If you are a follower of my Instagram page (@thelifeschoolers for anyone who isn’t yet, but would like to), you will have noticed that we have been doing lots of activities and play based learning around the theme of Minibeasts! We took a little break for some farm fun over Easter, but have picked it back up again, so I thought I would do a summary of some of our super simple bug activities so far. Funnily enough, the stomach bug Archie picked up did NOT make it onto the list!
I have been trying to set up a few invitations to play each evening before I go to bed, so there is something to capture the boys’ interests when they first come downstairs and we are caught up in the business of breakfast etc. This means that this list of activities so far is a real mix of independent play activities and ones that I have facilitated a bit more to extend the play further.
So here they are…Our favourite bug activities so far…
1. LADYBIRD SPOTS
Archie (age 4) really loves any activity involving number, so I set up this little number bond challenge for him. He successfully completed all of the ladybird number bonds to 10 and then decided to do his own sums too (40 + 65 for example!) In the photograph, there are a few which he did not draw the spots on. This is because he decided to use some mini counting cubes to place on the ladybirds instead.
Rocco (age 2) enjoyed exploring dots and spots and how to make them with his felt tip pens. He experimented with pressure and speed and noticed the difference between the spots that he had made on the ladybirds.
2. INDOOR BUG HUNT
I have discovered that any little hunt lists are a really good way to encourage reluctant readers. Archie stopped reading to me a few months ago when he was still at school. I think he really felt the pressure to get it right, even though we never piled the pressure on him and I am sure school didn’t either. However, with reading, it can be very obvious to a child whether they are getting it right or not! We have been finding new ways to use words in our day to day lives to encourage him with his reading, but without the pressure that a book can bring. This list worked a treat, as I was able to differentiate the activity for both of the boys to enjoy.
Rocco had to hunt for the matching picture and Archie read the word, in order to work out which minibeast he had to hunt for. This was such a simple activity to set up and one that they both enjoyed together.
3. CATERPILLAR/BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE
This is one of the few activities that we have sat down together to ‘learn’, but the boys, particularly Rocco, did enjoy creating their life cycles together. We looked the the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and watched a YouTube video showing a hyper lapse of the life of a caterpillar from egg to butterfly to learn more before completing this activity. We then discussed what we had noticed, learned the big word ‘metamorphosis’ and created some lovely life cycle pictures together during our discussion. The boys are really proud of the life cycles displayed on the wall in our Family Room!
4. DESIGN A BUG
The boys both really love drawing and colouring at the moment, so I left this super simple activity on their drawing table, with some key vocabulary to encourage Archie’s reading and a book for inspiration. Archie absolutely loved this activity and had designed all of his bugs before I had even made it downstairs!
5. BUTTERPLY COLLAGE
This was supposed to be an activity for the boys to complete together, but Rocco enjoyed it so much that he ended up doing lots of it with Daddy. Archie asked to do a black and red ladybird after, as he was a bit miffed about the butterfly. This is another simple activity, that kept Rocco focused for an extended period of time and encouraged lots of talk about colour, shape, position and butterflies. The finished result is so pretty and Rocco was really chuffed to see it up on the wall when he had finished.
6. PLAY DOUGH BUGS
The scented play dough that I made at Easter was such a hit and was still going strong, so I set up a little bug making invitation to play. The boys loved making all sorts of bugs, including worms, spiders, caterpillars and some of their very own designs. We love play dough activities, as so much learning goes on and yet the boys are having so much fun together!
7. THREADING CATERPILLARS
This lovely little fine motor activity was so quick to set up, but the boys loved it! Threading cheerios onto their caterpillars and then sneakily eating them all off again. This activity encouraged fine motor development, hand eye coordination and lots of discussion and talk around length and quantity.
Of course we have spent lots of time outside finding lots of real minibeasts – particularly worms, centipedes, milipedes, bees and wasps, but this is a list of invitations to play that will hopefully be helpful to others! What are your favourite minibeast activities?
COMING SOON –
We will be designing and building a Minibeast Hotel (Watch this space!)
I will also be publishing a full list of minibeast inspired activities, songs and books on this blog after a poll on my Instagram received a 100% positive feedback saying you would love to see my lists of theme related activities!
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