Click for Resource Room
rainbow kids
Rainbow Resource Room
Click for Activity Central Early childhood  activities, lesson plans and ideas about insects, bugs and fuzzy wuzzy creepy crawlers.  Gayle's Preschool Rainbow is very grateful to Pam S. of Pam's Playground and the many other teachers who generously contribute to this pre-school activity collection.
resource line
Print this Page

Click the Rainbow for The Rainbow Resource Room
Click the Schoolhouse for Activity Central
resource line

There are 5 black & white printable coloring and pattern pages associated with this theme. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

A Spider Web of Facts
Holly O. shares this fun way for children to review the facts that they've learned about spiders.

Materials: Ball of white yarn, large piece of dark bulletin board paper or a dark inexpensive plastic tablecloth and tape.

 Description: Place paper or tablecloth on the floor and have children sit in a  large circle just on the outside of it.  Show the children how to play by taking the ball of yarn and throwing it to another adult.  Have the adult state a fact that was learned about spiders and, holding onto a piece of the yarn, throw the ball to someone sitting in another part of the circle.  That person states a fact, holds onto the yarn and throws the yarn to someone else.
 If possible, have an adult record the facts as they are spoken; if not, memory 
 should be sufficient!  Continue until each person has had a turn.  Have children hold onto their yarn until the teachers can tape it to the paper.  It forms a great spider web.
Holding the paper carefully, put the web on a bulletin board or wall.  Type or write the facts and glue them on the web along with the Itsy Bitsy Spider himself.

Comments: I was amazed at how much the children not only enjoyed participating but also in showing off the web to visitors.  I was also pleased to discover how many facts they remembered!

Literacy: The Itsy Bitsy Spider 
Preschoolers share in the writing of a class big book during this preschool education activity by Holly O.

Materials: The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani, paper, crayons or markers,
construction paper or poster board (large enough for the book covers), book rings (or something else suitable).

Description: Once the children are familiar with the song "The Itsy Bitsy 
Spider", we talk about the waterspout and brainstorm where else the Itsy Bitsy 
Spider might crawl. Optional:  Read The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani to 
 give children ideas; up the kitchen wall, the yellow pail, etc.

Children then draw a picture and write or dictate the words where they think the 
spider will crawl.  If some children have trouble getting an idea; the teachers' 
suggestion that they look around the room seems to be all the encouragement they 
 need.  Teachers then compile the papers into a class big book, making sure that each child's name is written clearly at the top of the page.  The book is now ready to be read and reread!

Comments: I had the children do their work on large paper and then used the copier to shrink it down to 8-1/2" x 11" size to make a copy of the book for each child to take home at the end of the year.  This idea was well received by parents and children alike.  Because the children were so familiar with the song, they were able to "read" the book easily.  The book served as a good reminder of the friends made at preschool.

music and movementWorm Wiggle
Youngsters move like worms to music during this early childhood activity by Jennifer and Marilyn H.

Materials: Music & Earthworms.

Description: Show examples of earthworms and discuss how they move.  Give the children time to talk and hold the worms if they want to.  Children now pretend to be worms and move like them.  Roll, bend, wiggle, etc. Have the children lie on their stomachs, holding their arms at their sides and try to move forward without using their hands or elbows, just like a worm would wiggle. Put on music and go.

Comments: This is really fun to watch.

Worms in Dirt
During this art activity Marilyn H. teaches children that worms live UNDER the ground.

Materials: Spaghetti cooked with brown paint, brown and green construction paper and glue.

Description: Each child receives a whole piece of brown paper and a half sheet of green.  Have the children glue the worms on the brown paper .  Children can cut the green paper to look like grass and glue it to the top of the paper.

Worm Number Puzzle
This teacher made puzzle by Marilyn H. helps youngsters recognize numbers.

Materials: Worm pattern, child safety scissors and a marker for the teacher.

Description: Draw a worm shape.  Copy the shape and divide the copy into 
segments.  Write the numbers 1-10 on the segments.  Children cut the numbered segments and glue to the whole shape finishing the puzzle.
cool cooking ideaCooking: Edible Ants 
Donna H. suggests this tasty snack after a unity of study on ants.

Materials: One graham cracker, several chocolate-covered raisins, re-sealable plastic sandwich bags and plastic spoons.

Description: Your little ones will want to dig into this tasty snack!
Put graham crackers in a sandwich baggie and crush. Put chocolate covered 
raisins (ants) in bottom of a clear cup. Sprinkle the crushed graham crackers over the raisins and enjoy!

Paper Plate Ladybugs
Kristine E. suggests this art and craft activity for your "Bug Theme".

 Materials: Paper plates, watermelon seeds, red paint and black pipe cleaners.

 Description: Give children a paper plate and let them paint it red. Then give 
 them watermelon seeds to glue on to the ladybug for spots. Next, punch a hole for the pipe cleaner and let them thread the pipe cleaner through the hole and make the antennas

Cooking: Strawberry Ladybugs
Try this sweet treat by Lisa C.

Materials: Strawberrys, chocolate, paper and baking cases.

Description: Melt the chocolate in a glass or plasic bowl. Cut each strawberry in half, lenghtways. Invite the children,one at a time, to come and put a spoonful of melted chocolate, with the flat side down. help the children to put some chocolate at the pointed end of the strawberry for the ladybugs head, then a line down the middle for the wings. Help the children to put the chocolate spots on the wings.
Let them set, then enjoy!

Charlotte's Web "Sweet Charlotte Spiders"
Kim D. first reads with children and then cooks with them.

 Materials:  Book, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
 Peanut butter
 powdered sugar
 chow mien noodles

 Description: Read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.   "Charlote's Web" is the story of the endearing friendship of Charlotte, the barn  spider, and Wilbur, the lovable pig.  With the help of Templeton the rat and a  clever plan of their own, Charlotte saves the life of her dear friend.

Bring Charlotte into your classroom by making these sweet spiders.
 1 tablespoon peanut butter
 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
 8 chow mien noodles
 1 tablespoon cocoa

 1.  Sprinkle the cocoa on a paper plate and set aside.
 2.  Mix the peanut butter and the powdered sugar together.
 3.  Form two balls, one for the head of the spider and the other for the body.
 4.  Gently roll the spider in cocoa.
 5.  Use chow mien noodles for the legs.

 1.  The emotions of loneliness, fear, grief, pain, and happiness are woven throughout this book.  Select two of these emotions and write a poem about them.  Compile the poems in a class book.
 2.  Charlotte talks about her spider cousins.  Create a family album for Charlotte.
 3.  Fern can understand the language of the farm animals.  Select three farm animals and research the ways they communicate.
 4.  Fern matures in this book.  Pretend you are the Fern and make three entries in her diary, one from the beginning, one form the middle, and one from the end.

Comments: I know my 4 and 5 year olds can't write, but we adjust the ideas to fit them. 
Lots more cooking experiences are in the Food and Nutrition Theme

Pom Pom Insects
Laura promotes color and body part recognition as she encourages children to use their imagination during this early childhood activity.

 Materials: Glue, assortment of pom poms (a variety of colors and sizes), wiggly eyes, construction paper, scissors and glue.

Description: Using pompoms, children can arrange them in a line to create a caterpillar or stack them on top of each other to create a bumble bee. Use eyes to give the creations life and construction paper for other features such as; mouth wings, antennas, feet, and shoes (for the athletic bug!).  Or  create a hat with a  pom pom on top!  Ideas are endless once they start coming alive.

Comments: Most preschoolers like to create and once you give them an idea stand back and away they go. My three year olds had a great time gluing and they were so proud of their bugs they couldn't wait to take them home!

Snails, Kids Love 'em
To help children (and teachers) overcome fears of creepy crawly things, Alexis A. shares this preschool lesson plan.

Materials: A large clear plastic container with a lid (we use a 2L. pop bottle or empty candy containers from our local corner store), soil, grass seed and snails.

Description: Teachers rinse out the container and put soil in.  Sprinkle grass seed on top and water.  Place container in a bright area (preferably near a window),  keep it well watered.  Once the grass starts to grow, hunt out a few snails and put in the jar.  Make sure the lid is kept on when not supervised, as well that the lid has some air holes in it.

The children love to watch the snails and if someone takes the snails out of the container, some children will want to hold them.  We do Snail Trail Art by letting the snails crawl on a dark colored piece of paper.

A favorite of our children is a Snail Circus.  Take 4 wooden blocks and tape a piece of string across the tops, leaving a space of 6 or more inches in between.  Cross the strings in the middle.  Put a snail on two of the blocks and watch the Tightrope Act begin.  This shows the children how the snails are able to maneuver along the plants they go on.

Snails can be very  entertaining.  I used to think they were gross until a 3 year old asked me to hold one.  Now I hold them all the time in class to show the children how neat they are!

Snake Ties 
Pat D. shares this creative pre-k and kindergarten activity for a dramatic effect during a reptile or jungle theme.

Materials: Old ties, cotton batting, red felt tongue and goole eyes.

Description: Stuff tie from both ends, using a dowel stick to help push batting into place.  Glue tongue and eyes in place when
Mr. Snake is properly stuffed.

Comments: The kids are wild about these snakes wrapping them around their necks, having snake races and hiding them .

Michelle L. shares this early childhood science experiment that promotes observation skills.

Materials: 3-4 different kinds of colored sand, 2 jars, 2 pieces of thick card and real worms!!!

Description: Teachers layer the sand into each of the jars. Make sure that both jars are exactly identical.  On one piece of card write "worms".  On the other piece of card write "no worms".

Cover each jar with the card (ensure that you can slide the card on and off).  Add worms to the jar titled worms.  Leave on a table.

Over time the worms will mix up the different layers and colors of sand.  Seal both jars with a tight fitting lid. 

Worm Art
Donna C. offers this fun painting experience.

Materials: Rubber fishing worms, string, non-toxic washable preschool paints, paper plate.

Description: Teachers take rubber fishing worms and tie string to them.  Place different color paints onto a paper plate.  Place a worm in each color of paint.  Let the children dip the worms in and out of the paint and them bop them up and down onto the paper as if fishing.  Very cute artwork!

Comments: The children love this activity and it is great to use during pond themes.

Cooking: Worms and Dirt
Incorporate cooking with science. April N. says, "A fun and tasty activity to go with lessons on insects and worms." 

Materials: Gummy Worms - one per child, chocolate pudding, milk,
bowl for mixing and mixing spoon, measuring cups, clear plastic cups, spoons, graham crackers.

Description: After a discussion of worms, where they live etc., this activity can be used.  After washing up, tell the children what needs to be done: the measurement of milk, mixing, crumbling and adding the graham crackers.

Now the youngsters can take turns pouring the milk into the measuring cup, and then pouring it into the bowl. Each child can take a turn mixing the milk and pudding together in the bowl.  Mixing by hand lets the children do more.

Next, they can decide what they would like with their pudding, plain, with worm or cracker crumbs etc.  Explain that it must be chilled in the fridge.  They can eat and enjoy this creepy crawly snack!

Comments: This activity is a good treat and they get a thrill from eating "worms and dirt!

Creepy Crawling  "Spiders"
Risa A. offers this activity saying, "Depending on the age group children will begin to process information about different bugs.  We read a lot of books on spiders (informative and fun ones).  Book: The Very Busy Spider

Materials: Egg cartons, black / brown paint, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners (cut in half), paint brushes.

 Description: Put out newspaper, paint brushes and paint.  Allow the children to choose the color or colors of their spider.  This could take two days depending on the length of your programs day.  Once dried use a hole puncher to punch in 4 wholes on each side.  Allow the children to put in the pipe cleaner legs and glue on as many eyes as they wish.  Some spiders have over 100 eyes. The children will love their creepy crawly spiders! 

Comments: We had a ball.  We sang Raffi's song, 

"There's a Spider on the Floor"

Firefly Fun Activity
In this large group activity flashlights imitate fireflies.

Materials: 2 flashlights

Have children stand in a circle with their hands behind their backs. Dim the lights. Provide 2 flashlights that areeasily turned off and on. Have the group sing the song below. When they sing "See my light flicker" the children holding flashlights begin to turn them off and on and pair up at the center of the circle. They then give the
flashlights to two different children. Continue to play until each child has had a turn. 

                               I'm a little firefly
                               Look at me! 
                               I'm as happy as I can be. 
                               See my light flicker and shine so bright 
                               Now watch me fly into the night! 

For lots more fingerplays, nursery rhymes and poem about creepy crawlers take a look at Preschool Rhymes about Insects and Bugs.

Counting Center Ladybugs
During this small group / individual activity youngster develop counting skills.

You will need: Red spray paint, 85 large lima beans, black fine tip markers, egg carton plastic bag.

Teachers spray paint about 85 large lima beans red. That's 78 for the game and extras. When the beans are dry provide fine tip markers (permanent) and invite the children to add the dots. Label each container of an egg carton withnumbers 1-12. Store the ladybugs in plastic bag. To use this center, a child must match the correct number of ladybugs in the numbered space.

Ladybug Facts:
*Ladybugs can be red or yellow with black, red, white, or yellow spots. 
*There are about 150 species of ladybugs in the U.S.
*In winter, 50 to 100 ladybugs hibernate together.

 Art: Flying Ladybugs
April N. shares, "A fun art activity to aid in learning about insects which includes science and math."

Materials: Paper plates, bingo markers (preferably black),  construction paper (red, orange, black), paper fasteners, pipe cleaners (black), black markers or crayons, scissors and glue.

Description: After looking at books and pictures about ladybugs, this activity allows each child to have their own.  First each child colors their paper plate black, with marker or crayon. This the the body.
Then they choose red or black construction paper for the wings. They make the spots on the wings with the bingo markers. 

The wings are then attached with help from the teacher. A hole is poked through the wings, overlapping, and the plate. The fastener is pushed through. This allows the wings to open so the ladybug can fly.
Then each child can add the pipe cleaner for antennae and legs if they choose.

The antennae can be attached by poking a hole in the head area of the plate and pulling the Antonio through, twisting it in place.
The bingo marker will need to dry a little before they are played with.

Comments: The children loved this and afterwards flew their ladybugs around the playground.

Pretty Ladybug
Try this feltboard counting pre-school activity.

Large felt cutout of a ladybug - circle shape with a head shape added, all one piece. Thin black magic marker line
down the middle and wiggly eyes. Also 10 black felt spots.

  Pretty Ladybug
 (Tune: The Muffin Man)
 Ladybug has 1 black spot,
 1 black spot, 1 black spot;
 Ladybug has 1 black spot,
      Pretty ladybug!
Using the above song, children or teacher can add a spot each verse, thus teaching numbers sequentially as high as developmentally appropriate for the children. Spots can also be placed randomly with the child announcing how many he/she has placed and then singing the song. Children also enjoy playing individually with the set.

Ladybug Hand Puppets
Teachers help preschoolers create these puppets for dramatic play.

You will need: Red, yellow etc. felt, glue, buttons, wiggle eyes, and pipe cleaners.

Cut two pieces of felt into oval shapes that are flat on one end - need to fit on hand! Then cut two wings to glue onto felt body. Glue on buttons for spots and wiggle eyes, pipe cleaner antennae.

I always let kids choose felt colors to make ladybugs.  We've had some interesting combos!

Fingerprint Ladybugs
Courtney L. suggests this activity "To teach children about insects
 through artwork."

Materials: Washable paint, construction paper, markers.

Description: Teachers ask the children to press their thumbs on red stamp pads and make thumbprints on pieces of  paper. Then let them turn the thumbprints into ladybugs by adding dots and six legs to each print. This project can also be adapted to make bees and butterflies.

Ant Facts
* Each nest has a handful of males, less queens and lots of workers.
* Three balls (head, thorax, abdomen), six legs. 
* They smell with their antennae (very sensitive).
* They cooperate. 
* It's the queens job to lay the eggs, the males help her.
* Some workers build the nests, some take care of the eggs, some hunt for food, some take care of the queen.
* Worker ants have two stomachs (one holds their food the other is for sharing.) 

Observing Ants
Ants can teach us how some insects work together as a community. Watch ants scurry in and out of their ant hills or find some spilled food on the sidewalk. Do they eat their food on the spot, or carry it back to their anthill? When an ant finds food, it runs back to the hill to "tell" the others. As it runs, it leaves a trail that other ants in the hill can smell. The ants find the food by smelling their way along the trail. If possible, set up an ant farm.

Ant Ideas 
An Ant Counting Picnic
Teachers cut about 4 shapes of picnic foods 1-4" in size from construction paper. I use a chicken leg, cookie, strawberry, anda watermelon slice. Using plastic ants, see how many ants it takes to cover each food and record the answers.

Dramatic Play
Teachers and children make a big box into a picnic basket. Make Ants pipe cleaner antennas & add them to the play area. Now children can pretend to be ants around a picnic basket. Add play food for them to carry away.

Fine Motor Control: Tweezer Ants
Have small containers, plastic ants and tweezers. Have the children try to pick up the ants with the tweezers and place them into the containers. 

Easy "Cooking": Ants on Log
This classic recipe for a healthy early childhood snack is offered by Kuppal N

 Materials: Celery stick, peanut butter, raisins and a plastic knife.

 Description: Cut the celery sticks in 3 inch pieces then spread peanut butter in the hollow side.  Place raisins one after the other.
creepy crawling ants

Action Poem: 8 Ants
1 ant 2 ants, 3 ants 4.
My picnic is their grocery store
5 ants, 6 ants, 7 ants, 8.
They are crawling on my plate!
8 ants,7 ants,
Stomp around. 
6 ants, 5 ants
On the ground.
4 ants, 3 ants,
On the run! 
2 ants, 1 ant,
Now there's NONE!
Bug Sorting
Vickie S. offers this early childhood activity "To develop fine motor skill for writing and to develop math skills by matching,  sorting and catorgorizing.

Materials: 2 bags of small assorted bugs  (may be purchased at any store  that sells toys), 2 large bowls or containers, 2 Tweezers, 2 cupcake tins or about 8-10 small containers for sorting.

 Description: This is a table activity for at least 2 children.  Set out the cupcake tins and the two large bowls or containers. Then mix up the bugs and divide them into the two large bowls. Show the children  the tweezers and the appropriate ways to use them and then allow them to play. The children will automaticly sort, count, match and explore. 

Walking Bugs
Kuppal N. suggests this easy health snack. Just be carefull with the toothpicks.
Materials: Cherries

Description: Take the stem off the cherries without breaking.  Use a toothpick and put 3 cherries together in a row.  Use the stems to make legs for the bugs.

Beehive Game
Try this creative approach when teaching about items that begin with the letter "B".
You will need:
Small box, brown paper, construction paper, pictures of things that start with 'B', Picture of other things that don't.

Teachers cover a small box with brown paper to make a beehive. Cut a slit in the top of the beehive and label it with the letter B. Cut bee shapes out of construction paper. Glue pictures of things that have names beginning with B and pictures of things that have names beginning with other letters on the bee shapes.

Explain to the children that only the bees that have pictures of things whose names begin with 'B' can go into the 'B' hive. Then let the children take turns selecting a bee and deciding whether or not it can go into the beehive.

Queen Bee Circle Game
Children sit in a circle on the floor. The Queen Bee walks around the circle tapping children on the head and saying, "Buzz, buzz, buzz", with each tap. Each child tapped gets out of the circle and follows the Queen around. When the Queen calls, "Go make honey" those tapped and the Queen bee run off to an empty spot. The last one to
the spot is the new Queen Bee.

"Bee"utiful Music
Combine art and music with this activity.

You will need: White paper, bumble bee stickers, black crayons, a record player, the recording, "Flight of the Bumblebee".

Teachers give each child a 9x12 piece of white paper with a small bumble bee sticker in the corner.  Also provide each child with a black crayon. Then play the recording of "The Flight of the Bumblebee" and ask the children to imagine that their crayon is the bee flying on the paper and draw its path.

Fingerpainting Bees
Promote the development of motor skills with this fingerpainting activity.

Pre-school children finger paint to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee." Mix tempera paint 1-1 with hand lotion. This makes a great finger painting medium. Be sure to use thick glossy paper to paint on. If you don't have good paper, be brave and paint on the table top. Put the music on and begin to paint to the music!

Spider Hunt
Teresa G. suggests this hunt that becomes an exploration of nature.

 Materials: String, plastic spiders, container for caught spiders.

1.  Ahead of time, teachers hide plastic spiders in the outdoor play area and write down  where the spiders are in the play area so that all spiders can be found.

2.  Have the children go to the bathroom, wash their hands, and put their coats on before going outside.

 3.  Tell the children that we are going on a spider hunt.  Now if you find a spider, don't touch the spider because you may hurt it.  Come get me when you find one.

 4.  Ask children, where do you think we could find a spider?

 5.  Let the children lead the hunt, and follow behind asking questions and answering questions.  You may need to lead children toward the spiders.

 6.  When a spider is found, ask the children: " Is it a spider?  What does it look like?  Why do you think it lives here?"

Spider Web
Vickie S. offers this activity for kindergarten children (and older) to promote eye / hand coordination and motor skills.

Materials: Large ball of yarn and a large open space.

 Description: You will be throwing a ball of yarn in a circle, each person holds on to a piece of the yarn as they toss the ball to another person until the yarn is gone. When the web is formed talk about a spiders web and how it is made and it's use. 

 For circle time you could read the book 
 "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle. 

Marble Rolling Spider Web
Vicki S. encorages children to develop balance and fine motor skills during this pre-school activity.

1.  Black construction paper
2.  White paint
3.  Card board box  (The kind of flat box you might see used a the grocery store with the canned goods), about a foot and a half long and a foot wide with a two to three inch side.
 4.  One to two marbles

 Description: Put the black paper in the middle of the box.  Add in the white paint (a little on the outside of the black paper). You might have to mix in a little water with the white paint because if it's too thick it might not work as well.  Drop in the marble(s)and make a spider web by rolling the marble around inside the box. 

Spider Cookies
A treat offered by Vickie S. "To develop small motor skill for 
 writing and this activity also gives the opportunity to learn
 proper hand washing and cleanliness." 

1. 1 Box of oreo cookies
2. 1 Bag of twizlers licorice  (what ever color you choose) 
 (The kind that peals off little strings)
3. 1 bag M&M plain candies
4. Frosting 
Optional: With decorator bag or you could just use plastic  knives, spreaders or spatchulas. 

First, everyone needs to wash their hands.  Let the children peal off 8 strings of licorice  (Not more than three inches in length)

 -Take apart the oreo cookies

-Frost the inside of the cookie and put four pieces of licorice on one side then the other for spider legs.

-Put the cookie together with the "legs" inside

 -Put to spots of frosting on the outside of the cookie and attach the M&M's for the spider eyes.

 Eat them for snack. (or whenever you'd like)
 Comments: We did this activity during "Bug" week. Yummy! 



E-mail GayleE-mail Gayle  to include your favorite pre-school activity
in this theme!
Click the Rainbow for The Rainbow Resource Room
Click for Resource RoomClick the Schoolhouse for Activity CentralClick for Activity Central
Search the Preschool Rainbow
Click to Search
To the Top

preschool rainbow activity bar