Toddler Activities Schedule (11) – Bugs

April 1st, 2010 by Dionna | 5 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Children, Eclectic Learning, Learning Activity Series, Preschoolers, Toddlers

green beetle on pink flowerWith spring weather comes all manners of creepy crawlies. My least favorite are the 8 legged variety, but I am trying my darnedest not to pass that fear on to Kieran. Any advice on that is greatly appreciated.

What are your favorite “bug” activities for toddlers and preschoolers?


Pretend play
*Talk about how different bugs move (spider, grasshopper, bee). Try acting like the bugs. Sing songs and do some fingerplays about bugs. This site has quite a few, here are my favorites:

Five Little Ladybugs

Five little Ladybugs climbing up a door
One Flew away then there were four
Four Little ladybugs sitting on a tree
One flew away then there were three
Three little ladybugs landed on a shoe
One flew away and then there were two
Two little ladybugs looking for some fun
One flew away and then there was one
One little ladybug sitting in the sun
She flew away and then there were none

Can you move with me?

Sung to: “Do Your Ears Hang Low”

Can you wiggle like a worm?
Can you squiggle? Can you squirm?
Can you flutter? Can you fly like a gentle butterfly?
Can you crawl upon the ground
Like a beetle that is round?
Can you move with me?

Can you flip? Can you flop?
Can you give a little hop?
Can you slither like a snake?
Can you give a little shake?
Can you dance like bee
Who is buzzing round a tree?
Can you move with me


Fun with numbers
*Ladybug Dots & Dice: Make a plain (no dots) ladybug out of construction paper, and cut out dots separately. Have your toddler roll dice and count the dots on the dice together. Let you toddler then put the same number of dots on his ladybug.


Exploring our World
*Bug Catcher: My mom got Kieran one of these bug catchers last year, and it has sat in the closet untouched ever since. We will take it out and gently catch some bugs to examine more closely. We will talk about where to find bugs (this site has some great ideas).


Science Adventures
*Take some time to look online for pictures and facts about bugs and insects. This is a good site to start your search. When you’re done, let your toddler design her own insect. Use popsicle sticks, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, markers, glitter glue, etc.


*The Very Hungry Caterpillar Puppet Fun: Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar together. To make your puppet, pull off the top of an oatmeal container (or some cylindrical tube), cut a hole in the side of the box for a mouth (big enough for your and your child’s hand to reach through to grab play food). The mouth should be about 2/3 of the way up on the container. Cut a big sock or stocking hat so it becomes an open tube, attach to tube with tape or staples. Slip arm through sock and into box, fingers of hand can act like “teeth”. Feed the puppet with play food. (From Making Make-Believe by MaryAnn Kohl)

Kids’ Yoga Pose

My goal is to do something with Kieran every day that gets our bodies moving. Acacia at Be Present Mama is a yoga instructor, and she loves doing yoga with her 3 year old son, Everett.

This week’s yoga activity is a fun introduction to this growing season and a chance to improve balance, coordination and creative expression. It is geared towards 2-7 year olds.

Introduce the activity by asking what happens in the spring time. Hopefully you hear the answer or can come up with answer together that new plants, flowers and trees grow in the spring. Tell your child, “Let’s pretend we’re tree seeds and plant ourselves.”

* Squat on the ground in a ball, hugging your knees. Ask your child, “What does a tree need to grow?”
* If you hear water/rain pat the ground with your hands making the sound of the rain and then begin to slowly “grow” to standing, ending in tree pose.
* In tree pose you will be balancing on one leg with the other foot resting on the side of your calf. Your arms grow up to the sky.
* As you are standing in tree pose, ask your child what kind of tree he is to stimulate further creativity.
* Repeat the growing, starting back as a seed, to balance on the other leg.

For more on this activity, including additional ways to do this pose with your child, please visit the original post at Be Present Mama.

Sign Language

We’ve been teaching Kieran ASL since he was a baby. Signing is a wonderful parenting tool for babies and preverbal toddlers to increase communication and decrease tantrums. Our favorite site for learning signs is ASL Pro, which features a free video signing dictionary. To find a sign, click on that link, click on the letter of the alphabet the word starts with (under “Main Dictionary”), and then search in the “Choices” box for the word. Click on the word to watch the video. If you need clarification, try ASL University or a Basic Guide to ASL. Here are some words of the week to practice with your toddler:





Book and Music Suggestions

The Best Book of Bugs

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

I Love Bugs


Messy Play
Butterfly Hands and Feet: Have your child make ONE foot print on the paper. Next you will have your child make a total of 4 hand prints using the paint. Have them make two on each side of the foot print with the palm of the hand print touching the footprint. Doing this you will have a butterfly with beautiful wings. You can let your child decorate the butterflies with glitter, markers, etc. after the paint dries.

*Clothespin Clutch: Give child a clip-type clothespin. Wad up a piece of paper (or get a little plastic bug) and put it on the floor in front of the child, who must pick it up using the clothespin. If you have more than one child, have them pass the clothespin around to take turns, or have them pass the object from clothespin to clothespin if they have the manual dexterity. If a wad of paper or a small object is too hard, try something with more surface area to grasp like a square of felt. (From The Sourcebook: Activities for Infants and Young Children)

Photo credit: elliecrane


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5 Responses to:
"Toddler Activities Schedule (11) – Bugs"

  1. Thanks for posting the Five Little Ladybugs! My youngest absolutely loves lady bugs. He will love it.

    We recently ordered caterpillars to raise in our butterfly habitat. The kids are anxiously waiting for them. We also made salt dough ornaments in the shape of butterflies. I love salt dough ornaments, as they are easy and cheap to make. We can change them out as often as we like.

    Last year I lead a homeschool coop class for little ones under age 6, inspired by my then not qiute 2 year old and his love of bugs. I handed out magnifying glasses (small plastic ones from Oriental Trading Co.) and we headed out on a nature trail, talking about the various insects and spiders we saw. It was a big hit. After we finished the nature hike, we decorated bug boxes to take home. I had stuffed an insect finger puppet in each one (more supplies from Orinetal Trading Co.). My kids still play with those. We also made bug cupcakes for the class

  2. Melodie   bfmom

    Your blog is full of the most wonderful ideas Dionna! Yesterday we went into the garden and at one point my youngest had 16 warm worms in her hand. I made her let them go because they were getting a bit heated in her little fist. I love these ideas to expand what we can learn about other bugs!

  3. My toddlers love all the songs and finger plays… Great ideas thank you

  4. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    Thank you Melodie! Kieran refuses to hold any worms I’ve found in the garden so far. He has consented to touching one, but that’s as far as it’s gone ;)

    Mandy – thank you for mentioning magnifying glasses! Kieran just saw his first one a few weeks ago when we ate dinner with Tom’s grandparents – I need to get him one of his onw.

    Kathy – thank you for stopping by!

  5. These are really good ideas! Most children are afraid of bugs (maybe because we also are) and these ideas are a way for them to know a little more of the nature around them.

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