There are several ways for your little one to practice their fine motor skills. For this activity, your little one used their pincer grasp to help them understand how a spider web works!
Before starting this activity, your little one learned about how a spider builds a web! If you’ve ever seen a new home being built, you know that the workers use wooden boards to frame the house. Instead of boards, spiders produce silk threads to build their webs.
The silk is produced in silk glands with the help of the spider’s spinnerets. Spinnerets are special organs that allow the spider to decide what type of thread it needs for the web. The silk threads can be thick or thin, dry or sticky, beaded or smooth. The threads a spider uses to construct its web begin as liquid, but they dry quickly in the air.
Using string, sticks and play dough, we created our own webs, and then your little ones attached spiders to a web that Miss Carrie made using string and a hula hoop!
A lacework of bees hanging together, leg-to-leg, between the frames of comb is called a “festoon” and the behavior is called “festooning.” The bees hang in sheets within the hive. A festoon is often only one layer thick, and the design is open and airy. Beekeepers have lots of explanations for this behavior. Some say the structure acts like a scaffolding from which the bees build comb, and some say bees can only produce wax from the festooning position. Scientists, however, are much less confident about the function of festooning. Most agree that there is no known function. To help you little ones learn about this concept, we created our own wall of bees!
Using a colander and black pipe cleaners, we made our very own bees. With their fingers, each child laced the pipe cleaners through the colander’s holes.
This activity developed your little one’s fine motor skills, improved hand eye coordination and concentration, and most importantly, kept your little one happily amused! They were also directed to place a predetermined amount of pipe cleaners through each hole.
The number we have been focusing on this week is eight, and so each child practiced counting from one to eight and from eight back down to one, placing one pipe cleaner in the colander at a time, and counting aloud as they did so.
When honey bees seek out nectar and pollen to make honey with, they visit many different types of flowers, including clover, dandelions, goldenrod, fruit trees, and milkweed. Once at the flower, the worker bee drinks as much nectar as she can hold. When she gets back to the hive, she passes the nectar on to another worker. This worker holds the nectar on her tongue until the water evaporates (leaves the nectar to go back into the air).
She is left with honey on her tongue, which is stored in the hive. To help your little ones understand how this works, we used turkey basters, real flowers, and yellow water to move “nectar” from our “flowers” to a beehive created out of chalk and yellow tape. The purpose of this activity was to suck up the yellow water from the flowers, and use it to make the chalk disappear!
This activity incorporated several developmental tasks. It enabled your little one to formulate ideas based on quantity and space. It also helped your little ones understand how bees obtain pollen from flowers that they take back to their hives. Lastly, by transferring the liquid among the different compartments, your little was given the opportunity to estimate how much should be poured onto our chalk beehive to make the hexagons disappear.
Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration encourages children to solve problems in real situations. Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management.
For example, it is easier to understand what six means when applied to a real-life task such as finding six beads to string on a necklace or placing one cracker on each of six plates. It is for this reason that we used baby jars, the color yellow, and numbers to practice our counting, adding, and subtracting. To fit this into our bug theme, we used baby jars painted yellow, and numbered 1-5.
These symbolized a beehive that your little ones made by stacking them on top of each other. They started by stacking the jars in no particular order. Once they mastered this task, they stacked them (while counting out loud) with the number one on the bottom and the number five on the top. Then they stacked them with the number five on the bottom and the number five on the top. Next, they practiced adding and subtracting different jars and counting them.
In the spring, when the flowers start blooming and the bees start buzzing, it’s a great time to learn about counting! This was a super fun beehive fine motor and counting activity for your little ones to practice their fine motor and early math skills!
While enjoying this activity, students picked up yellow hexagon-shaped pipe cleaners out of the beehive with a bee clip and collected them in an ice cube tray. This was a fun way for your children to work on their fine motor skills. Activities using the hands and fingers to grab, pick, and pinch will develop fine motor strength and skills. Using a variety of fine motor tools with any activity, such as tweezers and grabbers, helps children move their small hand muscles in different ways to strengthen them and to practice coordination.
These skills will be essential for preschoolers when they begin to use pencils to draw and write later. This activity was also a fun early math activity. By selecting a pre-determined number (in this case, 6), your mathematicians practiced counting and one-to-one correspondence while placing the bumblebees in their ice cube trays.
Insects are an integral part of our everyday world, having existed for over 300 million years; they are the most common animal on our planet, and there are more types of them than every other animal combined. Insects and other critters are crucial to plant life—aerating the soil, depositing nutrients, eating other animals that harm plants— but because of their often creepy reputation, they tend to be overlooked in the classroom.
Bees, specifically, are much more important than many people realize. They not only create delicious honey, but are responsible for the pollination of new plants. Without them, Earth with be a barren place. To help stimulate curiosity in our future bee enthusiasts, your little ones observed real deceased bees with a magnifying glass. Doing so educated your budding entomologists about the importance of honey bees in our lives and the need to understand and embrace them through their continued sustainability.
Exposure to insects and small garden animals promotes focused observation and data collection. In addition, children can practice using the tools needed to gather and convey new discoveries. They can use the language of measurement; compare, contrast, and classify; and engage in the charting and graphing of eating and growth patterns as they interact with and care for their critters.
Exploring insects and small garden creatures in the classroom addresses National Science Education Standards by allowing children to develop a concrete understanding of the characteristics of common organisms, gain knowledge about life cycles, and acquire insight into how animals and the environment work as a system.