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Caterpillar Trio

Supplies:

If you can bring in a caterpillar or two for the children to observe,

It would add a lot to this activity;

they would enjoy setting the caterpillar free afterwards!

Color photographs from a book of caterpillars and other bugs

are always a hit

Play a CD with the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"

or play it on a keyboard or guitar for the kids to learn the tune,

and to accompany them in their presentations

This idea is compliments of Neecy Twinem,

a children's book author/illustrator

who visited Omaha for Earth Day 2010.

Her artwork graces the homepage of www.KidsGardenClub.org

Learn more about her, and

order her books, on www.NeecyTwinem.com

            Preschool kids love movement. They love imagination. And they love to sing.

            Put those together with how much they love nature, especially nature's littlest creatures, and you have a winner of a simple, fun idea to try.

            Set up the preschool children in groups of three. Tell them that they are now a "trio"!

            Explain that a "trio" is a group of three singers or three people playing musical instruments together. Write the word on the board for them to see that even though it sounds like there's an "e" in the word, there is not.

            Just as there are three people in a musical trio, there are three parts to an insect's body. Write these on the board, too:

            Head

            Thorax

            Abdomen

            An insect like a grasshopper shows these three body parts well. If you can possibly bring one in for them to observe, it would be great!

Also tell the children that the typical insect has six legs. Of course, a spider is different - it has eight legs. And there are many insects that move by wiggling, such as worms, caterpillars and centipedes, who may or may not have legs or feet at all.

With today's song, we're going to pretend to be a bug that has all of these body parts, but in one of our favorite body shapes - a fuzzy caterpillar. Show photographs, if you have them.

            Write the word "caterpillar" on the board and have the children pronounce it. It's a big word for a small creature!

            Have the kids wiggle around on the floor and try to move forward. It's harder for us humans than it is for our friends, the caterpillars!

            Play and sing this little insect body part song to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" for the children. Let them practice it a time or two:

My head is starting to wiggle        

My head is starting to wiggle

My head is starting to wiggle

Around and around and around. (note for later: the first child acts out this verse)

v. 2: My thorax is starting to wiggle. . . . (the second child acts this out)

v. 3 My abdomen is starting to wiggle. . . . (the last child acts this out)

v. 4 My six legs are starting to wiggle. . . . (all three children act this out)

(Note: no, caterpillars do not have six legs. Call it creative license for a smashing finale to the song! The kids can lean on their left feet and wiggle their right feet, and then vice versa. It makes a hilarious ending.)

Now stand back up, and select one child from each trio to act as the head, one as the thorax, and one as the abdomen.

Have them line up in single file.

The first child should put his or her index fingers on his or her head as antennae. The middle child should put his or her hands on the shoulders of the child playing the part of the caterpillar head. And the child on the end should also put his or her hands on the shoulders of the middle child.

Now they should sing the song, and act it out.

The children might enjoy changing places to act out a different body part.

By Susan Darst Williams • www.KidsGardenClub.org • Preschool 09 © 2010

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