Shoo Fly: traditional song
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider: traditional song
Find more Bug Activities for Pre-K
- Insects @ Pre-KPages.com
- Bugs on the Sticky Table @ Teach Preschool
- Bug Fossils @ No Time For Flash Cards
- Ladybug Math Craftivity @ No Time For Flash Cards