Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bugs & Insects

At You're Invited Children's Center we have had some great experiences learning about bugs and insects in the last few weeks. These are some of the activities that were successful and easy for you to provide for your children too:

Gummy Worms & Coffee Sand
You will love the reaction your children (and you!) have when you smell the coffee sand and gummy worms used in this activity. The main goals for this activity are to strengthen their small muscles (important for pre-writing) with the tweezers and develop eye-hand coordination. Coffee sand is easy to make and the aroma is wonderful. There are baskets in the middle for children to place the gummy worms.

Coffee Sand recipe: 4 c. dried used coffee grounds 2 c. cornmeal 1 c. flour 1/2 c. salt
Dry coffee grounds either by placing in cookie sheets and put in oven for about 20 minutes or leaving out over night. Once coffee gounds are dry mix all ingredients in large tub.

You can get the children involved in preparing this by letting them pour ingredients into large tub then give them potato mashers to mix (great for large muscle development)! There is a lot of mixing involved because the ingredients clump.
Entomology Kits
These bags are easy to put together and great to have around for children to use any time their curiousity leads them! An entomologist or a bugologist (Bug-hunter) is a person that studies insects!

With this kit, your child can be a true entomologist?

You need:
1. Small bag (u can use canvas bags found at craft stores, my friend quickly sewed these for us)
2. Clear small container with holes in it - we reused our
3. Notebook with pencil
4. Tweezers
5. Magnifying glass

Children use the notebooks to "write" about their findings and teachers can also dictate what the children talk about. One of our teachers heard:

"We picked up with the tweezers, we found pincher bugs. Wow little worm, easy little worm, you're just a baby. Take it easy little guy, I won't hurt ya, I just want to look
at ya." - Andrew, age 5

Spider on a Web
I love activities for children that involve several steps. Two years olds and the older kids can do this activity.
It starts with the children marble painting a black circle with white paint (put a little glue in the paint) - this is the web!

The second step is making the spider for the web

1. Provide pre-cut circles and put out hole punchers. The older children love using this tool while the younger children might need some help. You can talk about how many legs spiders have and thats how many holes they need to punch.
2. Children fold pipe cleaners through each hole
3. Glue eyes on

Third step is to glue the spider on the web!!!

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