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under5s - minibeasts
Spiders, ants, ladybirds, flies, worms, snails, and wasps are just a few of the creatures that we call minibeasts. Because they are small, minibeasts are all around us. Take the children for a look around the classroom or the inside of your house - 
Can you see a cobweb ? Ask what creature may live here ?

Can you hear a buzzing noise ? What do they think made it ? 

But for a real insight into the world of minibeasts, step outside into the garden. Here you will find a hundred varieties of different creatures. Lift up a rock or  large stone and let the children see what scurries away. Woodlice, earth worms, beetles and spiders, to name but a few, will be lurking. Can they see any ants ? Where are they coming from ?
Inhabitants of the garden will change with the seasons. In the spring and summer bees will buzz around the flowers collecting pollen. Explain why bees collect pollen (Buy a jar of honey or a piece of honeycomb to show the end result) 

Slugs and snails will annoy gardeners by eating the plants. Point out any tell-tale silver trails on the ground. Make some plasticine slugs and snails and then draw trails behind them with chalk.

You will also find minibeasts near water. In the spring keep an eye out for frog spawn. This makes an excellent minibeast resource. The children can observe the spawn as it evolves into tadpoles, that go on to develop limbs and eventually change into frogs. 

Follow the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the colourful butterfly using our picture sequence from the Spring theme - this is a large file so Right Click here and save the file to your hard drive. 

Look closely at the colour of the minibeasts, ask the children what colours they can see. Ask them why wasps have yellow and black stripes. (To act as a warning) Look at the patterns on the butterflies wings, what shapes can they see. The pattens on a butterfly's wings are symmetrical. To explain to the children what this means fold a large piece of paper in half, open it and paint a butterfly wing on one side of the fold, fold the paper in half again and press on it, and open it again - an identical wing will have been printed on the other side of the fold. Let everyone have a go. 

Here are some more downloadable pictures in pdf format for you to print out
Spider's Web
Count the legs on the spider - how many does it have ? Count the number of legs the beetle has. Ask the children if they can think of a minibeast that has more legs. Ask the children to draw a multi-legged minibeast.

Read the children some books about minibeasts 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle
This book is full of colour, interest and anticipation and is suitable for all young children. There is also a board book version which is suitable for very young readers.

Or try The Bad Tempered Ladybird and The Very Busy Spider by the same author/illustrator.

To get a really close look at some minibeasts get yourself a bug box. This has a lid that acts as a magnifying glass and lets the children see these little creatures in all their fine detail. 

Don't forget to gently release your beasts when you have finished looking at them.

Another useful tool to allow you enter the world of minibeasts is a wormery. You can buy these in a kit form or make your own with a clear plastic bowl. Fill the bowl with earth from the garden and add some earthworms. Place some damp leaves on top, and wap black paper around the sides. Over time the worms will tunnel their way around the bowl. The children will be able to see the tunnels created by the worms and even the worms themselves.

Here is a good book for minibeast ideas, or click on the link below to find more relevant titles

More minibeast resources

under5s - minibeasts
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