I pulled out the Bug manipulatives and props for some Spring learning. Before using any new manipulative with children (especially preschoolers), it is important to let them have some time to explore and use them in a free play setting. Let them have fun discovering, then use them in more structured learning later. It is fascinating to see that they will sort, pattern, count, and label things all on their own.
I found some fun bug catcher sets at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. They have a little magnifying glass on the top, a pair of tweezers and a mini net. I added them to the pile of bugs to explore. Mr. One and Two started off just throwing the bugs at one another, scaring each other, with lots of screaming, laughing and crying. At that point, the bugs got a time out.
A few days later, I got them out again for Mr. Two and the little three year old I babysit part-time. They got out the pots and pans and had a grand time sorting, counting, naming and playing with the bugs.
Bug soup, anyone?
In the next few days, I hope to do some more structured learning with our little buggy friends.
If you are interested in where I found my bug collection, many of them came from Oriental Trading Company (here and here), and others were found during visits to dollar stores, Target dollar spot, etc. Oriental trading also has a fun assortment of foam bug shapes, beads, tongs, magnifying glasses, and more that would be great to add to your collection.