Bugs Lesson Plan

Courtesy of Tami L. Maldonado-Mancebo
Early Childhood Curriculum Consultant, Omaha Public Schools

This themed unit allows students to develop a variety of academic skills as they learn about plants. Individual student goals will vary according to the ability and ages of the children and can be easily adapted for children with special needs.

Learning Objectives: Learning objectives include communication skills, spatial concepts, problem solving, grouping, sequencing, identification, labeling, fine and gross motor development.

Arts & Crafts

Crunchy Beetle

Copy a simple beetle image on white construction paper. Use black or brown liquid watercolor paint or food coloring to color egg shells and let dry. Have the children paint their bugs and let them dry. Next, glue on black or brown crushed up egg shells depending on what color they painted their beetle.

Dazzling Dragonfly

Print a simple clip art picture on white construction paper. Have the students paint the dragonfly with watercolor paint. When dry, glue on large wiggle eyes and colored cellophane wings decorated with glitter.

Glow Bugs

What You Need: Construction Paper, 16 oz Green Plastic Bottle, Tape, 2 Pipe Cleaners, Pencils, Scissors, Glue, Pom-poms, Fluorescent Light Sticks
What You Do: Fold construction paper in half length wise and tear along the fold. Wrap one half around the bottle top for the bug’s thorax and tape it in place. Next, wrap a pipe cleaner around the bottle neck and twist to make the antennae. Cut the other pipe cleaner stem into thirds and glue the pieces onto the ides of the bottle to make legs. Make a small circle for the head and 2 wing shapes. Glue wings to the thorax. Glue the circle onto the bottle cap for the face. Add pom-poms for eyes and let the glue dry. Finally, activate the light stick and place inside the bottle.

Bug Glasses

Note: This requires a fair amount of preparation from the adult, but when they're done, they're worth it!

To start, cut egg cartons into sections of 2, i.e. have two egg cups for each “pair of glasses”. Cut out the centers of the cups. Also, using a hole puncher, punch a hole in each side of the glasses so that string can be attached. Let the children paint and decorate the glasses however they like. After the glasses have dried, you can help them stick feathers into the tops of the glasses and attach strings. Then they're ready to wear!

Create a Bug

Place a variety of cut up egg cartons, pipe cleaners, scrap construction paper, wiggle eyes, glitter, cotton balls and any other materials you would like on your art center table. Then let the students create their own bugs! To add language, ask each child to tell you about their bug and write their words down to display next to their creation.

Name That Bug

Using small paper plates, have the students color one plate completely to be the head portion of their caterpillar bug. They can add pipe cleaner antennae. Next, have the students stamp each letter of their first name, one at a time on one small paper plate (for example, the name Sue would include 3 S-U-E plates and a fourth for the head). Let students color around the edges with crayons or markers. Finally, join the plates together with metal fasteners to spell out the child's name. It is great for older children to practice letters as well as to spell their name. They can also count the number of letters in each student's name, and compare them to see whose is the longest/shortest. These “name bugs” are versatile and fun to play with!

Fluttering Butterflies

Cut small butterfly wings from different colors of tissue paper. Then put a twist tie around them. Make sure to leave the tie in a Y shape for antennas. Put the butterflies in a large bowl on just on the floor. Have each child carefully wave a book over the butterflies and watch them fly.

Ladybugs Rock

Ask the students to bring a round-shaped rock about the size of their fist. Have the children paint the rock red and let dry. With a large black felt marker, draw a line in the center, add some dots and glue on wiggle eyes.

Beautiful Butterflies

Take a sheet of white paper fold it down the center put a drop of paint in the center. Place a different color in next to it. Fold the paper closed again and smash making sure to really spread the paint all over the paper! After the paint is completely dry, have students cut out a butterfly shape (you can create a template if necessary).

Worms Underground

Start with a full sheet of blue construction paper. Then cut a brown piece of construction paper in half and glue it to the blue construction paper. Next, cut strips of green paper to look like grass. Glue the green strips on top of the brown, so you have a paper that looks like you’re looking underground (like a cross-section). Have the students glue gummy worms on to the brown to look like earth worms underground (you can also use plastic worms). If you use the gummy worms, be sure you buy enough so there are leftovers to eat!

Walk with the Butterflies

Instead of doing handprints, try using the children’s feet to make butterflies from their footprints. Start with a large sheet of white paper, and trace the left foot on the right side of the paper and the right foot on the left side, leaving a space between to add a black construction paper body. Allow the kids to decorate the butterflies as desired.

Spiders as Big as Plates

Use black paper plates or have students paint them black. Provide wiggle eyes and wrinkled construction paper legs. Let them glue their eyes and legs onto the plate to create their own spider. Punch a hole in each creation and hang from the ceiling.

Dramatic Play

Create Some Buzz

Take about 14 toilet paper rolls and use a glue gun to glue them together to make a honeycomb. You can paint it yellow after, add a few bees and use it as decoration or for dramatic play.

The Hungry Caterpillar

Once you have explained the stages from caterpillar to butterfly, stage a little role play! Have the children crawl on the floor like caterpillars pretending to eat everything. Next have them role in a ball (cocoon) then slowly straighten out their bodies to an upright position. Finally, have them fly around like beautiful butterflies! It is good to have music in the background.

Kid Cocoons

Children can wrap each other in toilet paper (excluding their head) so they can feel what it would be like to be a caterpillar in a cocoon. Have them close their eyes and imagine that they are about to become butterflies. Have them stretch their "wings" and tear through the toilet paper cocoons.

Math

Patternpillers

Help students practice and learn patterns with patternpillers. Use paper, glue, different colored pom-poms, and if you like, wiggle eyes. Have the students create patterns using the different colors pompoms while crafting their patternpiller.

Bugs and Tongs

Provide a plastic tub filled with plastic bugs and plastic tongs that the students can use to put the bugs back in the box. Students can sort by type of bug, color or just build fine motor strength by using the tongs.

"The Grouchy Ladybug" Telling Time

What You Need: 1 Large Red Paper Circle, 1 Smaller Black Paper Circle, 6 Black Paper Strips, A Brass Fastener, 2 Paper "Arms" with Points on the End, Black Crayons or Markers

What You Do: On one side of the red paper, draw numbers as they appear on a clock. On the other side, draw ladybug spots. Attach the black strips for legs and the black circle for a head. Attach the "arms" of the clock with the brass fastener. As you read the story have the children adjust their grouchy ladybug clocks to the time in the story. This works best if you model it or have a big book where the children can see the clock better.

Butterfly Life Cycle Bracelets

Children can sequence the life cycle from egg to butterfly using a colored pipe cleaner (looped at one end) and the following beads: one white pony bead (the egg) as a spacer, add a flower bead (for the butterflies to drink from), next one red and two green pony beads (the caterpillar), another flower spacer, then a brown or gold bead (the cocoon), another flower spacer, and finally a butterfly bead.

Music & Movement

“The Ants Go Marching One by One”

(Sung to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again)

The ants go marching one by one
Hurrah! Hurrah! (repeat)
The ants go marching one by one
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
- to get out of the rain
Boom, Boom, Boom!

Verses:
The ants go marching two by two -
The little stops to tie his shoe
The ants go marching three by three - climb a tree
The ants go marching four by four - shut the door
The ants go marching five by five – kick a hive
The ants go marching six by six – pick up sticks
The ants go marching seven – pray to heaven
The ants go marching eight by eight – shut the gate
The ants go marching nine by nine – pick up a dime
The ants go marching ten by ten – shout THE END!

“Bug Song”

(Sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")

Oh, I wish I were an eensy-weensy spider.
*clap, clap*

Yes, I wish I were an eensy-weensy spider.
*clap, clap*

I'd go "creepy-creepy-crawly" down your hall and up your "wall-y!"

Oh, I wish I were an eensy-weensy spider.
*Clap Clap* (clap hands twice)

Oh, I wish I were a yellow honeybee.
*clap, clap*

Yes, I wish I were a yellow honeybee.
*clap, clap*

I'd go "buzzy-buzzy-buzzy" and my stripes would all be fuzzy!

Oh, I wish I were a yellow honeybee.
*2 claps, 2 stomps* (stomp feet twice)

Oh, I wish you were a wiggly caterpillar.
*clap, clap*

Yes, I wish I were a wiggly caterpillar.
*clap, clap*

I'd go "munchy-munchy-munchy." All the leaves would be my "lunch-y"!

Oh, I wish I were a wiggly caterpillar.
*clap, clap, stomp, stomp, click, click* (2 clicks with tongue)

Oh, I wish I were a small red army ant.
*clap, clap*

Yes, I wish I were a small red army ant.
*clap, clap*

I'd go "trompy-trompy-trompy" over hills and through the "swamp-y"!

Oh, I wish I were a small red army ant.
*clap, clap, stomp, stomp, click, click, jump, jump*

Oh, I wish I were a hungry little skeeter.
*clap, clap*

Yes, I wish I were a hungry little skeeter.
*clap, clap*

I'd go "bitey-bitey-bitey" when you went outside at "night-y"!

Oh, I wish I were a hungry little skeeter.
*clap, clap, stomp, stomp, click, click, jump, jump, Shhhh, Shhhh!!

The End!

“Big Bugs, Small Bugs”

(Sung to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”)

Big bugs, small bugs
Big bugs, small bugs
See them crawl, on the wall
Creepy creepy crawling..
Never never falling
bugs, bugs, bugs!

“The Fuzzy Caterpillar”

(Sung to the tune of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”)

The fuzzy caterpillar curled up on a leaf.
Spun her little chrysalis and then fell fast asleep.
While she was sleeping, she dreamed that she could fly.
And later when she woke up, she was a butterfly.

“Bumble Bee Dance”

Bees dance to communicate. Have the children dance to
communicate whatever they want - feelings (happy, sad, excited) or directions to the snack table - whatever suits the mood and the group of children.

Nutrition

Spiders

Ingredients:
Oval Butter Crackers
Soft Cheese Spread or Peanut Butter
Chinese Noodles
Raisins or Chocolate Chips

Directions:
Spread thick blob of cheese or peanut butter on the cracker to create the body. Stick 8 noodles on the cracker to create legs and decorate with raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes.

Ants on a Stump

Slice apples in circular shapes. The children then spread them with peanut butter and sprinkle with raisins.

Apple Ladybugs

Cut an apple in half. Use 1/2 of the apple to create the body. Dot peanut butter on the skin of the apple. Attach raisins on the peanut butter for spots. Place a marshmallow on a toothpick to create a head. Use pull 'n peel red liquorish for antennas.

Lady Bug Cupcakes

1 strawberry cupcake per child
Push 2 maraschino cherries into each cupcake with stems sticking out (antennae)
Frost with red icing (you can also use pink icing and add red food coloring)
Add mini chocolate chips for lady bug spots
Add green mini M&M's® for eyes
Draw a smile on with black decorating icing

Worms and Dirt

What You Need: Gummy Worms, Oreo Cookies®, Sandwich Bags and Paper Cups.
What You Do: Place cookies in sandwich bags and let the kids crush them. Then dump them into paper cups and add gummy worms.

Lo-mien Noodle Spiders

1 pkg chocolate chips
12 oz. can Chinese noodles
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and stir the noodles in. Have the students drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto waxed paper. Chill then eat!

Gelatin Ladybugs

You will need a muffin pan that will make enough lady bugs for your class. Have the children line the bottom of the tin with raisins. Then prepare gelatin according to “jiggler” instructions. Pour into each section and chill until firm, then pop out and enjoy! (It is easier to get the gelatin out if you soak the pan in warm water before trying.)

Edible Spiders

What You Need: Round Crackers, Peanut Butter, mini M&Ms® Chocolate Candies, Pull-n-Peel Liquorish (cut into 1 inch pieces)
What You Do: Give each child 2 crackers, peanut butter, 2 M&Ms® and a piece of licorice. Using a popsicle stick, have child spread peanut butter on one cracker. Pull apart licorice and place eight "legs" on the cracker. Place the other cracker on top. Dab two spots of peanut butter on the cracker top and stick on M&Ms® for eyes.

Outdoor Activities

Butterfly Life Cycle Activity Course

Do this activity as a class (or in groups with 1 adult per group), going from station to station together and talking about what the signs say, and then acting out each life stage.

Station #1 - Sit and Hatch: Sit like an egg & then pretend to hatch.
Station #2 - Creep and Crawl: Crawl like a caterpillar through a tunnel
Station #3 – Hanging Around: Hang like a chrysalis from the monkey bars. Don't forget to shake to keep the predators away!
Station #4 - Butterfly Refreshments: Fly like a butterfly to a flower and nectar station where you kids can enjoy fruit punch.

Pin the Spots on the Ladybug

Create a lady bug body by cutting red poster board into a large circle or cut a circle from a large box and paint red. Create black spots the same way. Blind fold 1 student at a time, then have the other students help direct this child to the ladybug where they can place the spot! Younger children can place spots with being blindfolded.

Bug Expedition

Go on a hunt and collect bugs. Use nets, containers and magnifying glasses to study them. You can also set up a center with small jars (baby food jars work well) containing dead bugs. Dragonflies, large mosquitoes, bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, large crickets, etc. are all very interesting to look at and discuss. You might also have live insects in the discovery center that students can observe and learn about. Ant farms, Praying Mantis & butterflies are all great in the classroom.

Mosquito Tag

Give each student a set amount of inexpensive stickers. Students run around trying to tag each other, once a child is tagged he/she is given a sticker to wear as a "mosquito bite". The winner is the person who gets rid of all of their stickers by tagging the most students.

Sensory Table

  • Place a length of rubber rain gutter in a water table along with plastic spiders.
  • Using a child sized pitcher, have the children pour the water through, washing the spider out while singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider"!
  • Put live worms in the dirt in your sensory table. Add a box of plastic gloves for students who don’t want to touch the worms directly. They might enjoy learning worm facts, such as: worms have no bones, 3 - 5 hearts, and can't drown.
  • Hide plastic bugs inside Easter grass or sand and have the students try to find them.
  • Put plastic fishing worms in a large sweater box filled 1/2 way with water. Have the children fish them out with their toes. This is so much fun!
  • Collect flowers, leaves and grass from an outdoor nature hike and have the students make rubbings with crayon or chalk.

Science

  • Try putting a container of crickets in the science center. Discuss with the children how the cricket makes sounds by rubbing his legs together. Discuss the interesting new noise in the room.
  • Go on a "bug walk." Take a camera (digital works best, if your school has one). Have all of the students search for bugs. Take pictures of what they find. Then make a class book out of the pictures. Discuss what you saw.
  • Teach kids about natural animal camouflage. Make a stick bug out of toothpicks. You will need 3 toothpicks per bug. Leave one toothpick as is, but bend the other two in the center to make legs. Put a dab of glue in the crease of the legs and glue to the straight toothpick. While your bug is drying, head outside to find sticks. Glue the bugs onto the sticks after they are finished painting them. Some children can paint theirs brown while others may paint them green and hide their bugs on sticks with leaves.
  • Make a worm farm in a large clear plastic storage tub. In it you will need to put sand, dirt, shredded paper, rocks and wet leaves. Then add a dozen or so worms (you can get them at the bait store or you can hunt for them yourself). Have students take turns finding all the worms, then compare their sizes by lining them up side by side on the table. Look at them with magnifying glasses and see their worm fuzz (that's how they squiggle thru their worm tunnels). At the end of the unit you can give each child a worm to take home and "plant" in their gardens.

Spider Talk

Using black construction paper, cut out a large circle for the body and a small circle for the head. Cut out 8 legs and fold like a fan. The legs should be very long so when you add them to the spider they can go in different directions. Add a happy face. At the end of each leg, add a spider fact. For example: spiders have 8 legs, spider webs are sticky etc.

Dancing Bugs

What You Need: Clear Drinking Glass, 1 Can of Sprite® and Several Raisins.
What You Do: Fill the glass with soda. Then drop the raisins in and watch them dance up and down!

Home/School Connection

  • Send a letter home asking the children to make a bug with their family out of household objects. Make sure your letter mentions a bug’s characteristics, such as the number of legs, wings, etc.
  • Start an ugly-bug contest on a Monday. Ask parents to hunt for live ugly bugs and take a picture. On Friday, your class will have a contest to see who found the ugliest bug...and of course, everyone gets a prize for their entry.

Now that your students have learned about the human body, look for more fun lesson plan ideas.