Add and Subtract with Math Bugs Activity

3.5 based on 13 ratings
Updated on Sep 25, 2012

Looking for a way to make math practice fun? In this activity, kids get creative using cut-out paper numbers to design cute insect friends. Turning numbers into art is so much fun, kids won't realize they're learning number recognition along the way. After the numbers are done, you can put them together to make unique and memorable equations.

What You Need:

  • Colored construction paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Pipe cleaners (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Help your child draw a number on a piece of construction paper, measuring about 4" by 4". Younger children may have an easier time tracing large number stencils or templates.
  2. Cut the number out. If your child is old enough, have her practice her scissor skills by doing this step herself. She may need your assistance with some of the trickier parts.
  3. Now it's time to turn that number into a bug! She can use markers to add stripes, spots, legs, wings, and more. She can also add googly eyes with glue or make antennas and legs with pipe cleaners.
  4. Repeat with other numbers and other species of bugs. Try dragonflies, butterflies, ants, caterpillars, grass hoppers, crickets, or beetles.
  5. After she's designed a few math bugs, set them up in an equation. For example, start with a number five firefly and then add a six spider. Use a marker to draw a plus and equals sign, then design a third number eleven insect. Glue them all onto a piece of construction paper to set up an artistic equation.

As your child builds her math abilities, continue to help her build new bugs and more complicated equations. This is a sure way to keep the learning going all summer long!

Erica Loop has an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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