Much to the dismay of their mothers, toddlers hold a relentless fascination for bugs. They follow, squish, catch and even eat them! Perhaps the novelty lies in the never-ending variety of creepy crawlers or that bugs are smaller than these little ones. Here are some simple buggy fun activities that will enchant your children this summer.
Make a Bug Catcher
Save the net from your fresh produce. Lace a chenille wire around the top to support the sides. The net makes a tiny bug catcher for your child. Always help identify any bugs that might be dangerous. Catch, observe and release.
Make a Butterfly or Dragonfly
Attach colored tissue paper wings to a toilet tissue or paper towel tube for wings. Slip a hair band over the tube and place on toddler’s wrist to flap and fly.
For more advanced work, drop food color onto a wet coffee filter. Allow to dry and use for wings. Two filters for dragonfly and one for butterfly.
Make a Bug Costume
Fashion antennae with chenille wire and attach to your child’s head with clips. Gather a sheet of tissue paper at the center. Duct tape to the back of the shirt for butterfly wings. Fly away little butterfly!
Cocoon Your Tot
Give your toddler the end piece of a roll of toilet tissue. Have him gently spin to wrap the paper around and around forming a cocoon. If the paper breaks, just tuck the loose end in and begin again. Continue as your child is comfortable (most won’t let you cover the face). Count 1, 2, 3 and have your butterfly “hatch out” and fly away.
Make a Lady Bug
Make a tiny ladybug from the cup of an egg carton. Cut the section. Paint red and add black dots. Tape twisted bits of paper on for antennae. For a counting activity: make five bugs and draw 1 spot, 2 spots etc. on the five bugs. Count the spots and the bugs.
Make a Caterpillar
Cut a six-section length from an egg carton. Your toddler can glue cotton balls on each section for “fuzz.” Draw a face on one end of the section and add chenille or paper antennae. Punch a hole in the front and tie a string on to “walk your bug.” For more advanced work, paint each section of the caterpillar yellow or even a rainbow.
Create a Bug Collage
Draw (or print from a website) several bugs on paper. Make a simple paste of flour and water. Your tot can glue on dry rice, macaroni, bits of colored paper and/or cake sprinkles to decorate the bugs.
Put Bugs in a Tub
Pour 6 cups of dry rice into a large flat container. Add toy plastic bugs (or your ladybugs), measuring cups, recycled plastic containers, paper tubes and play as in a sand box. To protect the floor and give your activity a boundary, place the tub in the center of a sheet or shower curtain. Your child will play for hours.
Several suppliers will provide you with caterpillars to raise into butterflies. Over a month, your child will get to watch their caterpillars grow, turn into chrysalides, and then hatch into butterflies. Caterpillars are easy to raise and butterflies can be released after they’ve hatched.