Easy craft for kids: Using ladybug cutouts to learn about measurements

Ladybugs can captivate a child’s learning experience about insects. These tiny little bugs are amazing creatures of nature. Many children would even be more amazed to learn that they can keep plants healthy by eating plant pests like aphids.

Ladybugs are wonders of nature. Some children may like to hold them in their hands and observe their wings and spots. They may even live right in their own backyard.

Other wonderful ways to learn about ladybugs is through art and crafts. Here, children can learn about measurements. You’ll be able to explore about ladybugs by using household items and coloring.

Ladybug

Materials:

  • Ladybug pattern
  • Red construction paper
  • Black crayon
  • Safety scissors
  • Safe household items

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Instructions:

  1. Printout the ladybug pattern available in the science section.
  2. Trace them onto red construction paper.
  3. Use red construction paper to make 12 ladybugs.
  4. Make simple spots and markings with black crayons.
  5. Optional: color them a different shade of red
  6. Cut them out with safety scissors.
  7. Use as many ladybugs as possible to measure different household items: spoons, spatulas, CD cases
  8. Use ladybugs to measure arms, hands, legs.
  9. Compare and discuss the findings.

Which are bigger or smaller? How many ladybugs did it take to make certain measurements? Use the ladybug patterns to also learn about concepts like half-dozen and dozen.

Concepts like math are not limited to counters or coins. Many simple items like ladybug cutouts are perfect for children to grasp addition and subtraction.

Did you have fun counting these ladybugs?

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Fun facts about honey bees

How often do children exclaim to parents or educators that honeybees only have the ability to sting when they observe them in parks or backyards? Although it is a fact that they have this defense mechanism, these bees present a much more amazing contribution to nature than stinging.

What are they?

They are part of the Apis genus and mostly considered to manufacture honey. They have the typical characteristics of insects such as head, thorax and abdomen. Honeybees also possess 4 wings that allow them to fly about 15 miles per hour.

These organized insects can be grouped into 3 main categories: a Queen Bee, a Drone Bee and a Worker Bee. The Queen is the only bee able to fertilize eggs during reproduction. Only one bee exists per hive. A hive is the home of bees. A Queen can live up to 5 years and is able to lay up to 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day. It will mate with several male bees or drones.

Drones are the male bees capable of giving sperm to the Queen. There are approximately 300 to 3,000 drones in a single hive. They do not have a stinger. They live for about 90 days. And they are expelled from the hive during the winter season to conserve food resources.

Worker honeybees are infertile females. They can live up to 9 months during the winter and 6 weeks during the summer. Their main function is to collect nectar and pollen to produce honey for the hive. They also protect the hive from intruders and feed the Queen. Worker bees have a stinger, and they can only use it once. After stinging, the bee dies. There can be as much as 30,000 bees in winter and 80,000 bees in summer in a hive.

How do they make honey and other products?

Bees manufacture honey by using the harvested nectar from flowers. They will ingest and regurgitate the nectar several times and deposit it on the honeycombs. Honeycombs are hexagonal inserts in the hive. Then Worker bees will use their wings to fan the moisture out of the nectar to prevent fermentation. Amazingly, honeybees can visit about 2 million flowers to produce one pound of honey.

On the other hand, pollen harvested by the bees is used as protein source for the colony. The hind legs of bees usually carry it. Other products manufactured by bees are beeswax and propolis or bee glue.

Why are they important for pollination?

Besides producing honey and other goods, honeybees are essential organisms for pollination. Because they can carry pollen across 55,000 miles or more, these powerful insects can deposit numerous amounts of pollen. Experts believe that they function in about 80% of the pollination process. In fact, without them, many foods would not exist.

They are so important in pollination that Worker bees can encounter up to 100 flowers in a single trip. In recent years, honeybee populations are decreasing possibly due to agricultural pesticides, climate change and urbanization.

Beekeepers in the United States and around the world are committed to protect and educate about honeybees. There are approximately 212,000 beekeepers in the United States and 2.68 million honey hives.

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Learning insect variety while exploring science with kids

Some may have wings, others antenna, and some may have little spots. But they all have something in common: they are insects and they are tiny. Most of them rest on trees, bushes, flowers, or water.

Bugs are often found in many places around the home, parks and other sites. These small insects, whether friendly or not, live in many different habitats. But do we know how many of these different species of insects are around?

For instance, you might find flies, praying mantis, beetles, treehoppers, and ants crawling, hopping on trees or bushes.  These tiny little bugs have long legs to help them jump from one branch to another.

Other bugs like butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and ladybugs like to swiftly fly to get around. They don’t need long legs to get around since they have beautiful wings to help them travel from one place to another. Actually, they have tiny little legs. However, they are some bugs such as bees and wasps that can fly from one flower to another but they also sting as a way to defend themselves from predators.

Insects have special physical characteristics that make them unique. They have three particular parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. Every little insect has these specific characteristics. But they differ in size, color, and shape between species.

Where do you find bugs? These special bugs like crickets, mosquitoes, and often grasshoppers can be seen on ponds, lakes, and rivers. Many of these bugs need a water source to survive. Other bugs like to nest in hives or bushes.

Hence, these bugs are often seen hopping along or flying about a water source. Did you know that antenna in some of these bugs are for detecting the surroundings in their environment? If you observe closely, you might see antenna on butterflies, bees, and ants.

Magnifying glasses are powerful tools to explore insects in their natural habitat. They provide an amazing opportunity to enlarge the vision of what you see. If you have a science journal, it is also a magnificent way to jot down the insects you can encounter.

Are you ready to explore? Just remember that whenever you explore nature, be kind to the life you find and always have an adult with you at all times. Remember you’re exploring their little homes in nature and we don’t want to disturb their living space. Of course, as good explorers, you should always write down your findings on your science journal or you can use the free worksheet found in the science section.

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