Praying Mantis

** I receive curriculum from Experience Early Learning (formally known as Mother Goose Time) for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 5th year using Experience Early Learning, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Experience Early Learning.

This week we are learning about bugs that camouflage. One of the bugs we learned about was the praying mantis. Fun fact: Praying Mantises are the only insect that can turn their head 360 degrees. They are also carnivores. I’ve only seen a few praying mantises in my lifetime, but the ones I saw were bigger than any other insect I’ve ever seen.

Our first activity we did was talk about the shapes we see on a praying mantis. I showed my children a picture of a praying mantis. They pointed out that their heads are triangle shaped and their neck/body is a rectangle. I took out the pattern blocks from Experience Early Learning and we played with them for a while. My kids love making designs with the pattern blocks. This time, we created our own insects with the pattern blocks. One of my daughters made a praying mantis. Another one made a butterfly. And my toddler put a bunch of shapes together, got one of our butterfly toys, and pretended to fly the butterfly around to each shape. He landed the butterfly on each shape. I imagined that maybe the blocks were flowers.

Next, we made praying mantis masks. Experience Early Learning suggests that you mix yellow and blue paint together to make green So, I did! And I’m glad I did. I put yellow and blue paint on a plate for each child. Then, I asked them what they think would happen if they mixed those colors together. I let the kids mix their own plate of colors together. They discovered that it makes green. We experimented with adding more yellow and more blue paint to the mixture to see how it changes the shade of green we get. We added paint until they got the shade of green that they liked the best.   

We played a matching game. My girls love playing matching games. They have amazing memories (or they cheat) and always know where to find the matching insects. They played this game a few times so I could set up our next activity.  

Since praying mantises love to eat bugs, we went on a scavenger hunt in search for (pretend) bugs. I drew a map of our backyard and placed an “X” everywhere I hid a bug. They needed to follow the map to where the bugs were hiding. They loved this activity! We had a lot of fun finding the bugs together. As we went around the yard together, we talked about why people use maps and why maps are useful. We also talked about good hiding spots for bugs and where they would hide if they were a bug.

We had a lot of fun learning about praying mantises this week. Next week is our last week with bugs and crawly things!

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