5- to 8-year-olds explore the world of bugs

Leaders can use the “Kaleidoskope: Just Outside the Door” curriculum to teach 5- to 8-year-olds about the world outside their door, including the basics of the science of insects.

The goal of the Michigan 4-H Cloverbud program is healthy development in 5- to 8-year-olds and aims to build life skills in them such as social interaction, self-esteem, making choices and learning to learn. As Katie Vanderkolk, Michigan State University Extension educator, describes in her Cloverbuds series, Cloverbud programs must be done in a small-group, activity-based, non-competitive fashion in order to foster healthy development.

The 4-H entomology project is one project area that fits into these parameters very well. Five- to 8-year-olds have an enormous curiosity, lots of energy and an endless repertoire of questions. They naturally have an interest in insects and love to be outdoors and hunt for them. “Kaleidoskop: Just Outside the Door” is a Michigan 4-H Youth Programs curriculum that was created for use by Cloverbud leaders as well as others who work with children in the 5 to 8 years-old age bracket. It provides a variety of activities designed to help children learn more about the world that exists “just outside the door,” including water, plants, other people, appropriate clothing and insects.

The curriculum consists of 12 meeting plans; three of these are focusing on insects. Each plan suggests a major hands-on activity to explore the major topic of the lesson and a variety of additional fun things to do to reinforce or expand on the topic. Utilizing the three meeting plans focusing on insects will help children learn the basics of the science of insects in an inquiry, fun way. It will help them see that insects come in many shapes, colors and sizes; it will help them learn basic body parts of an insect and insect habitats, including how and where to look for them, as well as the six most common kinds of insects and how insects grow and develop.

The curriculum’s members’ packet includes thoughts and feelings sheets for each meeting plan, where children circle each activity they did at the meeting and a face that shows how they felt about the activities they did. The member packet also includes a mini poster for each meeting plan that can be sent home to parents. Each mini poster informs parents of what the child learned during the meeting and lists suggestions for follow-up activities to reinforce that knowledge.

For more information about the 4-H Entomology project in general and for additional resources, visit the Michigan 4-H Youth Development website.  

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