Bugs are everywhere! These small but mighty creatures may seem pesky, yet many insects have very important jobs. Preschoolers love to learn about all of the creepy crawlies around them. From metamorphosis, to pollination, and even learning that they outnumber the animal population, there are so many fun facts to learn about insects. Here are some fabulous resources for planning your preschool insect theme. Most of these insect theme preschool activities activities are designed for kids ages 3 through 5, but many can be modified for younger and older kids as well.
Planning Guide for Your Insect Theme Preschool Activities
WHY IT’S FUN
Kids love to get eye level with new creatures and explore their worlds. The world of insects allows for just that as they are found on the ground, trees, shrubs, flowers, and in the air. They’re fun to search for, catch, and identify too!
WHEN TO TEACH AN INSECT THEME
An insect theme is fun to explore as spring approaches and throughout the season. This is when new growth is sprouting up, the weather is warming, and insects are busy buzzing, flying, and working. A preschool bug theme can also be fun well into summer when you can spot lightning bugs.
TEACHING TIPS & MAJOR CONCEPTS KIDS WILL LEARN
If you’re planning a preschool insect theme there are many possibilities for incorporating meaningful early learning skills.
These are just some of the concepts kids can learn about during an insect theme:
- insect classification: six legs and two wings, head, thorax, and abdomen
- bees, ladybugs, butterflies, ants, etc.
- life cycles/metamorphosis
- the roles different insects play in nature
You can also use toy insects or natural materials such as rocks, sticks, or leaves as manipulatives for many learning activities to teach math and literacy concepts.
ITEMS TO COLLECT AND REQUEST IN ADVANCE
If you get parents, friends, and family involved you can enrich the experience kids have during your preschool insect theme.
Collect or ask people to help you collect:
- magnifying glasses
- bug catchers
- glass pebbles and rocks
- play dough
You might even invite special guests (or go visit if you can) to come and share about fields and hobbies related to insect. You could include:
- a bee keeper
PRINTABLE INSECT THEME LESSON PLANS
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set currently includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) Editable Name Bug Activity
2) Counting Insect Parts Diagram and Math Activity
3) Here is the Insect Emergent Reader (3 Variations)
4) Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet and Hand Lens Letter Cards
5) Insect Life Cycle Recording Sheet
6) Insect Counting Puzzles (3 Variations)
7) Insect Patterning Cards
8) Insect Roll and Graph Games (2 Versions)
9) Insect Build A Word Mats
10) Lightning Bug Numbers Counting Activity
11) Insect Size Sorting Activity
12) Insect or Not an Insect Sorting Activity
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
PRINTABLE LADYBUG THEME LESSON PLANS
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers
Need more math activities? Try our ladybug number sense pack.
INDIVIDUAL INSECT ACTIVITY IDEAS ON FANTASTIC FUN AND LEARNING
Here on Fantastic Fun and Learning we’ve shared the following ideas to go along with a preschool insect theme.
Bug Theme Sensory and Art Activities
Invite children to create an insect small world or simply use hands-on imagination with this insect play dough activity.
Create a beautiful butterfly garden of your own with this hands-on butterfly play dough invitation.
This caterpillar rainbow play dough activity is a fun hands-on approach to learning colors.
Kids will love to get creative and create giant bug art with this open-ended art invitation.
Ditch the paintbrushes and try water balloons and cotton swabs instead with this ladybug painting activity.
This insect craft transforms the letter I into an insect as kids learn about the body parts of an insect and how many legs and wings they have too!
This simple butterfly craft will encourage creativity as kids watch their paper butterflies come to life.
Kids will love watching the colors transform on their butterfly and learn about symmetry at the same time with this tissue paper butterfly art project.
Take a butterfly along with you wherever you go with this butterfly ring craft.
Combine nature with crafting and make a beautiful butterfly flower craft using flower petals and stems to decorate.
Insect Theme Math and Literacy Activities
Work on one-to-one correspondence, counting, and number recognition as you have fun “feeding” this caterpillar.
Engage in some hands-on sensory learning as you count, sort, and even create patterns with this caterpillar sensory math bin.
Practice counting, one-to-one correspondence, comparing and even simple addition with this hands-on ladybug math activity.
This caterpillar name recognition activity is fun for little ones as they hunt for the eggs first, then assemble them to represent their name as a caterpillar!
Check out how we housed our very own caterpillars and watched them turn into butterflies!
MORE ACTIVITIES FROM CREATIVE EDUCATORS
Try one of these delicious and healthy bug snacks that are sure to be a hit at snack time!
Looking to explore ladybugs? Check out these fun hands-on ladybug activities.
Here is a wonderful resource for exploring butterflies with toddlers and preschoolers, from finger plays to sensory bins, songs and more!
INFORMATIONAL YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Learn all about insects as you watch real videos of them in their habitats.
This video from Sci Show Kids discusses the many species of insects and their value to the earth.
Bill Nye the Science Guy explains the classification and features of insects.
Learn more about how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
This time-lapsed video shows the amazing metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly!
Learn more about bees and their very important job.
Sing along with Dr. Jean as you learn the parts of an insect. Sung to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
This Bug ‘n Roll song has great graphics and catchy lyrics as you sing about different types of insects.
Watch Elmo sing Little Butterfly Friend.
Sing along to The Ants Go Marching One by One.
Jack Hartmann sings a catchy song to teach all about the life cycle of a butterfly.
OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES
Finger plays and action rhymes are a great addition to your preschool themes. Here are a few terrific options to go along with an insect theme.
Teaching Mama has a fun and interactive finger play and action rhyme called 5 Little Lady Bugs. Children will be introduced to basic subtraction and the concept of “one less.” They even have instructions on how to create your own lady bug finger puppets.
Check out this wonderful resource of many caterpillar and butterfly finger plays and action rhymes from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
Pretend you’ve caught a bumble bee with this fun and classic Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee finger play.
If you’d like to supplement your hands-on learning with some online games you might try:
Pest World for Kids has a huge collection of fun online insect games for kids. You can play games, get craft ideas, watch videos, and read eBooks!
Join Curious George and PBS Kids with this bug catcher online game.
Primary Games has lots of insect games for kids that include memory, matching, puzzles, and more!
FAVORITE INSECT BOOKS
There are a ton of wonderful books to read for your insect theme. Below are some of our favorite picture books for a preschool insect theme.
Bring insects to life with real photographs and nonfiction texts.
OTHER PROPS AND TEACHING TOOLS
Reinforce learning with these hands-on materials for your insect theme. They can be used for sensory bins, crafts, and learning activities.
This ladybug math game is a fun way to work on learning “one more or one less” and use fine motor skills.
Incorporate math into counting caterpillar eggs with this free caterpillar counting mat.
Create a lady bug sensory bin and add in these printable lady bug literacy puzzles to practice matching upper and lower case letters.
Explore the butterfly life cycle up close and personal with this life cycle sensory bottle activity. Print out the free labels too!
Learn to show the numbers zero to ten in different ways with these free printable counting mats.
Use ladybug manipulatives for these fun ladybug number sense math activities.
POSSIBLE FIELD TRIPS OR ADVENTURES
- a butterfly farm
- plant a butterfly garden
- go on a bug scavenger hunt
As you wrap up your preschool insect theme take note of what the kids were most interested in throughout the theme. Continue on by investigating one of those concepts more in depth. Below are some possible suggestions. Themes we have printable lesson plans for include links after them.
- Worms-lesson plans available for home preschool and preschool classrooms.
- Trees-lesson plans available for home preschool and preschool classrooms.
- Seeds-lesson plans available for home preschool and preschool classrooms.
- Spring-preschool lesson plans available.