Friday, November 13, 2009

Science for Preschool - Caterpillars and Butterflies

It is a fact that preschoolers are fascinated by insects and bugs. I use this curiosity to create some of my lessons for science for preschool.

Yes, some may be frightened initially but the fascination and curiosity usually takes over and they love learning about them. I find that starting with bugs such as caterpillars is the perfect and introduces them to the wonders of science and nature.

For circle time, gather together and talk about the life cycle of a butterfly--start with egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and then butterfly. You could read to them as well. I like the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle or From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman.

Magical Transformation
From caterpillar to butterfly-Give every child a paper tube to decorate any way they please. Once they have finished, glue on 2 black dots for eyes, attach a pipe cleaner antenna. Also have the eyes facing you and glue a small loop to the opposite side of the tube so they can be hung in a window.

Have the children place the tubes into plastic grocery bags to represent the chrysalis. Next cut out wings from clear contact paper and give each child a pair. Have them attach glitter and pieces of tissue paper to decorate the wings leaving a small piece of the protective paper still on the contact paper so you can peel later to attach to the tube. Peel the piece of protective paper off of the wings and attach them to the paper tubes in the bags while kids are enjoying their snacks or after they have gone home for the day.

Ask the children what they think has happened to their caterpillars from yesterday’s “Magical Transformation” activity. Let them open the paper bags and witness the magical transformation for themselves. Explain again the basics of the transition from caterpillar to butterfly.

Reasoning skills
Talk about the magical transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly. Find out where they think the wings come from. Ask if there are any other magical transformations they can think of in nature, like acorn to tree or egg to chicken.

Art Activity
Butterfly footprints and hands mural- let the children dip their feet in shallow dishes of washable paint, and have them place footprints on a big white piece of paper and have the hand prints go the other way. Leave a bit of space between the left and right foot for the body of the butterfly. After the paint has dried, let the children decorate the footprints and hand prints to resemble butterflies with paint and markers, and display the mural in the classroom for the remainder of the week.

If you like these activities for science for preschool, check out the other ideas in the Preschool Planner.

There are Two Editions now for the Preschool Planner: Basic or Platinum.

Send me any ideas you would like to share and I will post them on my Blog.


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