Monday, May 13, 2019

Bug Week

We got our ladybug kit from Insect Lore and continue to watch the larvae turn into ladybugs. Harrison (the middle mini) also got use of his bug playground. He and a friend went into the front yard one afternoon after school and caught a few boxelder bugs. Surprisingly, those bugs are still alive. The kids love "getting the bugs down" (they're not allowed to pick the bugs up, so I put them down on the table for the kids to get a closer look multiple times a day) and watching them crawl around. The middle mini is also the one in charge of feeding the bugs in the afternoons. We had a few close calls, but no bugs have gotten loose in the house (so far).

Here's the deal: I plan activities/themes/programming for both daycare and the Des Moines Children's Museum. Many times you see themes, such as bug week, coincide because, why not make things easier on myself? Bug Week at daycare was a success! The kids had fun with it, although we weren't able to go outdoors and "hunt" for bugs due to cold and rainy weather. However, we saved all of our bug catching supplies for summer, so I see many days in the backyard putting the nets and bug playgrounds to use.

Our essentials for the week: bug figurines, a bug sorting kit, ladybugs, bug books, and plenty of sensory activities to go along with it.

I had hoped to find a play beehive or make one using paper. Neither worked out, so I set up a building station where kids could build there own beehives using waffle blocks. The preschoolers enjoyed "making homes for the bees" all week long. The hardest part was leaving the bees and blocks on the table during clean up time.....because not putting it away on a shelf or in it's box meant it wasn't really clean! At least I know they know how to clean up well!

Our bug sorting kit is always popular (many times they pull it out and play it like a game at the table). I love making it difficult and putting the bugs in black beans, hiding them/burying them, and then the kids use the scoops to find them all. The ants take them the longest to find because they blend it so well with the black beans! This one can keep four kids busy all day!

Bug printing with homemade play dough was a favorite and turned into two days of sensory fun. The activity started as bug printing, but ended with the kids hiding the bugs in balls of play dough and then digging for them in the play dough or by "having them make their escape," which means smashing the ball of dough until the bugs are free.

Even the baby got into bug week by having bug books read to him by the older kids.

Hand print spiders for our craft. No one was big on the black paint used because it was hard to get off of their hands (or so they said).

I thought baking soda "snow" and bugs would be the hit sensory activity for the week. It wasn't, but the kids did get in about a half hour of digging through the "snow" to find the buried bugs. When they were done digging, I re-buried the bugs and got out vinegar and droppers. The idea was for the kids to use the vinegar to "melt" away the baking soda. They were kind of into and kind of be fair, we've done a lot with baking soda and vinegar in the past so it's nothing new to them.

We played a few (hundred) rounds of find the lady bug. It's your typical kids hide their eyes in the living room while I (or a big kid if they're around) hide a random thing (this time it was a ladybug because, hello, bug week), then the kids come rushing in to find it. The kids LOVE this game and constantly ask to play it.

The school age kids spent some time collecting bugs. While they were out there collecting bugs/shooting hoops, I heard panicked cries. I rushed out and they exclaimed a baby bird fell from the tree. Well, not only did it fall, but it fell while in its egg and plopped out of the egg when it hit the ground. I scooped the (now dead) baby bird up and put it in the trash and tried to wipe up the egg remnants as best I could. The boys drew where the baby bird landed to commemorate. 

I once did theme days, but those seem to move a bit too fast for the group of kiddos I have. They like to take their time and play with things. Theme weeks seem to be the way to go, plus it's much less pressure on myself! I'll likely continue to do theme weeks instead of days through the summer. Up next is flowers week, ice cream week, and building week.