Need a fun play dough activity for your bug theme? Your little learners will absolutely love this insect play dough activity! This play dough activity is the perfect addition to a Spring unit or celebration in your classroom. Your Preschool or Pre-K students will have a blast exploring and creating butterflies, ladybugs, and more with this hands-on play dough activity!
Bug Play Dough Activity
At first glance, it’s easy to think that play dough is just for fun and doesn’t have any academic value, but playing with dough has plenty of educational benefits!
Giving young children opportunities to use play dough daily helps them develop important creativity and fine motor skills in fun and playful ways. Just rolling dough and putting buttons and pipe cleaners into dough has so many educational benefits for young children.
Making bugs with play dough is a great introduction to life science. If your students have been exposed to books or activities about insects already, they may use that knowledge to help them make their play dough bugs. (Check out this insect book list.)
You could also include pictures of bugs and insects to go along with your play dough invitation. Looking at the pictures will provide your little learners with the opportunity to look at the cards and use them as a visual guide, if they choose to use them at all. For example, when they look at a picture of a ladybug, they may decide to use the red play dough to make a ladybug and then add black buttons to represent spots. They may look to see how many legs a ladybug has and count the number of pipe cleaners they need.
Bug Play Dough Invitation
Here’s a list of supplies you may choose to use when setting up a fun and inviting bug theme play dough invitation in your own classroom.
- Play dough in a variety of colors including red, yellow, and green (here’s my favorite play dough recipe)
- Pictures of insects
- Pipe cleaners
- Wiggly eyes
- Colorful buttons
- Butterfly cookie cutter
- Play dough tools (optional)
These are just suggestions, you can use whatever supplies you prefer or have available in your classroom or home.
To create options for your kids to add legs and antennae, cut your pipe cleaners into pieces. Then, place all of the materials on a tray for your kids to investigate and explore.
Making Bugs with Play Dough
This activity is a great way for preschoolers to explore, create, and develop fine motor skills while learning about insects!
Start by setting up your bug play dough invitation on a chip and dip tray, you can usually find these types of chip and dip trays at your local dollar store. These trays are visually appealing, but you can use any tray or flat container you have available.
Bug Play Dough Tray
There’s no right or wrong way to use the materials, play dough invitations are supposed to be open-ended experiences. Start by inviting your little learners to explore the materials on the tray.
As they begin to build and create with the play dough and materials on the tray, their creativity and imaginations will begin to take over. When young children are engaged in activities that invite them to be creative and use their imaginations, their attention spans are being expanded naturally. Think about how much your kids can benefit from increased attention spans!
If you’re wondering what you should do if your kids want to use just some of the materials and not others, don’t worry. The answer is simple, just let them choose!
Playing with dough should be an open-ended activity without any set expectations. If your kids don’t want to use the pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes, or buttons in the dough, no problem. It’s all about the process of creating with the materials. Let your kids choose what to do with the dough and materials, you’ll be surprised at how creative they can be when given a chance!
More Insect Ideas
Insect Science: Ant Life Cycle Craft – This preschool science activity involves creating an ant life cycle craft and would be a wonderful addition to any insect themed learning experience at home or in the classroom!
Insect Alphabet Matching Game – Learning about insects is a perfect springtime theme for preschoolers. This insect alphabet matching activity will allow your children to look closely at the characteristics of insects and help your preschoolers learn uppercase and lowercase letters.
Insect Counting Cards – This simple insect counting activity that your preschoolers will love.Both games provided will support number recognition, counting skills, and sequencing.
Printable Insect Classification Activity- Learning about insects is a fun way to celebrate the spring season! This activity involves classifying insects and animals using hands-on materials to accompany one of my favorite children’s books.