Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Have you caught your breath yet from the past weekend?
Summer is certainly gearing up in our neck of the woods and we are loving it!
Speaking of summer, did you check out last week’s post, Welcome to Summer?
It was FILLED with ideas for ways to spend those long summer days with your Littles
and, for us, that means our grandkids!
Laura just returned from 10 days of helping Daughter J and SIL,
providing childcare for her sweet Little L
while her mama finished out the school year!
Laura brought her Gramma goody bag with her and often relied on past blog post ideas,
including our Household Happies ones… they were a big hit!
Check out our posts below if interested in learning more!
Such simple materials but highly engaging for Little L!
This week we are celebrating our first theme of the SUMMER…
As the weather warms up, the creepy crawlers are coming out!
We’re ready to get creative with this theme
by sharing ideas to use with Littles of all ages!
Summertime is the perfect time to explore the world of insects!
If you’ll be spending time with your Littles,
you’re sure to find easy activities to do with them!
Most kiddos are fascinated when watching and touching
these tiny critters that crawl and fly!
Others (including some adults) are nervous and/or fearful of these creatures!
By now, you all know how much we love a good teachable moment!
As we observe and interact with real bugs
we have the opportunity to calm our Little’s fears
and to model how to react when we see one!
Most bugs we see (especially here in Minnesota) cannot hurt us.
In fact, many help our world!
They all play a part in the food cycle of our planet
and nature will take care of what our wildlife needs!
Our Littles learn by watching us!
We’ve definitely each had our "yikes!" moments internally
when holding insects while sharing them with the Littles around us!
But… it’s so important that on the outside we model for little ones
how interesting and truly fascinating each creature is!
We can teach our Littles to watch insects closely,
(it's fun to use a magnifying glass, too)
we can show them how to scoop them up gently
(after all, we’re GIANTS to those little bugs)
and then observe silently to see what happens next!
What a gift for everyone
to share these experiences with our Littles...
providing meaningful opportunities to model compassion,
especially when that urge to squash or step on a tiny bug strikes!
Check out the FUN and fabulous buggy-themed activities below…
scroll through for ideas that focus on your Littles’ ages and interests!
Laura and Little L (who is now 17 months old) had fun with these first three activities and while Little L is no longer an infant, per se, all of these ideas could be used with babies during tummy time, at the high chair or while on your lap! Your crawling Littles and beginning walkers will be just as engaged, too!
NOTE: Here’s a link to the plastic bugs Laura has - they aren’t necessarily realistic but they are colorful and work well for our smallest Littles!
🐞 SENSORY PLAY!
One of the easiest activities for babies is to set out a bowl of plastic bugs, and just let them explore them. The legs, wings, antennae will all provide different sensory fun for them.
For older infants/toddlers (like Little L) you could also add some green paper shreds (or newspaper shreds) to a bin and hide the insects in there!
🐞 CATCH THE BUG!
Your crawling or walking Littles will be delighted with this activity and your stationary ones will have fun tracking the bug! Tie a string around your plastic bug and let your infant/early toddler Littles watch it creep around the floor! Little L had fun walking the bug and then chasing it, too!
🐞 CREEPY CRAWLIE PEEK-A-BOO!
We had fun with this game, too, and while Little L is now 17 months old, this game would also be appropriate for any Little able to sit up! Laura hid an insect under the pop-it toy for Little L to find… over and over again! Lots of giggles!
🐞 FINGER PLAYS & SONGS!
Anything musical or rhythmic is always a favorite with our littlest Littles! Laura copied some clipart pictures she found online (yay to screenshots!) and then printed off a copy, cut them out and taped one to the end of each popsicle stick. Your Littles will love tracking the puppets and/or holding them themselves… just be careful of fingers that scrunch up all your hard work!
Distance Grandparents… This would be a great activity to do online with your Littles! You could hold the finger puppets in front of the screen while you sing (or the song plays) OR your Littles could have the finger puppets on their end of the call!
Here are a few of our favorite finger plays/songs!
Five Little Ladybugs (author unknown)
Five little Ladybugs climbing up a door One Flew away then there were four Four Little ladybugs sitting on a tree One flew away then there were three Three little ladybugs landed on a shoe One flew away and then there were two Two little ladybugs looking for some fun One flew away and then there was one One little ladybug sitting in the sun She flew away and then there were none
Butterfly, Ladybug, Bumble Bee (from Super Simple Songs)
Do you remember The Ants Go Marching? Littles always enjoyed this rhyming one… and older kiddos will love acting it out!
🐝 SEE THOSE BUGS!
Real creepy crawlers are so fascinating! Laura's Little L had a bit of trouble finding them on the sidewalk so we put a piece of moist paper towel on a cookie sheet and then added some dirt from the garden and spread it out. Then we watched! Soon the ants and a few other bugs appeared, moving quickly across the paper towels! Laura had a magnifying glass available but Little L only wanted to use it to push the soil! Older kiddos would totally get into it!
🐝 FINGERPRINT BUGS!
Your Littles will love getting messy as they make these creepy crawlies!
1. Use a washable stamp pad or washable paint. Have your Little dip a finger in the color and stamp their finger across the paper.
NOTE: As an almost-2 year old, Laurie's Little D was more interested in the whole-hand experience, rather than just the fingertip! 😍
2. You can help your Little finish up the fingerprint bug by adding different parts to the bug. Older toddlers could draw their own details
🐝 PAINTING WITH BUGS!
Put out a plate of paint, lay out some plastic bugs and encourage your Little to use them for painting! The different types of bugs make interesting shapes textures and lines on the paper! Little D was so intrigued!
🐝 WHERE'S THE BUGGY? REINFORCING BODY PARTS!
Let your Little select a plastic bug and encourage them to put it on different body parts - their head, or their foot and so on.
You can also encourage this skill by singing the following song together!
A Fly is on My Toe (original author unknown)
Sung to Farmer in the Dell A fly is on my toe, A fly is on my toe, Hi-ho, just watch me blow. A fly is on my toe
Other Verses: A fly is on my nose, my head, my ear, my elbow, my knee, and so on,
NOTE: You can also change the song to reflect which bug your Little is holding... a bee, an ant, a beetle or whatever.
As kids get older, looking at real insects will hold a lot of appeal!
Read on for more ideas for these older ages!
🪲 A BUG BUFFET!
Have you ever gone through a buffet line and been overwhelmed by all your choices? What do you choose? Maybe that’s the same way with bugs! We took a deviled egg container (however - any shallow tray would work fine!) and looked through our kitchens and picked out 6 different types of food. We used crackers, butterscotch chips, almonds, an orange, cheese and honey, but any would do!
The popsicle sticks are there because it was decided the smaller bugs
might need help climbing onto the tray! 😊
A Grand Tip: Think - what might bugs like??
We arranged the food in the tray and took the filled tray outside. Encourage your Littles to predict what they think the bugs would enjoy most. Set your timer and leave the tray. Then make occasional visits throughout the day, checking on the food and what’s happening around each!. Keep track of the most popular food!
🐜 A BUG PLAYGROUND!
This was a kindergarten favorite for the last week of school. Laurie gave it a try with the Littles in her family!
Making the Bug Playgrounds!
1. Set out scrap paper, glue, tape and scissors. Demonstrate how to make a loop or tent by folding and twisting the paper and then let your Littles create a “playground” for the bugs! Encourage them to fold, twist, cut, curl to make dramatic feats for the bugs to try!
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) at its best!
Our younger Littles were happy after one page was completed. They also needed help with the taping and gluing. But the older Littles really took to this. As you can see, their playgrounds kept growing and growing!
The finished playgrounds!
Recess Time for the Bugs!
1. Take your playgrounds outside, and spray them lightly with sugar water.
2. Sprinkle some crackers or bread crumbs on the playground.
3. Time to be patient... wait and observe!
A Grand Tip!
It’s probably is best to leave and check on your playground
every 30 minutes or so.
It may take awhile to attract the bugs!
Also try to place your creation where you know
bugs tend to gather around your house - a sidewalk, patio, or garden!
🪲 A BEE WATER FOUNTAIN!
Laurie was at a community Arbor Day Walk and they had this “craft” set up for kids to complete for their backyards. Even though many Littles are afraid of bees, this is a wonderful way to teach your Littles how to care for nature with care and compassion.
DID YOU KNOW…
Bees get thirsty, just like humans! They need a source of water to stay healthy and safe. Not only do bees drink the water, but they also use it for:
Air conditioning - During hot days, bees will spread a thin film of water over the baby bee cells. The water will evaporate, cooling the hive.
Feeding baby bees - Nurse bees feed developing larvae (aka baby bees) a diet of water, pollen, nectar, and royal jelly. This diet can be up to 80% water on the first day!
Diluting honey - Bees eat their own honey. Sometimes, the honey will crystallize or get too thick. When this happens, bees use water to dilute the honey and make it drinkable again.
Here’s how to make your own water fountain for the bees!
1. Take a shallow dish such as a flower pot saucer, a kitchen dish or even a frisbee.
2. If you have an artistic Little, let him/her decorate the edges with outdoor acrylic paint.
3. Grab some pebbles, marbles or glass pebbles and put them in the dish.
Remember - bees can’t swim, so if you want to keep them safe you need to add pebbles to give them extra places to stand.
4. Fill the dish with a few ounces of water. Continue to empty and fill to keep the water fresh.
For those older Littles - our tweens,
we’ve found these fun resources for you to consider…
science, cooking and arts and crafts that all celebrate creepy crawlies!
from Teach Beside Me
Have you ever heard of a water strider? It is an insect that actually walks on the water! Try creating your own little water striders. as you learn about surface tension with water!
from Welcome to Nanas
Make a bug box with your Little(s) and use it to identify those bugs and observe them more closely!
from Fantastic Fun & Learning
Your older Littles will have fun recreating these simple snacks on their own!
from Art Projects for Kids
Save your old food magazines for this bug collage project. The shiny and colorful fruit, for example, has a whole new look when viewed as bug parts!
We hope our Going Buggy! post has inspired you and your Littles
to head outside and take a close look at your surroundings!
The world of bugs is an amazing one… ENJOY!
During the summer, we are only publishing one blog post each week!
In fact, this week we plan to share a few Father’s Day gift ideas
as well as additional content about some of our favorite creepy crawlers!
Do you and your Little know the story of
The Hungry Caterpillar?
Be sure to stop by these sites during the week to check out our ongoing ideas!
And you can always find us on Pinterest where we’ve linked
many of the posts featured here!
Please come back here next Tuesday, June 20, when we focus on
Fairy Tale Fun!
Then, in the weeks that follow, we'll share the themes outlined below!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
We appreciate YOU ALL!
❤️ We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week: