Practice core math skills with your child like counting, one-to-one correspondence, simple addition, and more–all in a simple play-based preschool math activity.
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Did you know that one ladybug can eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime?! That’s a lot of food for one little critter!
When I’m creating activities for my preschooler, I love to use the things they are interested in at the time. For us right now that means…BUGS!
Springtime learning…bring the outside IN!
Spring is the perfect time to get outside with kids and explore nature. Around here, the blossoms are bursting along tree branches, robin birds are swooping into the backyard to say hello, and we’re discovering all kinds of creepy crawly creatures as we dig in the dirt!
It’s so fun to watch the world come back to life in the spring! Yesterday, my four-year-old made friends with the roly-polys near our sandbox, giggling in surprise when the little ball unfurled in his hand and tickled his skin as it crawled around.
Love these little joyful moments with my boy.
Because we’ve been finding more bug outside, we decided to bring them inside for our mommy school learning time, too!
No, not literally. I have my limits, people.
Instead, we created this fun craft and preschool math activity inspired by one of the most loved of all insects: the LADYBUG!
The best thing about this activity is that it’s a two-for-one!
First, you make the ladybug craft together (my little guy loves crafting). All you need is three pieces of construction paper and a couple of googly eyes.
As you make your ladybug, you can talk with your child about various ladybug facts. You might have a conversation like the following:
How many legs do we need for our ladybug? Six! That’s right! Because a ladybug is an insect, and all insects have six legs.
What colors is our ladybug? Red and black. That is what most ladybugs where we live look like. But did you know that ladybugs can be lots of different colors? Like orange, or black, or yellow!
Connecting facts about the world to hands-on activities helps kids remember the things they are learning.
Once you’ve finished your craft, keep the learning going by using your new ladybug to play a fun preschool math game!
It all starts with a question…
How many spots does a ladybug have?
The answer? In this preschool learning game, the answer depends on how you roll the dice!
Here’s how to play…
Ladybug Preschool Math Activity
What we’re learning
- Biology (ladybug facts)
- Math (counting, one-to-one correspondence, addition)
- Fine motor skills (cutting and gluing)
- colored paper (red, black, green)
- googly eyes (optional)
- dice (we used the ones from our favorite Tenzi game)
Ladybug Craft Instructions
Work with your child to create a simple ladybug craft (see picture for inspiration).
- Cut out a simple leaf shape from green paper.
- Then trace a bowl on red paper to create the ladybug body. This is a great chance to practice cutting skills with preschoolers. Even if you do the cutting, talk to your child about what you’re doing. Explain why you are tracing the bowl (to make a pattern for the circle), and how you can cut straight lines by using a ruler or book.
- Use the black paper to create a head, six legs, antennae, and a dividing line between the two halves of the body. Again, just eyeball this. They’re all super basic shapes.
- You also need to cut out 12 black dots, but do NOT glue them on yet! We’ll use them later for our game.
- Finally, add the googly eyes. If you don’t have any, you can just cut white paper circles for the eyes. No biggie. Your ladybug craft is complete!
Now you’re ready to play our preschool math game!
Preschool Math Game Instructions
- Each player will use one half of the ladybug for placing spots.
- Roll a die. Place the indicated number of spots on your half of the ladybug. Count them as you place each one.
- Once both players have rolled and placed their ladybug spots, count how many spots your ladybug has all together! Did you see what we just did there? Your preschooler just successfully added numbers!
- Clear the spots off the ladybug and roll again! Keep playing as long as you like.
Helpful Tip: If your child struggles to get the right number of dots on the ladybug or gets mixed up while counting them all together, encourage them to use a finger to touch each spot as they say the next number aloud. This is called “touch counting.”
That’s it! A simple game to help your preschooler practice critical math skills in a fun, play-based way. Enjoy!
Oh, and in case you’re still wondering how many spots a ladybug really does have, here’s the answer:
According to National Geographic, it depends.
The most common ladybug in North America is the seven-spotted red ladybug, which has three black spots on each side and one in the middle. But there are over 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world! In addition to the red ones we know best, ladybugs can also be black, orange, yellow, and gray. They can have many different numbers of spots…or no spots at all. Some even have stripes!
More cool ladybug facts for kids:
To appease the curiosity of those wonderful four-year-olds who have a million questions about everything…
- Ladybugs are also known as “ladybirds” or “ladybeetles.”
- They are helpful insects to have around because they eat garden pests, like aphids. So don’t smash them! Just wave hello.
- One ladybug can eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime!
- Their bright red color is a warning to predators to stay away.
Want more preschool counting activities? Try these!