by Mary Ann Hoberman
That praying mantis over there
is really not engaged in prayer.
That praying mantis that you see
Is really preying (with an e).
It preys upon the garter snake.
It preys upon the bumblebee.
It preys upon the cabbage worm,
The wasp, the fly, the moth, the flea.
(And sometimes, if its need is great,
It even preys upon its mate.)
With prey and preying both so endless,
It tends to end up rather friendless
And seldom is commended much
Except by gardeners and such.
Isn’t that poem fantastic?! This month we have been studying a variety of bugs with our Experience Early Learning Bug box. When I introduced the Praying Mantis, both kiddos asked, “Why is it called that?” We read the above poem from The Llama Who Had No Pajama and the Praying Mantis page from our Big Book of Bugs and between the two books, we had some great answers to their questions.
After reading those books, we brought out the pattern block manipulatives Experience Early Learning sent us this month to create a praying mantis. It was quite challenging, but when I gave them the daily discovery bag picture, the kids worked together to cover the praying mantis with the blocks. Then they started building their own creations.
EEL sent us plates, chenille stems, stickers, and popsicle sticks to make Praying Mantis masks during our Make and Play craft. I asked the children what color the praying mantis was and they said green. I told them that we could make green by mixing 2 paint colors. My girl piped up that it was yellow and blue. I definitely put too much paint on their plates, but they had a great time painting them and asked if they could paint a smaller plate as well so they could have a female and a male praying mantis. Ha! They really paid attention to our readings.
We let the paint dry for about an hour while the kids watched Wild Kratts: Praying Mantis and played with our camouflage moth cards. EEL sent 2 sets of 6 camouflage moth cards. I hid 1 set of 6 in the driveway and yard, and gave the children a set and told them to find the matching cards. We played “Warmer/Colder” as they searched for the matching mates. The kids LOVED this game, and after they found all the cards, they took turns hiding one set and the other searching for them.
I had to tear them away from their game to finish their masks. I used my hot glue gun to hold all the things in place, but the kids folded their plates, placed their stickers, and drew their mantis mouth.
Praying mantises are pretty cute little insects, but these 3 take the cake!