Last year we planted some watermelon seeds and have been doing lots of learning about how to care for watermelon plants and even enjoying some very juicy watermelons. However, a few weeks ago, my children discovered some ladybugs on our watermelon plant and this has led them on an interest-led learning journey all about ladybugs. 

We spent time out in our garden each morning observing the ladybugs and just watching what they were doing and where they were going. While we were observing them my children started to ask questions such as what do ladybugs eat, do they sleep, how do they have babies and is that a cocoon?

The Life Cycle
One of my children’s first questions was how ladybugs have babies or reproduce. We had previously looked at the ladybug life cycle last year so they had a basic idea. We were lucky enough to be able to observe the complete life cycle of a ladybug right in our garden. Through observation we found ladybug eggs under some leaves in our garden, we observed the larva moving around and even saw a few different pupa’s and of course, plenty of adult ladybugs.

Even as we observed their life cycle, questions about why they laid their eggs under a leaf instead of on top of the leaf came up. So we took our learning inside to investigate these questions further. Their questions are always a good indication of where their interests are and what direction their learning is heading. My children found their Safari Ladybug Life Cycle figurines and the nomenclature cards I had made to explore the life cycle further.

Without interrupting their learning, I set up a simple provocative with our speilgaben set to provoke an open-ended way for my children to create and explore ladybugs through art. Miss 5 took the opportunity to create a ladybug and some ladybug eggs on a leaf like she had seen in the garden.

Ladybug Anatomy
While we had been observing the ladybugs in our garden, we watched a ladybug spread out their wings and flutter around. This provoked questions such as how do ladybugs fly and where are their wings.

I used ladybug nomenclature cards to introduce parts of a ladybug to my children. I introduced the control cards first as we talked about the name and where it was located on the ladybugs body. This was followed matching the picture cards and word card to the control cards.

To make learning about ladybug anatomy more hands-on, I made a ladybug model out of felts (I share my FREE template at the end of this post). So my children used the word cards to identify and label their ladybug. Each of them did this activity a number of times over a few weeks as they used the control cards to identify the parts of the ladybugs anatomy. This was such a great independent learning activity.


Ladybug Diet
Another question that my children wanted to know was what did ladybugs eat. My children use our Beetles and Bugs guide to search for the information. They discovered aphids are what ladybugs like to eat and this is a good thing as aphids are considered pests and they eat crops….just like our watermelon! They went straight out in search of aphids and found plenty of them all over our watermelon vine. This was a fantastic learning moment when my children realised what ladybugs do and why they are important in our garden and other gardens that grow fruits and vegetables.

Interest Shelf
As the interest in ladybugs has grown, we have slowly put together an interest shelf of all the resources we have been using. So far we have books as well as the ladybug life cycle and anatomy resources that I have shared above. I am sure over the coming weeks my children will add more resources to their interest table.

You can download a copy of my printable ladybug life cycle cards as well as a ladybug anatomy template puzzle.

You can find more hands-on activity ideas and resources over on my Insects pinterest board

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