Minibeast activities and crafts
Children are fascinated by minibeasts, whether they’re watching wriggly worms or spotting bright red ladybirds. Try these minibeast activities and crafts with your kids – they’re a wonderful way to spend time together and an opportunity to help youngsters learn about woodland wildlife.
Butterfly symmetry painting
The beautiful patterns on a butterfly’s wings are symmetrical – that means one wing is a mirror image of the other.
To make a symmetry painting, fold a sheet of paper in half then open it up back up. Help you child dab paint on one side of the paper, roughly in the shape of a butterfly wing. Now for the magic – fold the paper and press it down gently, then open it up to reveal a stunning symmetrical butterfly!
Find butterflies in the wild. Head outdoors on a warm summer’s day and look for butterflies basking in the sunshine.
You can adapt this simple mask to make different kinds of minibeasts, from stripy bumblebees to brightly coloured beetles.
- Help your child cut a paper plate in half. Then cut out a triangle from the straight edge so there’s room for their nose.
- Hold the mask up to your child’s face and mark where the eye holes should be, then cut them out.
- Now it’s time to decorate your mask. Take a look at the amazing images on our invertebrate pages for some inspiration – you’ll discover plenty of minibeast facts too.
- If your creepy crawly has antennae, punch two holes at the top of the mask and attach some pipe cleaners.
- Finally, punch holes at either side and attach some string to tie the mask round your child’s head.
Creepy crawly collage
Natural objects make wonderful art materials and they provide a great sensory experience for children too.
To make a minibeast collage, collect flower petals, leaves, sticks and feathers. (Never pick wild plants, please only gather what’s fallen naturally to the ground.) You can make your creepy crawly on the woodland floor or stick your items onto a piece of card.
Hunt for creepy crawlies. Peep under stones and logs to find beetles, woodlice and centipedes.
Ladybird potato stamps
This craft is ideal for very small children who will enjoy making cheerful ladybirds. You can even turn them into handmade cards for family and friends.
- Cut a potato in half and poke a stick into the rounded side – this twig handle will be easier to hold when the potato stamp gets slippery.
- Help your child dip the potato in red paint and stamp it onto the paper. Let it dry.
- Paint a black line down the middle of the red splodge and add a black head at one end.
- To add spots, dip your child’s finger in the black paint and dab some dots on the body.
- Finally, add two eyes to the head.
Look out for ladybirds. Keep your eyes peeled for their bright, shiny bodies. How many spots can your little one count?
Youngsters will love making these cute rock bugs, all you need are some pebbles and colourful paints.
Get creative with colours and patterns, you could make beetles, bumblebees, or even a swirly snail. In fact, why not make a whole bunch of minibeasts your child can play with?
If you're looking for an activity for smaller children, have a go at making spider buddies. Simply paint one of your child's hands black (not the thumb) and overlap two handprints to create a not-so scary spider.
You could even have a go at making a spider web with some wool.
Watch out for webs. Take a closer look at tree bark – can you spot any delicate webs nestled in the nooks and crannies?
Credit: Sam Oxford-Dean / WTML
Helicopter seed dragonfly
Make this dazzling dragonfly with twigs and fallen tree seeds. Simply paint two winged seeds different colours and let them dry. You can use metallic paint to create an iridescent sheen, just like a real dragonfly. Glue the seeds to the twig so they look like two pairs of dragonfly wings.
Your dragonfly is now ready for flight. Hold it up in the air and whiz it back and forth, darting around obstacles and swooping low over the ground.
Keep your eyes peeled for dragonflies. Dragonflies lay their eggs in, or close to, water. Look out for them zipping along riverbanks and canals, or darting above ditches, ponds and lakes.