Find and Count Bug Hunt

find & count bug hunt nature activity

Math and science all together is my kind of activity, but when it’s fun it’s even better. We have all been a little cranky around here and when that happens one of the best ways to shake off the fuss is to go outside! So I made a quick check list and we were off to find creepy crawlers and tally up what we found!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clip board, a marker and a piece of paper. If you want grab a magnifying glass and a plastic jar if you want to collect what you find.Find and Count Bug Hunt
  2. Make a simple check list with bugs you normally find in your yard. It’s okay if you don’t find some of the things on your list but if you come up completely empty handed that would be a huge bummer. So take their suggestions but fill in some gaps if all they suggest are lions, and tigers and bears! Unless you have those in your yard. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  3. We drew pictures as well as spelled out the words.
  4. Out you go! Start searching!

    Find and Count Bug Hunt

  5. Make little check marks for the bugs/ creatures you find. We took turns. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  6. Here he is counting and yelling out the number of ants he saw and I tallied them. ( which reminds me I need some Dr.Bronner’s to get rid of said ants). Find and Count Bug Hunt
  7. He’s pointing to the  snake we found! Find and Count Bug Hunt 010
  8. Together count up your discoveries. Find and Count Bug Hunt

The best learning for young children are experiences they can do, and if they are resistant to something at the table, get outside ! You will both be happier and the lesson whatever it is will make a much larger impact than anything you had to force or cajole!Find and Count Bug Hunt

Bug Books!

Ant's Day Off

An Ant’s Day Off by Bonny Becker is an interesting tale about an ant who has lived his whole life never seeing the sky , or anything beyond the tunnels he works in until one day he decides to take the day off. The text was a little long for my son who kept flip flopping on my bed, but he didn’t want me to close the book either. The story was solid though, my favorite part was when he tried to return to his tunnel and the guard he expected to give him heck, was supportive and even shared that he too has taken a day off.

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is one of my favorites and I am a little shocked this is the first time I have reviewed it here. The story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t!  Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too!  Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.

The Gentleman Bug

The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector is a story about a bug but not just any bug a proper gentleman one who lives in the Garden, the Garden being a bug version of London. One day a lady bug comes to town and he is smitten. He tries to get her attention but falls flat. As it turns out though they do have something in common, a love of books and that brings them together in the end.  I liked the details of this book, the illustrations were wonderful and the map of the garden in the inside cover was awesome but the story fell a little flat.  I am eager to read the author’s other works though because I think there was potential it just wasn’t quite a home run.

Need more bug themed activities?
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Squeeze Painting Hot Dog Craft

hot dog squeeze painting

I am not a big meat eater, but somehow my son is a huge carnivore. He has recently discovered hot dogs and I feel like it may be the end of healthy eating as I once knew it. That or I’ll go broke buying the organic nitrate free ones! Either way I explained we were taking a break from eating hot dogs but that we could make one for art time today. Here is what we did! Squeezing the paint is great for hand strength which is a building block for handwriting.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a brown paper grocery bag ( or other paper) , a brown or black marker, some glue, red and yellow paint, scissors and ketchup and mustard containers. You could use real ones but the beauty of these are that they are solid , washable and kids can’t see that there is only a tiny bit of paint in them. Since there is so little the mess will be manageable.
  2. Pour the red paint into the ketchup bottle and yellow into the mustard. I thinned it out a little.
  3. Cut off a large piece from your grocery bag, and draw a bun and a sausage.
  4. Cut them apart.
  5. Glue the sausage to the bun.
  6. Add your condiments. Ignore my impromptu strap in the picture!
  7. Let dry and cut out.

Song


I’m a little hot dog
here’s my bun
Put me on the grill
until I’m doneAdd some mustard
and ketchup
take a big bite
and gobble me up!Book

“Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” by Judi and Ron Barrett has long been a favorite. This book has a special place in my heart that also houses Corduroy and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day! This book will take you to another dimension in the way that is usually reserved for longer books or movies. In just a few pages you will dive into the land of Chewandswallow and it’s magical weather. See Chewandswallow is a place where the food falls from the sky. Instead of rain or snow they get hot dogs and a drizzle of soda, or peas and carrots! Things started going wrong in Chewandswallow though and the weather went nuts! I love asking children what food they wished fell from the sky and why after reading this book. Kids love this story and I was thrilled to see a poster for it at the movie theater, they have made a film and it will be released this fall.

Spray Painting!

Outside Art!

Small spray bottles are a great water toy, I picked these up for 99 cents each and they are perfect. For days we’ve been having a heat wave, and have been playing with these in between running through the sprinkler and blowing bubbles. Today we added some paint and had a blast.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper, some small spray bottles, liquid washable paint and masking tape.
  2. Pour some paint into the spray bottles , add water and shake. You will want to use dark colors, because the water dilutes it .
  3. Tape your paper to your fence.
  4. Start spraying! Your child will have fun but is also giving their pincer grasp a great workout. We had fun spraying it up close , and far away. Older kids can try to make a picture or have fun watching the drips like we did.

Nature Color Hunt

This is so simple to make, and can be used over and over again. Learning colors in a book or while using paints isn’t bad, but when you are able to go outside and find colors in the natural world there is a spark! I was overjoyed to see my son yell “Look mama flower is yellow”. I love bridging learning from inside to outside and incorporating all different ways to learn into one activity.

  1. Gather your materials. We used a baby food freezer tray but an ice cube tray, or egg carton among other things would work well. Also scissors and a color of foam ( can you tell I bought a big thing of foam a few weeks ago?) or construction paper for each section. A backyard, beach, park…
  2. Cut your foam/paper into pieces small enough to line the bottom of the tray/carton. For younger kids choose colors that you kn0w they have a chance of finding a match. You don’t want it to be too easy , but too much of a challenge just frustrates everyone. If a child is frustrated they won’t learn, our goal is to challenge and learn!
  3. Head outside – my son couldn’t wait to get outside so as you can see he’s as per usual in his pjs!
  4. Start finding things to match. Start off by choosing a color with your child and both go looking, if they have a hard time finding a match find one, and go to it but don’t announce you have found it. Say something like “Hey Bug I think there is a match over here, can you find it” narrow down the are for them, if they still can’t pick up the object and have them match it in the tray.
  5. Continue working together or if they want to work all alone, watch your child explore and make connections, that is exciting and fun too!
  6. After you have made all your matches, talk about what you have found- how it feels what it does ( rock lines a path for us to walk on, a flower provides pollen for bees etc…).

Books!

These books aren’t related to the activity at all, they are just some books that caught my eye at the library and I was eager to share!

“19 Girls And Me” by Darcy Pattison fell short of my expectations which I admit were high. The overall message was great, that boys and girls don’t need to be labeled “tomboys” or “sissies” just friends. The adventures the kids get into are great too. What I didn’t like was that every adventure was suggested by the lone boy. Why couldn’t he take the backseat? There were 19 girls you’d think one of them would have a suggestion. In the author’s defense the girls did suggest things part way through each adventure but I resented that he was always the ring leader.

“Scaredy Squirrel : at the beach” by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

“Bernard : The Angry Rooster” by Mary Wormell was a huge disappointment to me. Bernard is proud and when a rooster weather vane is put up on the roof of the barn he is jealous and takes out his anger on everyone he encounters. Here is my issue with this book.I like that the author is writing about anger, I think it’s essential we talk about that with toddlers and kids. What made me feel disappointed was that although people ask him why he is angry , and an adult can see through the illustrations that the weather vane is being put up and he is looking at it, it’s not obvious to a child. I had to really look to notice it. No one takes Bernard on saying his behavior is not acceptable or demands he explain why he hurt others. I want to label and recognize my child’s anger but it alone is not an excuse of bad behavior and that was the feeling I was left with after reading this book. My son just kept saying “Mean rooster!” I explained he was jealous and angry but I wish the book had explained it more as well.

Five Senses: Sound Safari

five senses activity sound
I had no clue how well this sound safari would work with my 23 month old, I have done it with 3- 5 year olds in the past but never with toddlers. It was a huge hit. He understood the chart and that we were listening to for the things listed and got very excited to earn each star. We chose to go for a walk in our neighborhood but you can do this inside or in your backyard as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, plain paper, markers, a ruler, scissors, stickers and glue or double stick tape.sound map edit
  2. Make a simple chart , one space for the sound you are searching for and a small box for a sticker or a check mark.
  3. Add things you hear often around your neighborhood or where ever you will be listening. We did sirens, dogs barking, birds, cars, etc…sound
  4. Tape or glue the paper on the construction paper and head off on your walk.
  5. I gave the chart to my son and told him we were looking for all those sounds, we talked about hearing things, and although he was quite convinced we hear with our eyes, he still got it.sound activity for kids
  6. I helped start things off my closing the garage door and asking him what he heard. when he said the garage door , I asked him to look on his chart to see if that was on it. When it was we got a sticker and put it in the box.sound safari

The next up was our neighbor’s barking dogs! sound lesson for kidsThen birds… we were only a few hundred feet from our door and we already had half the items on our safari.As we kept walking we found more and my son pointed out ones we didn’t have like the lawnmowers the gardeners were using. That tickled me because that was the point of this whole exercise to learn about using our ears to hear and identify sounds. These were our final safari findings:

sound safari for toddlers