Creepy Crawly Unit: Montessori inspired bug activities

This week, I created several bug activities for toddlers (or pres-schoolers). I have to admit that bugs, spiders, and generally ‘icky’ things are not my favourite. I used to have an unbelievable fear of spiders that usually involved screaming and then running away into another room because it could eat me. Ahhem, while I no longer am scared that a tiny spider would cause me certain harm {although some can be dangerous!}, I still don’t really like bugs.
However, this unit was awesome! I was too uncomfortable putting the printables together and helping Mr. Toddler expand his vocabulary. Actually, I was very pleased with how these bug activities turned out and Mr. Toddler was just as pleased to work on them. I mean, the boy chose his works over playing with his cars during free play. Now that means they just have to be good!
With Halloween approaching, I decided to expand these works beyond just bugs, but also included spiders, bats, and other animals that seem Halloween-y to me. Regardless, we had a lot of educational fun!
Here’s what we did:
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Arts and crafts

I have been really enjoying preparing simple invitations to art for my son. I gather a few materials that go along with our theme. In this case. it was googly eyes, a spider and rat figurine, glitter, and paint.
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers
Mr. Toddler can focus on his art for up to an hour, albeit half of that time he spends wiping off his hands if he gets one teensy drop of paint on them. Regardless, this more open ended approach to arts and crafts has really been working for us.Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

I had initially thought that he could use the figurines to stamp the paper, but he wasn’t interested in them, which was fine and he had a lot of fun anyway!

Math

Number cards

There are several fun ways to use number cards! Here are a few ideas you can try out!
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Ask child to layout number cards and place corresponding quantity of manipulatives underneath each card.

 

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

 

Ask child to match the written word to the number quantity/image.

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Ask child to lay out the number cards in order largest to smallest, smallest to largest, skip counting, etc.

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Present blank pieces of paper in one bowl, and ask child to write each number in or out of order.

1 to 1 correspondence

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Patterning

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Practical life

Water transfer
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers
Spooning practice
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Letter recognition

Beginning sound wallet work

This was definitely a favourite this week! Mr. Toddler loved pulling out the cards from his wallet and learning new words! I really enjoyed helping him to build his vocabulary, and also that this work tied in a practical life component. The wallet has a zipper and a few snaps, which definitely caught his attention.
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

I put the image of the insect on each card, along with the beginning letter. Mr. Toddler has been asking me to review his letters with him every single day, which is why I was inspired to add the beginning sound to each card. He was really excited to pull out each of the cards (fine motor and practical life practice), and attempt to read the letters.

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Alternative: 
For older children, you can have them try writing the name of each insect and then check their work on the back of the card.
We have actually done this activity before, but Mr. Toddler has been asking to practice his letters so much that I brought them out again!

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Pre-reading cards
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

I helped Mr. Toddler with this one, and laid out all of the environments (the cards on the right). Mr. Toddler had to match them to the critters/bugs (the cards on the left, consisting of a spider, bee, and caterpillar). We had observed all of these outside many times, which is why I chose to use these three particular bugs/critters/etc.

Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

Sensory, fine motor, and pre-reading all in one!

This activity was so, so much fun! Firstly, I have to admit that I am really pleased with how these pre-reading cards turned out. Mr. Toddler definitely enjoyed them and I have seen him really flourish in his speech!
Bug activities for toddlers: creepy crawly Halloween unit by Welcome to Mommyhood #montessoriInspired, #montessori, #BugactivitiesfForToddlers

For this particular work, I presented the ‘creepy crawly’ cards as well as a mini sensory bin consisting of black beans and various bugs and Halloween-y animals like bats, spiders, etc.

Mr. Toddler had to search for the creatures in the bucket and match them to the pre-reading cards. It was a great way to work on vocabulary (repeating the names of the bugs/etc), fine motor skills (pincer grasp by digging out the bugs), and a sensory experience (digging through the black beans).

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