Minibeasts: A fine display

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By Mike Wardfreelance educational writer.

From ladybird spots to a butterfly’s wings, take a closer look at some dazzling minibeast shapes and patterns

1 Ladybird, ladybird

Practise counting skills with a fun ladybird-spotting game

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

Numbers as Labels and for Counting

Development matters: sometimes match number and quantity correctly (30-50 months); count an irregular arrangement of up to ten objects (40-60+ months).

Early learning goal: count reliably up to ten everyday objects.

What you need

Group size: small groups.

Red, green and black paper or card; large sheet of paper; glue; hole-punch.

What to do

Cut out some leaf shapes from green card and glue them to a large sheet of paper. Then cut out some ladybird shapes from the red card and draw a black line down the middle of the body. Using a hole-punch, cut out some black spots of card. Make sets of ladybirds with one spot on each half of the body, two spots on each half, and three spots.

With the children assembled, reveal the leafy garden you have created. Place two ladybirds on different leaves. Ask the children, ‘How many ladybirds can you see?’. Count them together. Ask the children to count the spots on one ladybird, then count the spots on the other ladybird. Together, count the total number of spots on both ladybirds.

Continue the counting game by turning the sheet away from the children and adding more (or taking away) ladybirds and then revealing it again. Repeat the activity, counting the ladybirds and the spots, or deciding how many ladybirds have ‘flown away’.

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