Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cut Paper & Painting - Bugs in Their Habitats

The children construct bugs with paper and glue, paint their habitats, and attach the bugs to be three-dimensional. For ages 3 to 6. Plan 3 sessions. 

  • Looking at bugs (insects and arachnids) and their habitats
  • Working with scissors and glue
  • Planning use of the whole paper
insects, arachnids, habitat, three-dimensional

  • Neutral-colored construction paper, approximately 12 by 15 inches (one per child)
  • Construction paper for cutting 
  • A scrap paper bin with a collection of leftover papers from past projects (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Slightly dampened sponges for wiping fingers while gluing
  • Tempera paints
  • Brushes for painting
  • Containers of water for rinsing brushes
  • Sponges for drying brushes
  • Flat-surfaced Styrofoam cut into roughly one-inch squares
  • White glue
  • Small containers for white glue
  • Inexpensive brushes for applying glue
  • Pictures of bugs for discussion
First Session
  • Set out the construction paper for cutting.
  • Set out the glue sticks and scissors.
  • Have pictures of bugs available for discussion.
How to Begin
  • Explain to the children that, in this session, they will be making bugs using paper and glue. In the next session, they will be painting the habitats or places where the bugs can be found.
  • While looking at the pictures of bugs, discuss the three main parts of their bodieshead, thorax, and abdomen. Point out examples such as ladybugs, where the body parts are hidden by the wings. Explain that insects have six legs and two feelers, while arthropods, or spiders, have four legs and no feelers. Discuss other characteristics such as stingers, mandibles, and the distinctive patterns on individual bugs. 
  • Tell the children that they will be sharing the colored paper on their tables to make their insects. Each child should start by choosing one color of paper. When finished cutting from it, he or she should return the paper to the middle of the table for someone else to use, and then choose another color. Assure the children that there is more of each color if needed. (A scrap paper bin is fun to search through for special or unusual colors.)
  • Show the children how to use scissors by putting the thumb in the small hole and two to three fingers in the large hole. With the blade of the scissors opened wide, place the paper deep into the opening, taking advantage of the whole blade when cutting.
  • Demonstrate how to attach two pieces of paper with glue by applying glue to the smaller paper and pressing it together with the larger paper. Warn the children that it doesn’t take much glue to attach the pieces. Instruct them to use the dampened sponge on their table to wipe sticky fingers.
  • Have the children construct their bugs and then set them aside to dry.
Second Session
  • Set out the 12- by 15-inch construction paper for painting.
  • Set out tempera paints, brushes, containers of water, and sponges.
How to Begin
  • Explain to the children that, in this session, they will be painting the habitats of their bugs.
  • Discuss some places where bugs might be found, such as in a garden, in a hive, or simply in the grass. The children should paint the habitats from the bugs' point of view. For example, a bug in the grass would probably only see very large blades of grass. Emphasize that the children should make the habitats large enough to fill the papers.
  • Have the children paint their bugs’ habitats and set them aside to dry.
Third Session
  • Set out dried bugs and paintings from the previous sessions.
  • Set out small containers of white glue and brushes.
  • Set out cut pieces of Styrofoam (one for each child)
How to Begin
  • Explain to the children that they will each be gluing their bug onto its habitat using a piece of Styrofoam. This will make the bugs appear three-dimensional or stand out from the paper.
  • After deciding where to place the bug on the painting, apply glue on one side of the Styrofoam and attach it to the back of the bug. Then apply glue to the other side of the Styrofoam and attach it to the painting.
  • Have the children place their bugs in their habitats. For fun, the children can bend the legs of their bugs to make them more three-dimensional.
Note: Gluing the bugs onto the habitats will not take long. This is a good opportunity to have a discussion with the children about their work.

  • Whenever glue is used, sticky hands result. Use only a slightly dampened sponge for wiping hands while working. Too much water will leave marks on the construction paper.
  • Encourage the older children to completely cover the papers with paint when making the backgrounds for the habitats. When working with three- to four-year-old children, let the construction paper serve as part of the background to avoid covering many charming  details with paint. 
  • Do the paintings of the habitats fill the papers?
  • Have the children tell about their bugs and their habitats.
What the children might say...
  • Ooh! Bugs are creepy.
  • Ugh. My fingers are sticking to everything.
  • I need green paper for my grasshopper and there is none left.
  • My bee is so big, it covers up the hive.
What you might say...
  • When you look closely at bugs, they are full of interesting shapes and patterns.
  • Use the sponge on your table to wipe the glue from your fingers.
  • I have extra green paper and you can also look in the scrap paper bin.
  • You can glue your bug on the edge of the paper so it won’t cover your painting.
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