Buggin Out


Bug Activities for Preschoolers


In this bug activity for preschoolers, children will learn how to snack like a bug!


Supplies needed:


  1. Leaves

    The fresher/greener the leaf, the better- 1 per student

  2. Hole punchers 

    Any shape is fine, just easy enough for student use
  1. Eye droppers or pipettes

  2. Turkey basters

  3. Water

  4. Optional: Food coloring or watercolor paint, paper

Bug activity for preschoolers


  • Talk about the eating habits of caterpillars.  Observe live caterpillars, explore outside for munched leaves, read a story about a hungry caterpillar, or share pictures of chewed-on leaves. 

Exploration Questions:

What is your favorite food?

Do you think caterpillars have a favorite food? (They do!)

How would you feel about eating the same food every day?

Have you seen caterpillars before?

Where have you seen them?

What did they look like?

Have you seen leaves with holes? 


  • Pretend to be munching caterpillars and practice your fine motor skills. Give students access to different types of fresh leaves and allow them to punch holes in them. 


Exploration Questions:

Was it easy or hard to “munch” the leaves?

If you were a caterpillar, which leaf would you want to eat?  Why? 


  • Talk about the eating habits of butterflies. Observe live butterflies, read a story about butterflies, or share pictures and videos of butterflies eating.


Exploration Questions:

What parts of your body do you use to eat your food?

Do you think butterflies use the same parts?


  • Practice eating like a butterfly. Suck up water with the pipettes, eye droppers and turkey basters. 
  • Optional: Color the water using food coloring or watercolors. After your students practice sucking up the “butterfly food” they can squirt it onto paper to make butterfly lunch art!


Exploration Questions:

How are caterpillars and butterflies different?

How is how butterflies and caterpillars eat different?

Are their mouth parts the same? 

What’s happening?

Different caterpillars eat different kinds of plants. These plants are called the caterpillars' host plants. Monarch caterpillars eat a plant called milkweed, and the Cabbage White caterpillar eats plants in the mustard family including cabbage and broccoli. The Common Clothes Moth caterpillars actually can eat the natural fibers in clothes!

Butterflies and moths have a mouth called a proboscis. Butterflies and moths can't chew, but use their mouthparts like a straw to drink their food. Some adult butterflies and moths don't have a proboscis and can't eat anything! at all!

While a butterfly uses its proboscis to eat its food, it actually uses its feet to taste it! When a butterfly lands, it tastes the surface with its feet before it unrolls its proboscis to drink.


Hollie Barattolo Head ShotHollie is certified K-8 teacher who has been educating in the informal education field since 2005. She has developed and implemented countless exciting STEAM programs for families, classrooms, and teachers focused on the natural world, the scientific process, and ancient life. Her professional passions are inquiry, whole family learning, experiential learning starting in early childhood, and the intersection of literacy and science instruction.

She has recently developed a community-based program that encourages families to use dramatic play to learn science, increase literacy skills, and have fun together for which she received the Drexel University Presidential Award for Civic Engagement. She is most proud of her work on a popular science storytelling program for preschool families and classrooms that combines a book club format with engaging programs, innovative curriculum, and a hysterical puppet storyteller.