Science/Nature Center Idea
My kids love bugs! We often go out to hunt and collect bugs. I have nets and containers with magnifying glasses on them so we study them. I also set up a center with small jars (baby food) containing dead bugs. Sounds kinda gory, but over the years I have found a really neat collection of critters, such as dragonflies, large mosquitoes, bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, large crickets, etc. I have magnifying glasses, plastic bugs, bug houses with live critters, etc. They love it!
Try putting a container of crickets in the science center. Discuss with the children how the crickets make sound by rubbing their legs together. It makes for an interesting noise in the room.
Create a learning center that the children can investigate with minimum adult supervision! First, create a backboard using a large cardboard box. Keep three sides of the box and glue grass clippings to it. Also, stick a small tree branch to it (this will create the habitat of many insects.) On a table in front of the box, have jars/containers of insects (that don’t bite). Ensure each jar has the lid taped securely. The insects could be collected on a “Bug Hut” with the children. Next, devise some activity sheets for children to closely investigate the insects. Other resources such as magnifying glasses, books (factual and fiction) of various levels and headphones (for those who cannot read) should be available, as well as numerous art pieces for children to create their own insects. Remember to associate a noise level and rules to the learning center.
The children will benefit from the freedom and discovery of learning.
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 them like a fan. The legs should be very long, so when you add the to the spider, they can go in different directions over the BB. Add a very happy face, such as the one in the book “Roly Poly Spider.” At the end of each leg, add something about a spider (for example: spiders have 8 legs, spider webs are sticky, etc.) The children will love the spiders and learning about them. During their play time, you can mention some of the “Spider Talk.” Have fun!
Go on a “bug walk.” Take a camera (digital works best, if your school has one. Have all of the children search for bugs. Take pictures of what you find. Then make a class book out of the pictures. Discuss what you saw.
Have the children glue small pompoms on an old-fashioned clothespin. Then have the children put them in a small paper bag, which would be the cocoon. The children leave the “cocoons” at school overnight. At circle time, talk about how caterpillars turn into butterflies. Tell the children that in the morning, when they come back to school, their caterpillars might be butterflies. After class, glue pre-cut wings to each child’s caterpillar and return them to the bag. The children love it and it is a great visual for learning.