While creepy crawlies may give you the willies, preschoolers are often fascinated with all things bug related. Instead of leaving bug learning in the science section of your activity plans, get creative and introduce insects into dramatic play. Dramatic play activities, whether buggy or not, provide the perfect opportunity for little learners to express their creativity and learn about early literacy concepts such as story, vocabulary and sequence.
1. Puppet Play
Dramatic play doesn't always mean that your child assumes a character herself. Sometimes preschoolers can use props such as puppets to make up imaginative characters. Help your preschooler learn about bugs by creating a dramatic puppet play. This doesn't mean that you need to go out and buy fancy lady bugs, butterflies and spider puppets. Instead, use paper plates, markers and craft sticks for homemade stick puppets or reuse old socks as hand puppets.
2. Book-based Plays
Instead of always making up your own story, try acting out a favorite bug-themed book. For example, read Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" with your child (or children). Hand out roles to your child, her siblings and friends such as the caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly. Re-read the book aloud with each cast member acting out her own part. Stage the bug-themed play in your living room for Dad and the grandparents or have a backyard show for the whole neighborhood.
3. Dramatic Play and Movement
One of the key parts of dramatic play is movement. Think about your child just standing there, not moving, but making up a story to tell. It sounds pretty boring, and surely is pretty boring to your preschooler. Instead, help your child get active and make some bug-inspired moves during her dramatic play. Ask your child to pretend that she is moving like different bugs. Flutter like a butterfly, crawl like an ant and wiggle like a worm.
4. Dress Up
Add to your preschooler's bug-themed dramatic play with some cool and creative costumes. You don't have to run out to the nearest costume store or even resurrect last year's Halloween outfits for this fun-filled activity. Use your child's own clothes, add a few embellishments and design some props to make all kinds of insects. For example, dress up your child in a black and yellow shirt, black pants and a headband with pipe cleaners and pom poms glued to the top to make a bee suit. Have your child buzz around, acting out a bee story while she wears her new outfit.
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