We love bugs and during the summer spend many late afternoons flipping over rocks and seeing what creepy crawlies scurry past. This activity is a great one for families with different abilities and ages because it’s the same supplies but everyone can participate. Of course, my son had an elaborate story about an evil spider and super bee to go along with the bug painting but my daughter was content with the simple task of making a mess.
- Gather your materials. You will need some plastic bugs, our little ones are from Lakeshore Learning and our big ones are from Dollar Tree. You will also need some paper, a plate, and paint.
- For young toddlers, I would also suggest some painter’s tape to hold down the paper so they don’t make an even more amazingly big mess!
- Start by pouring the paint in the plate.
- Dip your bug in and make some prints.
- My daughter was skeptical at first.
- My son not so much.
- I thought the big bugs would be sought after but both of them liked painting with the smaller ones best I think. This also let me sneak in a little exploration about big and little for my daughter.
- As well as allowing her to touch and explore the bugs we shelter her from in the garden.
- I also unintentionally let her explore cause and effect when she grabbed her gleaming white headband with a paint-covered hand. Ooops. Still a few girly things to adjust to.
Books to Read While Bug Painting
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.
Buzz by Eileen Spinelli is a really sweet tale about a little bee who loves everything about being a bee, especially flying! When she finds out that bees should actually not be able to fly her confidence in herself and her favorite thing about being a bee is lost. Luckily that is not where this adorable tale ends and your children will love it. My son came running into the kitchen where I was reading this to my daughter who screamed at me until I let her hold the book so she could touch the adorable little bee.
I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction but I would consider it as nonfiction, as it really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/ young preschoolers. It is really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up, but it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under 3 crowd, and useful for older kids too!