Inside: 25+ exciting insect activities for preschoolers. Arts & crafts, songs, observation activities, printables, and more! Build skills and foster a sense of wonder in the natural world.
I leaned back and gazed up at the sky. Hundreds of monarch butterflies soared above me – but I wanted to see one up close.
Something moved in my peripheral vision. I turned and watched a pair of butterflies flutter toward me. Without thinking, I reached out my arm. My eyes widened as the butterflies came to rest on my hand.
I looked at my mom. The corners of my mouth pulled up into a smile. She snapped a photo before the butterflies flew back into the sky.
This vivid memory from childhood has stuck with me – and so has the feeling of wonder. Many years later, I’m devoted to sharing that wonder – and love of nature – with my kids.
Insect Activities for Preschoolers
Kids are naturally drawn to insects. They love to see bees buzzing in the flowers, chase butterflies, and watch ants go marching by.
Below is a collection of insect activity ideas that build on that interest and curiosity. They strengthen fine motor, pre-literacy, and science process skills.
Plus, these activities foster a sense of wonder in the natural world.
Scroll down to discover insect books, songs, printables, and more to enjoy with your kids!
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What is an Insect?
This video is a great place to get started. Learn what an insect is – and what it is not!
Kids can learn so much by observing insects firsthand. Here are three fun ways to get you started!
Backyard insect hunt. Grab a critter carrier and go on a bug hunt. Remind your kids to ask before touching – since some bugs can bite. Take time to observe each critter you find. Is it an insect? Or another type of creature? How does it move? Can you move like the bug you found?
Raise butterflies. Raise your own caterpillars and watch them transform into butterflies! This butterfly garden kit is a fun and easy way to watch the magic first hand. Ours has gotten a lot of use over the years.
Make a Ladybug Habitat. This is an activity I’ve come back to year after year – first with my daycare, and now with my kids. Keep ladybugs in your home to observe and care for before releasing them into the wild. See all the details here.
These insect theme printables build literacy, math, and visual discrimination skills.
Ant Mazes. These ant themed printable mazes from Tot Schooling are a fun fine motor activity.
Insects in a Jar. Practice counting by rolling a die and capturing cute printable insects. Find the printable at The Measured Mom.
Insect I Spy and Graphing. Hunt for insects and record your results with this printable from School Time Snippets.
Butterfly Memory. Practice matching, or play butterfly-themed memory with these beautiful cards. Get the printable at Prekinders.
5 Little Ladybugs Rhyme. My kids love to count the ladybugs as we read this fun ladybug rhyme. Grab the printable here.
Insect Arts & Craft Ideas
These insect arts and craft ideas invite children to explore, create, and play.
Insect Track Painting. What happens when your toy bug scuttles across paint and paper? See details at No Time for Flash Cards.
Insect Collage. Once you’re done with the I Spy printable, cut out the insects and arrange them into a collage. Add fresh leaves and small twigs for extra fun.
Build a Bug. Set out glue and paper shapes. Sit back and watch what your child creates. Learn how at What We Can Do With Paper and Glue.
Symmetrical Butterflies. Check out these beautiful symmetrical butterflies at Happy Hooligans. All you need to make your own is paint, scissors, and a paper plate.
Insect Songs and Movement Activities
Sing, move, and learn about insects through music!
Head Thorax Abdomen
Move along to Head, Thorax, Abdomen by Johnette Downing, and learn about the parts of an insect.
Flight of the Bumble Bee.
Buzz around like bumblebees to Flight of the Bumble Bee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Set up colorful pillows to represent flowers and create a “hive” to go home to.
Sing this simple hand song about beautiful butterflies with your kids.
Act out the life of a butterfly to the Butterfly Waltz by Brian Crain. Start as an egg on a leaf. Munch leaves like a caterpillar. Spin a chrysalis, and finally, fly like butterflies.
Here is the Beehive
Here is the Beehive is a fun counting rhyme to share with younger children. Kids love the “buzz!” at the end.
Picture Books About Insects
Reading is a great way to learn about insects. Here are few favorite picture books to get your started.
Alphabet of Insects by Barbie Heit Schwaeber
This scientifically accurate book includes rhymes, facts, and beautiful illustrations. Learn about insects from Aphid to Zebra Caterpillar!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle
This widely loved book takes kids on a journey from egg to caterpillar to butterfly.
From Caterpillar to Butterfly By Deborah Heiligman
This story follows children raising caterpillars in their classroom. A perfect story to read if you are raising your own.
Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
Kids love to count ladybugs down from 10 to 1 with this fun rhyming book.
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
Follow a baby cricket as it learns how to sing – meeting several bugs along the way.
Honey in a Hive By Anne Rockwell
Learn how and why honey bees make sweet honey. This book has plenty of factual information for curious kids!
More Fun Insect Activities for Preschoolers
Honey tasting. Did you know that the type of flowers bees gather pollen from effects the flavor of their honey? Do a honey tasting and compare a few different flavors. According to the CDC honey is unsafe for children under 12 months old.
Listen to insect sounds. See insect photos and listen to their sounds. This 4 minute video includes many common insects you may see (and hear) near your home.
Insect sensory bin. Make a simple sensory bin with plastic insects, tweezers, and a magnifying glass. See an example at Parenting Chaos.
Insect fossils. Make insect “fossils” in playdough for your child to explore. Details at Plain Vanilla Mom.
Spider web rescue. Use tweezers to save plastic insects from a spider web. Learn how at Happy Toddler Playtime.
Use these insect activities to build skills and create happy memories together. Which one will you try first?