Play Dough Minibeasts & Bug Hunts

Today we're taking our play dough outside! We regularly go on bug hunts, so I thought we'd incorporate a little play dough play into one of our favourite activities. 

To create our bugs we used our homemade play dough, laminated card shapes & cotton buds!
I created a selection of wings by cutting different shapes & sizes from a sheet of laminated card. For the antennae & feet I coloured the ends of cotton buds with a marker pen & then cut each cotton bud in half to create 2 matching items. For the eyes I added a small circle in the centre at each end.

Minnie was eager to create her minibeasts! We had a quick wander around the garden to see if we could spot any bugs before starting to create our own. Minnie asked me to help her create a butterfly shape which she then decorated with her chosen items.

She created a variety of minibeasts & added googly eyes to each of them. There was a bee (with a red nose), a butterfly with one eye (because he's winking!), another butterfly, & a dragonfly!

Then more were created, including slugs, worms & snails. Minnie gave them voices as she moulded the dough & soon a narrative was being created. The wings & cotton buds proved easy for little hands to manipulate, & she was able to use them to represent different features.

Minnie wanted to create a bug hunt with her newly created minibeasts, so set up a game of hide & seek around the garden.

She was completely captivated by this activity, & I could hear her singing to herself about "little bugs" as she chose the places for them to hide.

Once all the bugs were in place we had to go & find them. Some were easier to spot than others!

This dragonfly looked so cute balancing by our veggie patch. Apparently he's keeping an eye out for slugs!

When she had retrieved all the bugs she set about collecting food (leaves) for them. I explained why honey bees like clover, & she went off to collect some for her play dough bees, as she did so she noticed how the real bees were using the clover to collect their pollen. I love how our activity took us back to nature, & how our play dough bugs sat alongside the real bugs in their natural environment.

This fun, creative activity enabled natural outdoor habitats & their inhabitants to be explored, It also offered an opportunity to develop language, & recall skills, & explore form, colour, shape, size, & fine motor development.

To go alongside our minibeast discoveries we've been enjoying the following bug books! Each is ideal to use as a handbook when bug hunting, & they're packed with clear bold images & illustrations. The text offers plenty of description about each insect, along with facts and figures that preschoolers will find fascinating.

Don't forget to follow Sun Hats & Wellie Boots on facebook, twitter & sign up for email updates (at the top of the page) so you always catch our latest posts.