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Bug Science Activities for Kindergarten

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Creepy, crawly bugs are great! Laying scientific foundations with bug exploration works well for kindergartners. This lesson offers activities to get your students excited about bug science while working and playing together.

Bugs and Kids

Have you ever noticed that young children love bugs? They are fascinated by them. What better time to begin to plant seeds of science than when students are naturally motivated to be engaged in the learning process?

These activities are designed to lay animal science foundations for your students in fun and interactive ways. Students will work together and individually to classify and identify different kinds of bugs. Hold on to your nets because these bugs are going to be creepy!

Things To Do Together

The following activities are great to do in large groups or as a whole class. Getting your students working in groups as well as studying bugs is a great dual benefit of these activities.

Classification

  • Materials: Pictures of bugs on card stock (one picture per card) about the size of a playing card
  • Preparation: None

Hand out one card to each student. Students will look at their bug and then move around the room pretending to be that bug. Students who get flying bug cards (like butterflies or mosquitoes) could flap their wings while students with crawling bug cards (like ants or caterpillars) could crawl or wriggle. Encourage students to try to find other students who are acting similarly. They should group themselves based on what type of bug card they were given with all butterflies together, all the ants together, and so on. Then, have mini-groups find other species that share similarities, such as all of the flying bugs together and all of the bugs with many legs finding one another.

  • Extension: Allow students to group based on their own classifications first then ask each group why they included each bug in the group.

Find It

  • Materials: Many types of plastic bugs, five to six of each type and enough for all children to have one bug
  • Preparation: Spread the bugs around an area that the children can search safely (like a playground).

Separate your children into groups of five or six (depending on the number of each bug). Assign one bug type to each group. Tell your students that each person in each group must find one of the bugs assigned to the group. At a signal, all students run through the designated area looking for their bugs. The first group to return all members with the correct bug wins.

Keep hiding the bugs and swap assigned bug types between groups until all students have searched for all the types of bugs you've hidden.

What is It?

  • Materials: Sets of realistic pictures of bugs (such as a butterfly, ant, worm, beetle) and enlarged silhouettes of the same bugs
  • Preparation: None

Divide your class into groups (3-5 members each). Give one set of the picture cards to each group. Show a silhouette of a bug. The first group to raise the correct matching picture wins a point. When all the silhouettes have been identified, the group with the most points wins.

Activities to Complete Independently

These activities are designed for independent work, but could also work for small groups as well.

Puzzle It Out

  • Materials: Enlarged copies of pictures of bugs, card stock
  • Preparation: Glue the pictures to card stock and then cut the pictures into puzzle-style pieces. You can alter the number of pieces to adjust the difficulty level of the puzzle.

Keep the puzzle pieces in large storage backs with a small copy of the picture made by the pieces. Encourage students to look at the picture, pay attention to the special features of the bug in the picture, and find those same features in the pieces. Doing this will help them fit the pieces together.

  • Extension: Follow the same procedures, but use a silhouette of the animal for either the picture to look at as an example or the puzzle pieces to put together.

Color It Red

  • Materials: a coloring sheet featuring many different types of bugs in a nature scene

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