Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Science with Younger Kids

July 1, 2010 13:35 by Barbara Shelby

 

DANCING PAPER CLIP

Impress your kids with a "Dancing Paper Clip".
Fill a baby food jar with water and drop a steel paper clip into it. Tell children that you can make the paper clip dance up and down in the water without touching it. Then move a magnet up and down outside the jar to make the clip dance. Let the children try it. Explain that the magnetic force of the magnet passes through the glass and water to make the clip move.

MAKE OTHER DISCOVERY BOTTLES!
You can put anything in these!
 
•RUST BOTTLES: Put various metal objects in a bottle with water and watch them rust. Consider saving a sample bottle to preview to each new group! Or...ask children what they think will happen and watch/discuss results.

•MAGNET BOTTLES: Put different objects in a bottle, some of which will be attracted to the magnet and some that won't.

•DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARTICILES IN WATER AND CORN SYRUP...
Place identical items (beads, crayon shavings, small plastic figures, etc.) in bottles of plain water and plain corn syrup.
 
•MARBLES: Put a marble in different substances such as shampoo, hair gel, oil, water. Compare how fast the marble moves in each.

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SCIENCE AND ART TOGETHER!!
  • Take shaving cream, and a few drops of different color paint. You can do this according to your color themes of the week or day.
  • Put cream and paint in a Ziploc baggie. Make sure to let all the air out of the bag and tape the top seal so nothing escapes when the children squeeze the bags.

This is a great way for kids to learn colors and what happens when mix two separate colors together. (Red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green; etc.). The science comes in with having children make predictions of what will happen. What color it will make? Then mix and find out.

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DOWN IT GOES!
Give children several objects to drop--feathers, marbles, Styrofoam packaging, small blocks, sponges, cotton, rocks, etc.
After individual experimentation, help children draw conclusions based on their observations--which items dropped slowly and which items dropped quickly.

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COLORED ICE CUBES
This is a nice visual experience of COLOR CHANGES. Make red, yellow and blue ice cubes using food coloring and water. Place one red and one yellow ice cube in a ziplock baggie, one red and one blue ice cube in a ziplock baggie, and one yellow and one blue ice cube in a ziplock baggie. Place them in the science area. As the colored ice cubes melt they create new colors.

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EXPERIMENT WITH EARTH JARS
Gather the following:
4 jars with lids, dirt, sand, salt, gravel and a large pitcher of warm water.

  • Have the kids help pour the warm water into each jar. Add one of the elements to each jar, and cover it tightly.

  • Have children predict what will happen when you shake each jar. Shake them one at a time. What happens in each instance? Which of the elements dissolve in water and which ones sink to the bottom?

  • The children may want to bring in other nature items/substances to continue this experiment.

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SWIMMING FISH...

1. Fill a large plastic soft drink bottle about one quarter full with water.
2. Add a few drops of blue food coloring and a very small drop of liquid detergent.
3. Pour in a small amount of clean sand or aquarium gravel. Blow up two small balloons, release most of the air, then tie the ends closed. Push the balloons into the bottle and screw the cap on tightly. When you have finished, you will have a fish tank with two bobbing "fish" inside.
4. The fish will swim in the water by holding the bottle sideways and rocking it back and forth. You may just discover that each child will want one of their own.

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AIR
  • Encourage the children to tell what they know about air. Introduce a few facts about air. Show two or three deflated balloons. Have the children examine and identify them.

  • With the group, brainstorm why the balloons are flat, how to put air in them and what the air will do to the balloons.

  • Inflate one of the balloons. Guide the group in explaining how to keep the air inside the balloon. Tie the end of the balloon and inflate the others.

  • The children describe what is happening and why. Also have them examine and describe the inflated balloons.

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SQUISH BAGS
Here is a way for children to experience different textures...
Fill four or five zip-lock bags with different textures, such as: Flour, mud, play dough, sand, dried beans, or salt.
Set out the bags and encourage childrento squish the bags and describe how they feel.

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PENNY MAGIC

Set out a zip-lock bag, some salt and some vinegar.

1. Help children measure out one tablespoon vinegar and one teaspoon salt and place it in the bag.
2. Put out 1-4 dirty pennies and child place the pennies into the bag.
3. Zip up the bag and let your child gently shake the bag.
Children love watching the dirty pennies slowly turn shinny and new.

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SINK AND FLOAT IDEAS...

EGG SINK/FLOAT
Get 2 large cups or bowls--put one cup with NO salt, and the other with 4 Tablespoons of salt (adjust salt to container size).... Ask the children what they think will happen when you put in the first egg? Put the egg in--Repeat with the second egg. Explain that the salt makes the water heavier than the egg, so the egg will float.
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PLAIN OLD SINK OR FLOAT .... Gather different items such as a variety of cans, coins, pencil, etc. and a large bowl of water. Small aquariums are good for this. Clear plastic tubs also work.

Have the children make predictions of what they think will happen. Will it sink or will it float? Have the children take turns dropping each individual item and discussing the results.....
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Along with the above experiment try a ‘Sink or Float with a Pumpkin or Watermelon!

  • Fill a bin or aquarium or tub half full with water. Place everyday items near the bin. Get the kids to guess which items would sink and which ones would float. Have youth write their guesses in their notebooks. Then do the experiments to determine if they were right or not.

    Have the watermelon for snack!
  • Be sure to add a watermelon to the guess! (You can eat it afterwards!) Pumpkins are also fun. The pumpkin and watermelon will float because its mass is less than the mass of water it displaces. This is due primarily because the inside of the pumpkin and melon are hollow. It is mostly air, which has a much lower mass than water.

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CAN YOU SINK AN ORANGE?
You will need: A Bowl, Water, and an Orange
1.  Fill the bowl with water.
2.  Put in the orange...What happens to the orange?  See if you can get the orange to sink.
3.  Take the orange and peel it.
4.  Place the peeled orange back in the bowl of water. What happens this time?
5.  The orange sinks because the orange peel if full of trapped air pockets, therefore making the orange light for its size (so it floats).
6.  When you remove the peel (including the air pockets) the orange weighs a lot for it.

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EXPLODING MILK
A favorite with many is exploding milk! (No, milk doesn't really explode--just the colors...)
Fill a tray with milk (just enough to cover the bottom). Put drops of different colored food coloring in it. Don't disturb them!

Add a drop of dish soap on some of the colors and watch the colors explode! Children can see how blue and yellow make green--etc. 
 

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MOLD GARDEN #1
For some reason children seam to love watching mold grow. Here is a safe way to experiment with mold.

Give children a small zip-lock bag and a piece of bread.
Have them place the bread into the bag and then add a teaspoon of water. Zip up the bag and set out the bag to observe. After a few days, mold will appear on the bread.

Discard bags unopened, when experiment is over.
Variation: You may want to repeat this experiment, but this time make two bags of water and bread and put one in the center and one in the refrigerator. Which one grows mold the fastest?

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GROWING MOLD #2
Materials you will need:
Water
Some tape
Some leftover foods (like bread, oranges, lemons, apples, grapes, red peppers, courgettes, cauliflower, cheese or biscuits)
A Clear Container with a Lid (A big glass jar or a big clear plastic container works best)
*** DO NOT USE: anything with meat or fish in it. After a few days these would start to smell very bad.***

NOTE: This is a great project to keep a log or notebook on your findings each day that you check for changes.
Steps:
1. Place the jar on its side.
2. Cut around 3 to 5 different pieces of food into small chunks about 1.5cm (1 inch.).
3. Dip all the different pieces of food into the water.
4. Spread the foods out in the jar so that they are not in a pile.
5. Place the lid on the jar and tape around the outside of the lid to seal it
6. Place the jar where it will not get knocked over or thrown away.
7. Put a label with the date on the jar
8. Keep a check on the food in the jar.
You probably will not notice any change in the food for the first few days. However, you should start to see some green, white or blue fuzzy/furry stuff growing there after.

Still keeping a check; after a few more days some of the food may start to rot and look gross. Now you can see how the mold spreads and how the food rots in just two weeks.

 
NOTE: After the two weeks, DO NOT open the lid. Throw the jar and its contents in the bin and DO NOT reuse the jar.
Molds do not grow from seeds. Molds grow from tiny spores that float in the air. Some of these spores fall onto a piece of damp food and then
grow into mold.
Adapted from: kids-science-experiments.com

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GROWING POPCORN IN A BAGGIE
Instructions: Take a plastic zip-loc baggie, put cotton balls in it and saturate cotton balls with water. Put popcorn kernels into the bag, seal it and tape to a window. Add water as needed and watch the plants grow. Transfer to potting soil later. (It doesn't take much to get a popcorn kernal going! My grandson had a kenal laying on its side on the sink--in just a drop of water. In a couple days it was sprouting a small leaf and stem!)

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MAGNETIC CORNMEAL
Place small metal objects like screws, nuts, paper clips, metal chips, and small non-metal objects like plastic toys and chalk in a baking pan. Pour cornmeal over the objects to cover them.

Move a magnet slowly over the surface until one object moves. Have the children find the other metal objects that are attracted to the magnet. Discuss a magnet and why things are attracted to it. Place different items under the cornmeal and have the children guess whether the objects will move or not. Variations: oatmeal, rice, or barley could also be used to cover the objects.

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SCIENCE WITH A FRUIT SALAD 

You need--
A selection of fruit, such as Kiwi, Peach, Pineapple, etc., A bowl,
Sharp knife, Cutting board...For safety the fruit should be cut be an adult

1.  Before cutting the fruit, pass the different fruits around and let the children feel and smell them.
2.  Ask the children if they know the names of the fruit.
3.  Talk about shape, size, smell and texture.
4.  Put the fruit into groups-- such as smooth skinned or those that are round in shape.
5.  Ask the children to guess what color the fruit is inside.
6.  Peel and cut open the fruit, and talk about what they can see.
7.  Are there any seeds?
8.  If you cut the fruit in a different way, does it look different inside? Apples are great for this.
9.  Make the fruit into a fruit salad and let the children taste the fruit.
10. Discuss which fruit the children prefer.

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BERRY TASTING

Children will learn to compare the tastes of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries... You will need fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, a large bowl and serving bowls and spoons. If you use frozen berries, select those, which do not have sugar added.

1. Have several children assist you in washing the berries and preparing them for the snack table.
2. At snack time, have the children serve themselves a few of each berry.

Taste the berries and compare the tastes. Discuss some of the foods we prepare with berries such as jams, pies, cobblers and fillings for pastries. (also used in fruit kabobs, salads and just served with whipped cream!)

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FOOD HUNT FOR SEEDS

Put a selection of fruits and vegetables out. Ask the children to tell you which items have seeds inside them. Next have  children sort them into seed and no seed piles. Open them up to see what you find out. Keep the seeds for other activities.
Slice the fruits and vegetables and enjoy!

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WATER EVAPORATION

Fill two jars with the same amount of water and mark the level of the water on the outside of the jars. Put a lid on one of the jars. Put the jars in a sunny place for a few days. Discuss with children what happened. Have children note that there is more water gone from the jar without lid and that inside the jar with the lid they can see tiny drops of water.

Ask questions like:
What happened to the water in the jar with no lid? (The water went into the air. It evaporated.)
What happened to the water in the jar with a lid? (The water stayed in the jar, Because of the lid, the water wasn’t able to escape or evaporate.)

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MAKE IT RAIN!
Materials: glass mayonnaise or canning jar, plate, hot water, ice cubes,


  • Pour about two inches of very hot water into the glass jar. 
  • Cover the jar with the plate and wait a few minutes before you start the next step. 
  • Put the ice cubes on the plate.

What happens? The cold plate causes the moisture in the warm air, which is inside the jar to condense and form water droplets. This is the same thing that happens in the atmosphere. Warm, moist air rises and meets colder air high in the atmosphere. The water vapor condenses and forms precipitation that falls to the ground.

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COLD WEATHER SCIENCE

 This is science, art, and outside winter play!

 

ICE BLOCK DESIGNS

Younger children can observe how salt melts ice while creating colorful designs in large blocks of ice.
Need: Large blocks of ice, Coarse salt, Food coloring, Eye dropper
s

Freeze water in empty one gallon milk containers. Remove the cardboard when water is frozen.

  • Place ice blocks on trays covered with several layers of newspaper.
  • Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the ice blocks.
  • Drip various colors of food coloring on top of the ice block--tunnels of color are created as the salt melts through the ice block.
  • Put the colorful ice blocks outside. If cold enough- they should stay frozen for several days.
  • Children can continue to examine the melting process during outdoor play. If possible-(and if they are interested) give kids their own block of ice.
  • If you have a large group do this activity over a few days. Children will enjoy watching the changes that occur as the blocks melt away!(Image by KidActivities.net)

Idea dapted from Marjorie E. in KinderArt.com

NOTE: When salt goes over the side of the ice block-it will quickly melt grooves into the sides. The color will travel down the grooves. KA placed the ice block in a tin pie pan with lots of paper to soak up excess colored water. The ice stayed solid (outdoors) for about a week. (It melted when we had a freakish 65 degree Michigan winter day in January!)

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INSIDE SNOWMAN...

  • In the winter gather snow in a LARGE shallow baking pan. Make a smaller version of a snowman--decorate it just as you would an outdoor snowman...eyes, arms, nose, and scarf.

  • Place the snowman in something similar to a large foil baking sheet and on a table where the children can watch it melt through out the day. A nice hands-on sensory-science project. 

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FAT KEEPS ANIMALS WARM!

1. Fill a bucket with ice water and have the children stick their hands in it. They'll see that it is cold.
2. Put shortening (Like Crisco) in a plastic bag.
3. Place the shortening bag into another bag so that the children's hands don't actually touch the Crisco.
4. Have the children put their hand in the bag and stick it back in the ice water. It won't be cold because the Crisco serves as a layer of fat.
5. Talk about how the fat layer keeps animals -such as polar bears warm.

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WATER AND ICE CONCEPT

  • Winter is the time of ice and snow. We also talk about water and ice --in that water is a liquid and ice is a solid.

  • To demonstrate this, give each child a 1 gallon ziploc bag with crushed ice in it. Add ice cream salt..and place a smaller bag filled with kool-aid, lemonade or juice in the larger bag. Instruct the children to shake the bag.

  • If you play music while the children shake their bags, the drink mix will usually become ice-by the end of the song. (Our younger kids like to do this to Greg and Steve's "the Freeze".) Submitted by gogreen/Oregon

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WARM WEATHER SCIENCE

SUMMERTIME CLOTHING 
  • Why do we wear light-colored clothing in the summertime? Some of us do because the fashion experts tell us to, but there's a good scientific reason as well. 
  • Light colors absorb less heat from the sun than do dark colors. There's a simple way of demonstrating this fact. Expose two sheets of paper--one white and the other black--to strong sunlight. The black paper will feel distinctly hotter than the white after several minutes of exposure.

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SUN & SHADE SCIENCE
To compare the sun to the shade, try this science activity. Take six bowls made of the same material. Place a cube of butter in each of the first two, a few ice cubes in the next two, and some old crayons in the last two. Set one bowl with each item in hot sun. Set the other three bowls in the shade.

 

GOOD SCIENCE PRACTICES...

 

CAPTURE THE MOMENT (Biology)

1.  When children find a frog, roly-poly bugs, moths, or an anthill, offer a magnifying glass or microscope for looking very closely.
2.  If they notice birds building a nest, provide binoculars and help them make regular observations to record what they see.
3.  Compare observations over time. Ask children to predict what might happen next (baby birds?)

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GROW THINGS (Horticulture)

•  Grow different types of beans in wet cotton and plastic bags; tape the baggies to a window and some in a closet.

  Observe and photograph (or draw) sprouting once a week.

•  Discuss differences in growth patterns and what plants need to grow. Measure and graph plant heights.

  Plant a garden and eat harvested vegetables.

  Discuss what animals and plants need for growing well.

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INTRODUCE MEASUREMENT (Math)

 

  Offer measuring tapes, rulers, thermometers, balance scales, measuring cups, clocks, hour-glasses.

•  Stand-on scales and help children weigh and measure everything...shoes, feet, living plants, table heights, how many minutes it takes to eat lunch, how long each child naps, etc.

  Record measurements, repeat often, and discuss what changes and what stays the same.

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CHANGE THINGS (Chemistry)

•  Observe frozen and boiling water and steam. Discuss what happens when water changes state.

•  Help children make Jell-O or ice cream. (Remember cooking and making play dough, goop, gak and slime is also science! Anything that turns liquid into a solid is science!)

•  Ask them to predict the effects of mixing cinnamon, salt, sugar, clean sand, and dirt into water.

  Experiment and draw results.

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STIMULATE A SENSE OF WONDER (Scientific Method)

  • Ask open-ended questions like "I wonder what might happen if..." or "If we change the temperature (or size, or shape,  or location), what do you think will happen?"
  • Answer their questions by asking, "How might we find out?" Encourage predictions.
  • Offer materials for experiments. Test out ideas. Discuss results. Ask more open-ended questions.

Teachers do not need to have all the answers. What you need is curiosity, a little planning, some interesting "stuff," and pleasure in watching young scientists develop. For all Science Category Sections: click here

Individual Science Sections are:

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Insects and Bug Theme!

June 30, 2010 21:31 by Barbara Shelby

 

Note: This page contains  Art, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Poems /Songs and a Book list...they start towards the middle of the page and go down! ALL ABOUT collecting insects is at the page top...

Updated October, 2013

ALL ABOUT COLLECTING CRITTERS (Bugs/Insects)

FYI: 

By one estimate, about one million trillion insects are alive at any moment. So what would happen if all of these six-legged invertebrates were to suddenly vanish from our planet? The result would be catastrophic, according to Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson. Entire ecosystems would be destroyed… Unable to reproduce, plants that rely on insect pollinators would perish. So would trillions of organisms, including many reptiles, birds, and mammals that rely on insects for food. Without insects to aid in breaking down dead plant and animal matter, we'd soon be up to our necks in decay.

 Lift up anything on the ground and find little bug worlds "underneath". Many bugs hide among their favorite plants. Try a garden, yard, park, flowerbeds, hedges, and under rocks or logs.

  • Katydids are green just like the leaves.
  • Many moths are brown and look just like the bark on their favorite trees.
  • Butterflies are drawn to red, orange and pink flowers and also like phlox, alyssum, verbena, and herbs such as marjoram and thyme.
  • Look for beetles under fallen logs or rocks.
  • Crickets love cracks in sidewalks and buildings.
  • You might find the woolly bear caterpillar crawling across a sidewalk or on plants.
    Keep your eyes open for ants of all sizes---they are everywhere.

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HOW & WHERE TO SEARCH for CRITTERS...   

COMMON PLACES TO FIND INSECTS...
Insects inhabit every place on our planet except the ocean. Look for insects in these places:

  • Under boards and rocks – Look for ants, crickets, beetles, termites.
  • In or around streams, ponds, lakes – Look for mayflies, dragonflies,
    damselflies, stoneflies, caddis flies, aquatic beetles, true bugs, flies.
  • Under loose bark, in logs and stumps – Look for termites, ants and
    beetles — particularly bark beetles, tiger beetles, wood boring beetles.
  • On crops – Look for grasshoppers, beetles, flies, aphids, leafhoppers,
    spittlebugs, plant bugs.
  •  In the air – Look for butterflies, moths, flies, bees, wasps, beetles,
    leafhoppers, grasshoppers.
  •  In cellars and basements – Look for crickets, beetles, ants, bristletails.
  •  On livestock, pets, poultry – Look for fleas, sucking lice, chewing lice,
    flies.
  • Around outdoor lights at night – Look for moths, beetles, true bugs,
    mosquitoes.
  • Around dumps or piles of refuse – Look for cockroaches, earwigs,
    beetles, flies.
  • On manure piles – Look for flies, beetles.
  • In, around or on flowers and ornamental plants – Look for thrips,
    plant bugs, beetles, bees, wasps, ants, aphids, scale insects, walking
    sticks, insects galls, butterflies, moths.
  •  In houses – Look for crickets, cockroaches, beetles, ants, flies,
    mosquitoes, moths, termites, silverfish.
  • In clothes, furniture, stored food – Look for clothes moths, carpet
    beetles, flour beetles, bean weevils. (Info from MSU website)

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AT HOME...

If children are heading on a night-time hunt, instruct them try turning on a porch light, standing near a street light or shining a flashlight and you're sure to see some moths. With a large grassy lawn on a warm summer's night they’ll see the bright flickering of hundreds of fireflies. Fireflies and ladybugs are favorites among families.

SIGNS OF CRITTER LIFE include nibbled plant leaves or flowers.

  • Look on the stems and underneath the leaves or petals for hungry caterpillars and other insects.
  • Carefully lift up leaves, flowers and rocks to look for critters.
  • Listen as carefully as you look. Cicadas, for example, sing at dawn and dusk in the summer.
  • Peek on tree trunks. If you're lucky, you can watch a green cicada drying out on the tree trunk after crawling out of its brown nymph skin, which may still cling to the tree.
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IDENTIFYING INSECTS...

It may be difficult to correctly name what you've found, but here are some tips.

Insects are animals that have:

  • 1 pair of antennae
  • 2 pairs of wings (if any)
  • 3 pairs of legs
  • 3 body parts: head, thorax and abdomen
    and an exoskeleton ("exo" means their skeleton is on the outside!)

Count Legs: Insects have only six legs, but if it has eight legs as do spiders, ticks and scorpions, it is considered an arachnid, not an insect. A hairy spider could be a "wolf spider" that lives in the ground and moves very fast to catch its food.

  • Antennae? Most BUTTERFLIES have antennae that look like golf clubs with thick bumps at each end; MOTHS tend to have antennae that are straight or feathery.
  • If you want the official insect names, check out a field guide from the library; a good one for kids is the National Audubon Society's First Field Guide-Insects published by Scholastic.

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ARE YOU SPOTTING THE CRITTERS-- OR KEEPING THEM? 

Let your kids decide if you want to "catch" what you see or just spot what you see. If you want to catch, see the below post  for "critter keeper" directions. Your group may decide to just observe critters and chose to learn more about "what the critters do and how they live."

 WHEN INSECTS ARE CAPTURED AND BROUGHT INSIDE... Be sure to put a small cap full of water in the bug house and some leaves and twigs. Let children watch them, look at them with a magnifying glass and then release them back to their outdoor home.

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 MAKING A PLASTIC CRITTER-KEEPER JAR: If kids want to collect what they've found, make this keeper jar. Your critters can breathe and you can watch them closely. Add some grass, sticks, leaves or flowers and when you're finished watching, LET THE BUGS GO BACK TO THEIR OWN HOMES AGAIN!

What You'll Need:
28 or 40-ounce plastic peanut butter jar
Sharp scissors, (an adult's job)
Nylon netting, tulle, or fine wire mesh
Electrical or masking tape.
Optional: 2 chenille stems, paint markers, bug stickers
TIP: Use scraps of lace or netting and substitute masking tape and permanent markers to cut down on supply costs.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Remove the paper label. Have an adult  cut a small rectangular hole in the upper half of one side of the jar. Make it about 3 inches wide and 1-2 inches tall. 
  • Cut a piece of netting that is 1 inch wider than the hole and 3 times the height of hole plus 1 inch. Fold the netting into thirds so you have 3 layers of netting to cover the hole.
  • Stretch the netting layers over the hole and tape it in place along all 4 edges with electrical tape. Press tape firmly against jar. Decorate the tape with paint markers and bug stickers.
  • To make an optional handle: Wrap one chenille stem around the top of jar under the lid and twist ends together. Slide the ends of the other stem under the first one at opposite sides of jar. Hook the ends around it and twist to hold.

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HOW TO GET AN INSECT ZOO! Work with the children to set up a few insect traps on the play yard.
Things you will need:
Four small, clear, plastic cups, Shovels, Peanut butter:

Help the children dig four small holes in the dirt. The holes will need to be the same size as the plastic cups. Lower the plastic cups into the holes so that the brims are even with the Earth. Put a small scoop of peanut butter in each of the cups and cover it with a small layer of loose grass. That’s it! Wait a while and you will get a big surprise. In a few days, you will have an insect zoo for your insect aquarium...release insects after observing.

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 MAKE A "BUG INN"

Materials Needed:
One round oatmeal container
2 feet of fiberglass screening (from a hardware store) or
some donated old screens...
Craft knife (for adults only)
Markers or poster paint

1. Use markers or poster paint to decorate the outside of the oatmeal container.
2. Draw windows and a door on the container. With the craft knife, an adult should cut out windows and cut three sides to form your door, so it opens and closes.
3. Roll the screening so it rests tightly around the inside of the container.
4. Trim so the top edge fits beneath the lid and leave a one inch overlap where the side edges meets.
5. When 'guests' arrive at the Bug Inn, be sure to provide them with food, such as grass, or whatever they were eating when you found them.
6. Place a bottle cap filled with water in the container. When you are done observing your guests, please let them go back to their real homes.
.....This would be suitable for 5 years old and up.

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SNACKS...Want to turn the above into a Theme?

Just add some of the fun "EDIBLE CREEPY CRAWLIES" to your plans! Yumm...6 and 8 leg critters never tasted so good! This is followed by crafts, games, songs and a book list...

PEANUT BUTTER CATERPILLARS
Bananas
Peanut butter
Grapes
Chow Mein noodles
     • Peel and slice a banana. Join the slices together by "gluing" them with peanut butter. Carefully poke two Chow Mein noodles (or break a pretzel stick in half to make two pieces) through the top of the grape. Use more peanut butter to attach the head (grape) to the front of the body, with antennae (Chow Mein noodles) pointing up.
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ANTS IN THE SAND
Crushed graham crackers
Chocolate sprinkles
Snack sized re-sealable plastic bags
  • To crush graham crackers, place inside a large (gallon size) re-sealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crunch crackers through the bag by rolling back and forth over them until they are all in crumb form.
Fill snack sized re-sealable bags halfway with graham cracker crumbs. Add a small handful of chocolate sprinkles to the bags and seal.
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ANT HILL Make  edible ant hills in cups!
Use clear plastic punch cups to see the layers.
1. For the 'dirt" layer--first put chocolate pudding into the cup.
2. Crush graham crackers in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour the crumbs into the cup for the anthill "sand".
3. Add chocolate chips or raisins for the "ants".

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GREAT "BUGGY" VEGGIE  SNACKS...

BUGS ON A LOG...
MAKE 'LOGS' from any of these foods:

  •  CELERY STALKS (cut to about 3 inches long)
  • APPLES (cut in halves or quarters with cores removed)
  • CARROT STICKS (cut to about 3 inches long)

FILL THE 'LOGS' WITH A SPREAD:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Cream cheese and pineapple
  • Cheese and pimento
  • Peanut butter
  • Egg salad

SPRINKLE 'BUGS' ON THE SPREAD:

  • Raisins
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries or cherries
  • Raisenettes candy
  • Unsweetened cereal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped peanuts of finely chopped walnuts
  • Mix in chopped apple or crushed pinapple

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COOKIE SPIDERS
Black or chocolate licorice twists
Fudge sandwich cookies
Chocolate frosting
Red cinnamon candies or chocolate chips or raisins for eyes

  • Cut licorice in half.
  • Remove the top of each sandwich cookie; press 8 licorice pieces into the fudge center to resemble spider legs.
  • Spread a little chocolate frosting over the licorice; replace cookie tops.
  • Frost the tops of the spider cookies with frosting. Place red cinnamon candies on top for eyes.
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MUENSTER CHEESE BEETLES

Crunchy Chow Mein noodles
Muenster cheese (or other soft block cheese)
• Cut the cheese into 2" x 1" rectangular blocks. Gently insert three Chow Mein noodles on each side of the cheese blocks for legs. Using two broken Chow Mein noodles, insert into the "head" as antennae.
Tip: Use softer cheese such as gouda, Havarti, Monterey jack, or mozzarella so cheese does not crumble Chow Mein noodle are inserted.

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MARSHMALLOW SPIDERS
You'll need a package of large marshmallows, pretzel sticks or chow mein noodles and mini M & M's or raisins.
  • Have the kids push four pretzel sticks or noodles into each side of the marshmallow as the spider's legs. These will make the marshmallow body of the spider actually stand on their spider legs.
Use another stick to poke two eye holes in the marshmallow; insert M&M's or raisins into place as the spider's eyes. (Image by KidActivities.net)

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CRACKER SPIDERS with peanut butter or cheese spread!
These arachnid treats are easy to make and they look positively lifelike crawling across the snack plate.
For each:
2 round crackers
2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter (or cheese spread if allergies)
8 small pretzel sticks
2 raisins
  • With the peanut butter, make a cracker sandwich. Insert eight pretzel "legs" into the filling. With a dab of peanut butter, set two raisin "eyes" on top. Makes 1. (Image by KidActivities.net) 
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THE ABOVE ARE ALSO GREAT WITH NUTELLA
Ingredients:
8 Ritz crackers
4-5 Tbsp. chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
thin pretzel sticks for decorating
Raisins or white chocolate chips for decorating
Directions:
1. Spread approximately one tablespoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) on four Ritz crackers. Top each with another Ritz cracker to make a sandwich.
2. Insert pretzel sticks on the sides of each cracker to make a spider's legs. 3. Make the spider's eyes by dabbing a bit of Nutella on the back of two raisins or white chocolate chips and placing them on top of the cracker sandwich. Make the spider's mouth the same way, using the Nutella as glue for the white chocolate chips or raisins, and arranging them in the shape of a mouth.
4. Serve and eat!
Makes 4 crunchy

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BUTTERFLY BITES #1

Ingredients:
Stalks of celery, Twist pretzels, Pretzel pieces, Raisins and Spreadable cheddar, any cream cheese or peanut butter

Directions:
Wash celery and cut in half crosswise. Fill each celery piece with 1-tablespoon cheddar cheese, cream cheese or peanut butter. Add two pretzel twists for wings. Use pretzel pieces for antennae and raisins for decoration. Eat your butterfly before it files away!

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DRINK BUG JUICE! Sprinkle a few raisins in glasses/cups of apple juice or apple cider...or add raisins to water before freezing for ice-cubes.

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 BUTTERFLY BITES #2Put out apple slices, mini carrots, pretzel sticks and raisins or dried cranberries. Have kids use apple slices for the wings, the carrot for the body and pretzel sticks for antennae, Decorate with raisins. Photo by KidActivities

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EASY CATERPILLAR CAKE...Ingredients: Cake mix (Confetti nice for this)
Frosting
Green or yellow food coloring
Coconut
Pretzels 
Prepare cake mix as directed on box and bake in bunt pan.
Cut the cake in half and lay the two pieces together IN A CURVE---for the caterpillar body.

(A photo of this cake done up as a 'Worm' is in the Worm Theme...)

Color the frosting green or yellow (your choice) and spread on cooled cake.
Sprinkle coconut so the caterpillar looks fuzzy.
Add straight pretzels for antennas.
Add other facial details as desired

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 CREEPY CRAWLERS
1 lg. pkg. butterscotch chips
1 lg. pkg. milk chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
1 (5 oz.) can chow mein noodles
1 to 2 tbsp. water
  • Melt chips and butter in double boiler or glass bowl in microwave. Stir to mix. Gradually add small amounts of water to thicken mixture. Stir in noodles and mix to coat in chocolate mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

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ARTS & CRAFTS... (Critter Jar up above...)

A cool idea from Shannon Stewart at Stetson School...INSECTS UNDER MAGNIFYING GLASS

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 A "Bumble Bee picture" is in Art Gallery: Grades 1 to 3. These images were made by 3rd graders.

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BUTTERFLY FEET
Paint the bottom of children's feet with non-toxic tempera paint. Have the child step onto a piece of paper with their feet and heels together. When dry, have children add antennae with crayons, markers or yarn.

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FINGER PRINT BUGS
Dip thumbs in washable paint to  make 'thumbprint' bodies on paper. Have children decorate insect bodies by drawing in legs and antennae.

PAINT THUMB PRINT PICTUES with Watercolor Tins. 

 

1.  Prime the paints by placing a bead of water on each color.
2.  Stick your thumb in a watercolor pan.
3.  Make a thumbprint on the paper.
4.  When it is dry, add lines to make it a bug.

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 CREATE AN EGG CARTON BUG!

Materials: Cotton balls, egg cartons, paint/markers, google eyes, pipe cleaners, construction paper, glitter, any other material the children may want to use.
Cut the egg cartons in separate 1 to 3 hump-pieces and put them out with a variety of the above supplies. See where the children's imaginations will take them! 

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CATERPILLAR
Materials:
Plastic-Foam meat tray
Hole puncher
Yarn and Pen

  •  Cut circles from a thoroughly sanitized plastic-foam meat tray.
  • With a hole puncher, punch a hole through the center of each circle.
  • Tie a knot in one end of a piece of yarn.
  • Push the other end of the yarn through the hole in each circle.
  • When your caterpillar is as long as you want, knot the second end of the yarn, leaving some yarn behind the knot for a tail.
  • Draw a face on the front circle. You now have a Caterpillar!
  • You can also make the caterpillars with long sections of egg cartons-such as the above bugs!

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 Back to top of page

 Visit the Joke Category of Fleas, Flies & Spiders 

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GAMES...

 PLAY...CATERPILLAR IN THE GARDEN
1.  Divide your guests into two teams.
2.  Line the children up in two columns, one child behind the other, at the start line.
3.  Have each child put his or her hands on the waist of the child in front of them, forming a "caterpillar."
4,  When you say, "Wiggle!" each team must run, staying connected, to the finish line.
5.  If a team becomes disconnected, they must stop and reconnect before continuing.
6.  The first team to the finish line wins.
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BEES IN THE GARDEN
Need:
A Large Piece of White Poster Board
A Black Marker
Any Colored Marker (optional)
Scissors or an X-Acto Knife
At Least 3 Plastic Yellow Easter Eggs
1.  Draw a flower shape on the large piece of poster board.
2.  If this game is being played by younger children, make sure the center of the flower is about 7" - 8" in diameter. If  youth are older, make the center smaller (i.e. no smaller than 5" in diameter).
3.  Cut the center out of the flower.
4.  Color or paint the flower petals.
5.  Attach the flower to a stake or stick that can be placed in the ground.
6.  Make the three "bees" by drawing black stripes and antennae on plastic yellow Easter eggs.
TO PLAY: Place your flower in the ground, and draw a line about 6 feet in front of it. Line children up behind the line. Let each child try to toss each "bee" through the center of the flower.

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SONGS, POEMS AND FINGER PLAY...

HUNTING BUGS (Author Unknown)
Sung to: A- Hunting we will go

A-hunting we will go
A -hunting we will go
We'll catch a ______ (insert any insect here)
and put it in a box...
(loudly) and then we'll let it go!

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BUGGY ANATOMY GAME...
To tune of: London Bridge is Falling Down
 
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen, abdomen.
Head and thorax, abdomen, That's an insect.
 
Every insect has six legs, has six legs, has six legs.
Every insect has six legs, that's an insect.
 
Antennae to feel their way, feel their way, feel their way.
Antennae to feel their way, that's an insect.

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BUGS

June bug, stink bug,
Ladybug, chinch bug,
Water bug, pink bug,
Please-don't-pinch bug!

Horsefly, housefly,
Dragonfly, deer fly,
Firefly, fruit fly,
Buzzing-in-your-ear fly!

Honeybee, bumblebee,
Queen bee, drone bee,
Worker bee, nurse bee,
Leave-me-alone bee!

Gypsy moth, luna moth,
Beetle and mosquito,
Bugs and insects
Really are neat-o!

Cockroach, katydid,
Cricket and cicada,
Grasshopper, mantis,
Catch you all later!
Author Unknown

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IT'S AN INSECT (This would be great fun to go with one of the 'Creepy Crawlie Snack ideas)
To tune of: My Darling Clementine

It's an insect
Not a spider
it has six legs--instead of eight.
 
3 on this side
3 on that side...and it's crawling on my plate!

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WE'RE GOING ON A BUG HUNT...
Rhymed to: "We're Going on a Bear Hunt"

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh my! A bee!
A black & yellow bee,
Flying over the flowers.
BUZZ.....

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! An ant!
A tiny, black ant,
Crawling through the grass.
Shh...

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! A grasshopper!
A big, green grasshopper,
Hopping around the tree.
Boing, boing...

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! A butterfly!
A pretty, orange butterfly,
Floating in the sky.
Whoosh, whoosh...

We're going on bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh my! A spider!
A big black spider,
Creeping on the tree. Creep, creep...
(Author Unknown)

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FUZZY WUZZY CATERPILLAR

Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar in the garden creeps
He spins himself a blanket and soon falls fast asleep.
Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar wakes up by and by...
To find he has wings of beauty, changed to a butterfly.

Pretty little butterfly, what do you do all day?
I fly around the flowerpots, nothing' to do but play.
Nothing' to do but play, darling', nothing' to do but play.
So fly butterfly, fly butterfly, don't waste your time away. (Author Unknown)

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Caterpillar Chant 
Original Author Unknown

A caterpillar looks so small.
It is hardly there at all.
It munches on green leafy treats,
And it gets bigger as it eats.

It eats and eats, 'til pretty soon,
It wraps up tight in a cocoon.
When it wakes up it blinks its eyes
And says, "I'm now a butterfly!"

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If you like Insects... Click here for our great 'WORM THEME'!

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BOOKS ABOUT BUGS ( LISTED A-Z)

Amazing Anthony Ant by Lorna & Graham Philpot
Amazing World of Butterflies and Moths by Louis SabinAnts 
Armies of Ants by Walter Retan

Backyard Insects by Millicent E. Seisam
Big Bad Bugsby Tracey E. Dils
Bugs by Heather Amery & Jane Songi
Bugs by Nancy Winslow Parker & Joan Richards Wright
Bugs: A closer look at the world's tiny creatures by Jinny Johnson
Butterflies and Moths by John Leigh-Pemberton
Butterfliesby Elizabeth Elias Kaufman
Butterflies Bugs and Wormsby Sally Morgan
Butterflies and Moths by Angels Julivert
Buzz! A book about Insects by Melvin Berger   

Camouflage in Nature by National Audubon Society
Can You Find Me? by Jennifer Dewey
Can You Find Me? A book about Camouflage by Jennifer Dewey
Close Up by Frank B. Edwards
Creepy Crawlies by Cathy Kilpatrick 
Creepy Crawly Baby Bugs by Sandra Markle

Disguises and Surprises by Claire Llewellyn

First Field Guide Insects by National Audbudon Society 

How Do Flies Walk Upside Down? by Melvin & Gilda Berger 

I Can Read About Creepy Crawly Creatures by C.J. Naden
I Can Read About Insects by Deborah Merrians
I Wish I Were A Butterfly by James Howe 
Insects Do The Strangest Things  by Leonora & Arthur Hornblow
Insects A True Book by Illa Podendorf
 
Ladybugby Barrie Watts

Monster Bugs by Lucille Recht Penner

Our Insect Allies  by National Aududon Society

Questions and Answers About Bees .by Betty Polisar Reigot
Quick as a Cricket by Audry Wood

Spiders Spin Webs by Amanda O'Neill

The Big Bug Searchby Caroline Young
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent
The Creepy, Crawly Book by Bobbi Kate
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
The Ladybug and other insects  by Scholastic
The Magic School Bus "Gets Ants in its Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus "Butterflies and the Bog Beast".by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus "Inside a Beehive" by Joanna Cole
The Spider Makes a Web by Joan M. Lezau
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle

What's Inside? Insects by Scholastic
What Is An Insect? by Jenifer W. Day
What Is An Insect? by Robert Snedden
World's Weirdest Bugs .....by M.L.Roberts 
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Some other pages that may interest you are:


Kid's Experiements with Plants and Life Cycles

July 2, 2009 03:07 by Barbara Shelby

 

STUDY LIFE CYCLES!

  • The animal world is full of amazing transformations. Have students experience them first hand through life cycle studies. Hang a Butterfly Rearing Kit in the room so they can observe the day-by-day changes from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

  • For something less familiar, get a LADYBUG Habitat and show them the incredible change from strange alligator-like larvae to the ladybugs we all recognize.)

  • IN THE SPRING, students can search for their own tadpoles and caterpillars.
They will love caring for the live creatures and watching their progress every day. Encourage them to carefully observe and journal about the changes they see.

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***Get a FROG HATCHERY kit! Children can then watch tadpoles grow legs and become frogs.

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CATERPILLARS

All a caterpillar does is eat, so it is very important to collect the leaves that you found it eating for food. Caterpillars COLLECTED IN THE SPRING will finish their cycle in a month or so.
FALL caterpillars will not hatch out of their pupa stage until the following spring.

Make sure that you add a stick to your jar and that you keep a fresh supply of leaves until they have gone into their pupa stage. Leave a wet cotton ball in the jar. They need moisture in order to hatch. After your butterfly or moth has hatched, let it go.

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HATCH A BUTTERFLY GARDEN!
We have started one of the Butterfly Gardens that you can buy in science stores or catalogs. We got ours from amazon.com--- It is a HUGE hit. This is a wonderful experience from 3 to 30!!!

1. The caterpillars arrive in a sealed container with everything they need--all you have to do is observe them.
2.  After a week, we placed the cocoons in the habitat, and out hatched five gorgeous butterflies. We have only had them for two weeks, and the butterflies have tripled in size; they are spinning "silk' that the children like to call cob webs. We'll soon let the Monarchs go...
Tips: If you live where it's cold--be sure to order more towards springtime--I received my order in a couple days. They change very quickly, so watch each day and take photographs! From Sara in Oakbrook

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***Idea: As director of a day care--I find that the children really like taking care of live pets. We have pet hermit crabs in our science area. We care for them and also observe shell changes, molting, and speed of movement. The older children chart the changes and seasons.


There is also an area that has live plants and the children are assigned to water and care for these. Also remember--cooking and baking is science. I think on this site there a reminder that turning "liquid into solids with cooking" is science. We do a lot of cooking with the kids. From pre-k to school age--cooking is scheduled in weekly activities!
From: Jenny in Michigan

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 SPIDER WEBS
For Pre-K to Grade 4.9

  • Have  children describe a spider's web. Probe for how and why a spider makes a web. On chart paper, list  responses. Invite  children to make sketches of a web. Post these on the chart.

  • Help the children research spider webs. Working in small groups,  children compile their findings. Each group decides on changes they would make to the chart The group makes and displays a revised chart. Give each group a copy of "A Spider." Read it to the class and discuss their chart.

A SPIDER POEM to read with above...
It crawled into a corner wall. Around and round it spun. It made a web of silk this big... And it was having fun.
It stopped to watch a tiny fly. Around and round Fly flew,
Then it landed on that sticky web.
With flying, Fly was through!
From your Green Pages: Teaching Pre K-8, Feb 1994

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SUGGESTION: At this point, please visit the Garden/Gardening Theme. There are two pages of wonderful ideas. Most of the below is also in that category with MUCH, MUCH more! (It was written after this page was written) Gardening is also science! The science of Horticulture!

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WORM FARM- HOW WORMS WORK IN THE GARDEN!!!

  • Cut the top off a plastic soda bottle, tape the edge.
  • Pour in 2 inches gravel or stones for drainage (good way to get small rocks out of the yard!)
  • Alternate 2 inches of sand, 2 inches of dirt. (VERY lightly spray the dirt with water)
  • Put a few small pieces of banana peel in the middle for worm food.
  • Continue with layers till top.
  • Add worms. Tape the top back on or cover top with plastic wrap and tape. Either way, put in several air holes.

Tape black construction paper around bottle, and leave for a day or 2 -- try to do this on a Friday. When you take the paper off, you will see the tunnels the worms have made, and the layers will have shifted and mixed. Great way to show how worms work in the garden!  Make sure you check your bottle ecosystems every day; moisten the soil; add more moistened food to the top layer if necessary.

You can also: 1.) Observe your ecosystems and record your observations. 2.) Draw a picture or take a digital photograph of your ecosystems.

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WORMS CAN BE FUN Activity Two

Go to bait and tackle store and buy bait worms. Dump them into two large tubs of dirt and let the children observe them as they dig. The children can use their hands to dig up the worms. If your children a young, have a variety of plastic birds  at the table for pretend feeding.

With the children, TAKE THE WORMS OUTSIDE and put them in the garden at the end of the day. Have a box of baby wipes available for hand washing.

For the complete WORM THEME click here...

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PLANTS...

PLANT GROWTH IN LIGHT VERSUS COMPLETE DARKNESS

Plant two seeds each in their own clean cup with potting soil. Cover one with a black bag or a box over it. Only open it to water it and then re-cover it immediately. Plant the other one and place it near a window or under a grow light.
Ask what the children predict? After 2 weeks---see what happened!

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SPROUTING SPROUTS

 1.  Take a small zip-lock bag and using a needle, punch a few holes in the bottom seam of the bags.
2.  Get some alfalfa or mung bean seeds and place a teaspoon of seeds in each bag.
3.  Zip the bag closed and have children place the bag in a bowl of warm water.
4.  Soak the seeds overnight.
5.  The next day, take the bag out of the water and let it drain; have it sit in indirect sunlight the rest of the day. For the next few days, have children dunk the bags in water for a few seconds and then drain and put back in indirect light. 6.  On the fourth day, have your child set the seeds IN THE SUN.
Have fun watching the sprouts turn green.
7.  BE SURE TO USE THE BEANS! When ready eat the sprouts by sprinkling them on top of a green salad, on a sandwich or on top of cream cheese spread on crackers.

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GREEN BEANS

Have each child plant their own green beans. It's a great way to introduce children to gardening and the connection between food and the earth.

You need is  bean seed, small garden pot (3 inch across) some soil and water. You will also need a place  to put the pot where it will get 4-6 hours of sunlight. Fill the pot with soil; make a small hole using the little finger about 1/4 inche deep--put in the bean-- cover over-- water.

Place the pot in a sunny spot and watch it grow. Be sure the planter has drainage and be sure to place a saucer to catch the excess water.

If children are younger--end the activity with READING JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

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THE MIGHTY SEED

Learn about: exothermic reactions- Observe the power of seeds when you try to limit their growth!
Materials:
Clear plastic cup
5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris
2 or more tablespoons of water, Plastic spoon for mixing, Dropper
3 soybeans

1. Put the plaster of Paris in the plastic cup
2. Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix.
3. Continue to add drops of water until the mixture has the consistency of a very thick milkshake.
4. Push the soybeans into the plaster until they are covered and then smooth the surface.

Now, explore! What do you think will happen to the soybeans? Make regular observations. What happens? Why?

5.  The next day add a tablespoon of water to the cup and continue to make observations. What happens? Why?  What's Going On?

  • Seeds require moisture and warmth to germinate. In this case the seed absorbs moisture from the plaster mixture.
  • As the seed absorbs water it increases in size and applies pressure to the surrounding plaster. This force, combined with the strength of the germinating sprout, causes the plaster to crack and allows the shoot to grow up through the plaster.
  • This strength and ability to grow in adverse conditions allows plants to survive in a wide range of environments.
  • You may also notice that when water is mixed with plaster the cup becomes warm. A chemical reaction which gives off heat like this is known as an "exothermic reaction." Source: cosi.org

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#1 SODA BOTTLE GREENHOUSE...
Materials:
2 clear 2-liter bottles (soda)
Sand
Dirt
Seeds
1.  Cut one bottle so that the bottom is approximately 4" high--this creates the bottom and base of the green house.
2.  Next, cut the second bottle so it's about 9" high this will be the "lid" or top for your house.
3.  Place small aount of potting soil in the bottom of the 4" base.
4.  Add soil and seeds. Water the seeds--- then slip the top over it to create a “greenhouse”.
5.  Put in sunny place and plants will appear in 2-5 days -- depending on the seeds you use.

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#2 SODA BOTTLE GREENHOUSE

 1.) Thoroughly wash and dry the clear plastic bottle. A clear juice bottle or 2-liter soda bottle works. With the scissors, cut all the way around the bottle to carefully remove the top one-third of the bottle.

2.) Place about 1 inch of loose grave in the bottom of the bottle, then add about 3 inches of potting soil.

3.) Make small holes in the dirt and plant the small plants or seedlings in the soil, just deep enough to cover the roots.

4.) Add a few drops of water in the bottle, but do not soak the soil. As the bottle will be almost an enclosed garden only a little bit of water is necessary.

5.) Gently place the top part of the bottle back in place on top of the planted section. Use the wide clear tape to secure the 2 parts of the bottle together. (You may need an extra pair of hands for this part.) Once the sections are back together and in place, if you desire, you can decorate the bottle with sticky-backed ribbon to cover the joint where the bottle sections are taped together.

 6.) Place the green house in a sunny warm location and water only when necessary. You do not need to keep the lid on the bottle as the air and condensation will give the plants all the nutrition they need to grow into healthy, thriving plants. Source: Source:eHow.com

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SWEET POTATO VINE #1
Need: One healthy sweet potato; 2-litre, clear soda bottle; three tooth picks or wooden skewers, water, clean stones or gravel.
Easy Instructions:
1.
  Cut the top off your bottle (start cut with a sharp knife, then use scissors).
2.  Place stones or gravel in bottom of bottle.
3.  Suspend your potato, narrow end down, into the bottle. Use toothpicks, punched into potato and resting on sides of bottle, to hold in place.
4.  Fill bottle with water so that at least half of your potato is submerged.
5.  Your sweet potato vine should show new roots within a week or two. Leafy purple sprouts will appear shortly after. Use a magnifying glass to see tiny root hairs and to examine little sprouts. Ask students to PREDICT what will happen next.

TIP: A sweet potato purchased from a natural foods store or farmers' market may sprout sooner than one from a supermarket--because it's less likely to have been sprayed with a sprout inhibitor.

EXTENSION IDEA:
Before you prepare your experiment, ASK students what plants eat
. The general answer to this question is "nutrients collected from soil by roots." But what about plants grown in water? Students may guess that there are nutrients in what appears to be pure, clear water. Are there enough to support a whole, big plant?

WHAT IS YOUR VINE EATING?

  • A sweet potato is a root tuber, a fleshy root that stores food for a plant and produces adventitious shoots or shoots growing from unusual positions--in this case, out of the sides of the root.
  • What's happening to the potato, itself?  Your vine will continue to grow for months if you are careful to replenish water and/or change it when your bottle becomes cloudy.
  • You may wish to plant your sweet potato outdoors in the spring, after danger of frost. It may not survive but, on the other hand, you may find a small crop of sweet potatoes in the fall.
  • Dig up the plant and use one of the new potatoes to grow another vine.
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SWEET POTATO VINE #2
1.
  Using four toothpicks have child suspend the vegetable on the rim of a jar or mug filled with water.
2.  Make sure the bottom half - the pointed end - is under water.
3.  Place in a sunny spot and change or add water as needed.
4.  In a few days, roots will form below the water. And, two to three weeks later, leaves and stems will sprout from the top.
5.  Continue to grow the plant in water or, after a month or two, pot the sweet potato in a houseplant potting mix.
6.   Keep the soil moist.
7.  The stems are weak, so help children tie them to strings, wire or a stake.
8.  Feed once a month with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20. As the vine grows, cut it back a few inches to force the plant to grow bushy. Some are treated with heat to keep them from sprouting on grocery-store shelves, but most grow roots in a matter of days after being placed in water.

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CARROT TOPS

As the project is written, it is geared to GRADES 6 to 8; however, it can be adapted to ANY grade level.
QUESTION: Can a plant grow from just the top of a carrot?
RESEARCH: What kind of root does a carrot have? Why is the root so big? What is needed for a plant to grow?
HYPOTHESIS: Can the carrot top provide what is needed for the plant to grow?
MATERIALS: Shallow container, 4 carrots

1. Cut about half an inch off the end of the carrot that has the leaves. Cut the leaves off close to the base of the carrot.
2. Put the carrots into the container with the cut side down.
3. Add enough water to cover about half the carrot top.
4. Place the container in a well-lighted window.
5. Observe the carrot tops each day for any changes. Remember the changes may start out small and change slowly. Look for new leaves and roots.
6. Use a metric ruler to measure any growth you may observe.
7. Continue your observations for six days and write your report on the sixth day. For younger children---just have fun observing the carrot, while making observations along the way!

TEACHER/CAREGIVER SECTION FOR CARROTS:
POSSIBLE HYPOTHESIS:
No growth will occur since the carrot is not living-OR Leaves will grow since even this small part of the plant is still living.
POSSIBLE CONCLUSION: The carrot top should show some new growth each day. The student should discuss the possible reasons for the growth.
Adapted from Judy Schneider

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CARNATION SCIENCE
Here is a great little "science" project that will amaze younger children.
1.  Get a white carnation.
2.  Leave it out of water to 1 - 2 hours until it starts to wilt a bit.
3.  Cut 1" from the stem.
4.  Place carnation in red-colored (or other color) water made by adding red food coloring to water. Cover 6" of stem with water. Observe what happens to the carnation.

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RED WHITE AND BLUE CARNATIONS...
Make tie-dyed looking red, white and blue carnations. These flowers look great for any red-white & blue theme!.
You’ll Need:
2 glasses
Water
Red and blue food coloring
White carnations
Green thread
1.  Pour water into a glass of water. Add 7 to 8 drops of red food coloring to the glass.
2.  Pour water into another glass and add 7 to 8 drops of blue food coloring to the glass.
3.  Cut the stem of a white carnation lengthwise. This will make the carnation stem into two thin stems.
4.  Set the two glasses of colored water together. Put half of the stem of the carnation into the red water and the other half into the blue water.
5.  Let the carnation sit for a few hours. The carnation will begin to change gradually into red and blue.
6.  Take the flower out of the mixture in just a few hours before the colors can change the white carnation entirely. You want it so that some of the white is still on the carnation.
7.  Wrap the stems together with green thread and place the carnation into a clear vase of water. Make several flowers and show off your beautiful red, white and blue flowers in a vase.

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OSMOTIC CELERY...

Cut the bottom of celery stalks and set them in glasses of tinted water (using food coloring); the longer the stalks are in water, the deeper the color will be. The stalks will absorb the color and then the kids can eat them!

ANOTHER CELERY IDEA: HOLIDAY COLORS AND FOOD...

  • Discuss the colors of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or a coming-up holiday with the children.

  • Take a stalk of celery and slice it up the center leaving it connected at the top. Place the celery stalk in two containers of colored water. Example: Put one side in red, and the other in orange. Leave it for a day or two and watch how the veins in the celery turn color as it takes up the water. You can also include a discussion of plant life with this activity.

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GROWING POPCORN IN A BAGGIE
Instructions: Take a plastic zip-loc baggie, put cotton balls in it and saturate cotton balls with water. Put popcorn kernels into the bag, seal it and tape to a window. Add water as needed and watch the plants grow. Transfer to potting soil later.

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MAKE A TERRARIUM

A terrarium is a sort of living landscape inside an enclosed plastic container or jug.
To start, put a layer of pebbles or charcoal at the bottom of the container for drainage.
Cover that with two inches of topsoil.
Add a few rocks, some twigs or branches, moss,and small plants.
Moisten the terrarium with water, but don't overdo it.
Cover the opening with a sheet of plastic wrap.

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WONDERFUL IDEA! PLANT A CIRCLE OF TREES...
In the January issue of Exchange, Rusty Keeler contributed the article, "A Spring Playscape Project: Building a Tree Circle", which he introduces with...  "If you are dreaming of adding nature to your yard, this project may be perfect for you. The Tree Circle is a green gathering area for children made by planting trees in a circle."

  • For children, the Tree Circle becomes a magical place for dramatic play, quiet retreat, or lively nature exploration.
  • For teachers and parents it becomes a shady grove for snacks and stories.

The trees create a sweet spot that changes during the seasons and grows over time. A beautiful addition to a child’s life — and yours too!" You can read the instructions of the tree circle in its entirety. Click here
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OUTDOOR GARDEN
Here's a good idea if you can't dig up a plot for a garden!
   1.  Get a a small swimming pool and be sure to punch holes for drainage.
   2.  Fill with dirt---plant seeds, or small flowers, water, fertilize and watch the flowers grow!
   3.  The kids will love to work their "garden"

  • With container gardening you control the soil and drainage; you can avoid most garden pests.
  •  In 3- to 5-gallon pots, you can grow beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, corn, broccoli, cabbage, kale, leeks and even melons.
  • Pots as small as 4- to 6-inches are fine for growing peas (choose shorter peas, ones that grow to about a foot), lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.
  • Choose medium size pots for beets, eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Of course, all of your pots will need plenty of sun and water.

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Continue on to the Gardening Theme pages... It's the Science of Horticulture...

Science Categories...

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