Toby has been itching to use his science kit (received as a gift from one of his creative aunts!). So I thought a good way to kick things off would be to learn about bugs! No, not real bugs (like when we captured a praying mantis, or when we observed butterflies, or even like our outdoor photo scavenger hunt.
No, this activity would be indoors (it’s winter here), and with preserved specimens. I was actually excited for Toby to start examining the bugs, as my father spent his childhood years collecting and preserving many different insects, and as a child, I loved looking at all the different bugs that had been carefully captured, labeled, and mounted on pin heads.
Science Kit Components
The science kit included the following (#afflinks), and will be the perfect compliment to the critter house #afflink that we got Toby!
- Geo World Bugs Collection of 12 Real Insects
- Multi tool with compass, binoculars, signal mirror
- kids’ safety goggles
- pad of paper
- bristle brush
Other things we might add to the box?
- 6-in-1 field tool set
- pop up port-a-bug
- break open geodes kit
- toy Swiss army knife (a real one for older kids)
- butterfly life cycle set
I’m going to let pictures tell most of the story. But, in short, I let my toddler lead this open-ended activity.
What did we do to learn about bugs?
Look at bugs up close.
We looked at the bugs under a magnifying glass, examining their eyes, legs, and bodies. Toby noticed that some bugs had larger eyes than others, so we talked about the reasons for that, given the nature of the particular bug.
Shine lights through the bugs.
Some of the bugs had translucent parts, while others did not. Toby liked looking at the wings, and the tiny hairs that some of the bugs had on their bodies.
Stack and count the “bug blocks.”
What toddler wouldn’t want to play with the acrylic blocks as a building toy? Toby had fun organizing them and counting… we have been working on addition skills lately so we did some simple math problems (i.e. 3 bugs + 4 bugs = 7 bugs).
Trace outlines of bugs onto paper.
While we both enjoyed this part of our activity, Toby asked me to trace at least one bug’s shadow, since his fine motor skills aren’t quite as good as mine. But he enjoyed practicing.
Examine bug anatomy.
We discussed the anatomy of a bug, complete with diagrams and arrows, conveniently added to the bug outlines we’d made earlier. I kept the anatomy simple, but we could have gone into more detail if Toby’s interest hadn’t waned: abdomen, thorax, and head.
Make a bug puzzle.
This activity went on the back burner for another day, but there are plenty of bug coloring pages out there on the internet — I’d planned to print one out and make a puzzle like the puzzle we made of Martin Luther and his wife.
See how we learned about bugs…
And no, the photo gallery I promised you. Toby had a great time, and was perhaps a little too entralled with his flashlight. That being said, the photos will give you a better idea of how we did the activities mentioned above.
Click on any image below to enter gallery view mode.
This post is part of the A-Z STEM Series (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for Kids.
Throughout January, many wonderful bloggers are working their way through the alphabet of great kids STEM activities perfect for home or school.
These kids STEM activities will be specifically geared for preschool through early elementary ages. Each letter of the alphabet will be represented with a different STEM activity for science, technology, engineering, and math.
By the end of the month, you will have an amazing resource to use with your students and/or children!