The Bug Factory – Crafts for Kids

There are so many great craft projects related to bugs that in our kids’ STEM classes, we have a “bug factory”. It’s a table filled with craft supplies, sample bugs, and posters about bug anatomy so whatever bug kids decide to make, they can get it (at least a little) scientifically accurate. At home, you might find it easier to choose just one idea to offer supplies for, and then let your child make one or many samples of that bug. Here’s some to try:

Model Magic Bugs

Using Model Magic clay (learn more here), other air-dry clay or playdough, kids could roll three balls, squish them together till they stick, and then push in 6 pipe cleaner legs for the insect of their choice, or two balls with 8 legs for a spider or lots of balls and some antenna for a caterpillar. They could use sharpies to draw in details, or could glue on googly eyes.


Note: The air drying clay shrinks just a tiny bit as it dries, so some of the legs / antennae may loosen or fall out. You may need to glue some pieces back in after the bug dries.

Egg Carton Bugs

Kids can use one segment of the carton and pipe cleaners to make a daddy long legs, or two segments to make a spider, three to make an ant, 4 – 6 to make a caterpillar. You can paint them if desired. Just search Pinterest for “egg carton bugs” for lots of examples, like these, which mix egg cartons and pompoms. (Source)

Paper Plate Roly Poly

An idea from Danielle’s Place – check there for full directions. She recommends making it with triangles of cardboard, but we trimmed part of the rim off a paper plate, and then cut the paper plate into triangles. Punch a hole in the tips of the triangles. Then you fasten with a brad, add antenna and a smile, and tape on pipe cleaner legs, or eggs made from the rim of the paper plate. This rolls up into a full circle like a roly poly bug does when you poke at it. Tip for the antenna… I’d been gluing them on, which wasn’t working great, but one of my four year old students figured out it worked better to punch holes, and twist the antenna through them.

Rolie polies (which are not insects – they’re crustaceans) are very easy to find in many regions – just flip over an old piece of wood or a log and you may find some. You can learn more about them at Preschool Powol Packets. (Trivia: They’re also an interesting study in language variations in the US. Depending on where you’re from, you might call them a roly poly, a potato bug, wood louse, pill bug, or something else – see language map here:

Paper Insects

This SciShow Kids’ video walks kids through crafting an insect out of paper, talking about the parts of an insect as they go.

Magnetic Ants at a Picnic

Cut an ant shape from black paper. Add four brads, one for antenna, and 3 to fold them out to make 6 legs. (the photo below has just 4 legs, so it’s not correct.)

Then decorate a paper plate by drawing a favorite food. Put the ant on top of the plate, and hold a magnet below the plate, and you can drag the ant around so it looks like it’s running on its own over the food.


Fingerprint Bugs

You need paper, a marker and a stamp pad of ink. For an ant you do three fingerprints, then draw on 6 legs and an antenna. For a spider, you do two fingerprints and add 8 legs. For a caterpillar, you can put several prints in a row, then add antenna, etc. Image from Rays of Bliss.

Bugs Fingerprint Art ~ Free Printable

Pipe Cleaner Bugs

With pipe cleaners (aka chenille stems), you can make Butterflies and Dragonflies and Bees. These work best for kids age 6 and up.

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly dragon

Paper caterpillars

Easy Peasy and Fun has this fun idea – shown in a video tutorial.

paper cat

I changed the method a little to make it easier for me. Take paper and fold the edges over a bit. Use scissors to clip in a bit from the folded edge, then insert your scissors in that hole, and then cut all the way across to the other side, but don’t cut the parts you folded over. Run glue all along one folded edge, and glue the other edge to that to form the caterpillar’s body. Make and attach a head.

Symmetry Coloring Page

For children age 5 and older, a great symmetry-learning project is to design a coloring sheet where on one side you have shapes that the child colors in. On the other side, they have to figure out where to draw the shapes so they’re symmetrical and then color them in to match. Here’s a printable coloring page for you.


Butterfly Life Cycle

There are SO MANY ideas for this, I made a post just on butterfly life cycle crafts.

More Ideas

There are lots more bug craft ideas here: or beetle handpuppets here, or accordion fold caterpillars here.


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