Reading and Writing Adventures: Bugs in Your Backyard!

Reading and Writing Adventures: Bugs in Your Backyard!

By Brenda Hyde

Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your kids. It prepares them for their future, it encourages them to be creative, to use their imaginations and it's quality time that you spend with them as they grow. It's fun to have theme days where your day revolves around a central theme for reading, snacks and activities. Backyard bugs are fascinating to kids and this theme works well for toddlers as well as older kids. They all love bugs!

Visit the library and find both informational books such as the Eyewitness series of books from DK Publishing, Very Busy Spider and picture books that use bugs as characters. (Eric Carle books are great). I simply browse the shelves of the picture book section, and look for titles that have colorful pictures, and medium length text that we can easily read aloud. Recently we read Over in the Garden by Jennifer Ward, which was perfect and even a bit interactive, which kept everyone's attention.

Pick a nice day and start out by reading a few pages from the informational book and one of the picture books. Next take the kids outside in search of bugs! Have them peek under the plants for spiders, roly polies, ants and other insects. If you have field books on insects (the small Golden Guides are great) have them sketch and identify the bugs. Then it's time for a snack:

Mix together:

Crushed graham crackers or crushed Oreos (dirt/sand)

chocolate sprinkles (ants)

raisins (beetles)

red hots (ladybugs)

Place some of each ingredients in a plastic snack bag. Serve with some type of green juice drink (grass juice!) and send them out in the backyard for a break!

After the break read more informational pages out of the nature books or field guides. Talk about insects...let them ask questions...then read another picture book.

Crafts are a great thing to break up the day and it allows the kids to be creative. Try this easy bug craft:

Make Your Own Bugs

You'll need:

egg cartons



scrap fabric, wiggle eyes, chenille stems or any left over craft supplies--the tinier the better!

Ahead of time cut the egg carton sections apart. Cut some single...some double, and some using three egg sections or more. The idea is that they can use the egg section as the "body" of the insect and use the scraps to put on the details.

When they are finished have each child write a story about their "bug". If they are too young to write, then have them draw pictures of what they think their "bug" would do out in the yard.

When the day is done staple all the sketches and the stories or drawings into a book. Date it, give it a title and a cover page. Have one of the children make a list of all the books that were read and include that in their book as well. You can do this with other nature themes such as birds, butterflies, dinosaurs, gardening or various wildlife.

About the Author:

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer, editor and owner of Old Fashioned She is also a wife and mom to three children who love to read.

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