10 Bug Tot Trays & Toddler Activities

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I am glad I decided to add in a spring Bug theme! We were able to find ladybugs and worms outside, and it was a fun transition into spring weather.

I’ll mention here that there were two very fun-looking activities that we did not do this time: a climbing spider and tie-dyed coffee filter butterflies!

(You can also check out our 9 More Bug Trays, 15 Bug Preschool Trays, and Soil Bug House!)

But first, here is our set of 10 Bug Tot Trays from our first Bug Week:

  1. Math Fly Swatting
  2. Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnet Board
  3. Foam Block Toss
  4. Foam Leaf Punching
  5. Dots on Ladybugs
  6. Easy Bug Sensory Bin
  7. Bug Feeding
  8. Bead Caterpillars
  9. Paper Shape Ant
  10. Bug Dough Tray

Math Fly Swatting


  • 21 “bugs” – I used plastic ones I had from Halloween 20 years ago but stickers, or just printing from the computer would work well
  • Mounting adhesive (if needed for bugs)
  • Six ziploc bags
  • “Filling” – packing peanuts, bubble wrap, crumbled up paper, etc.
  • 6 Ziploc bags
  • Some tape
  • Dice – these are two from the Lakeshore
  • Fly swatters – these came in a 2-pack at Lowe’s for under $1.50. They are great quality – so much better than the dollar store – and they are cheaper too!


  • Printed 3 sheets, to be cut in half (8.5″ x 5.5″) with numbers 1-6 printed in corner
  • Cut pages and folded in half
  • Used foam mounting squares to attach the corresponding number of bugs in patterns like the dice
  • Put a few packing peanuts in the fold to give it some dimension
  • Put each ‘package in a Ziploc bag, folded over the edge and taped
  • Game is to roll dice and swat the right bag. I included two dies to see if we can play with him too!

Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnet Board

Foam Block Toss

  • Used three Fisher-Price Link-a-Doos around three paper cups (one was a caterpillar!)
  • Added three of each matching color block
  • Encouraged him to ‘toss’ them in!

Foam Leaf Punching

  • I got this idea from someone but I can’t find who – sorry! And thank you!
  • Cut foam leaf pieces out of foam (cheap dollar store foam is great because it is easier to punch)
  • Included a punch to go around the edges
  • I am going to encourage him to use the pipe cleaners to string through the holes.

Dots on Ladybugs

  • Color printed two spot-less ladybugs
  • Included a black crayon – make dots!
  • Stickers, marker, paper circles w/ glue would be fun too!

Small Bug Sensory Bin

  • (We did the bin in a small “Target bin” this time)
  • Moved some green grass from his Simple Animal Sensory Bin over
  • Added some fun TOOB insects, a mirror, a magnifying glass, and a creature keeper from the Target dollar spot

Bug Feeding

  • Used big flower tray from dollar store
  • Made six squares in Publisher, each with a number and corresponding number of bugs
  • A bunch of gems in the center to “feed” the bugs

Bead Caterpillars

  • Idea is from Make and Takes — thank you!
  • Just like the example, included three pipe cleaners
  • I too twisted the ‘top’ to a head and folded over the bottom to cover up the wire
  • Added a bunch of pony beads for stringing

Paper Shape Ant

  • Basically duplicated this idea by emimemo — thank you!
  • First made ant shape with shapes in Publisher
  • I saved that as a png and opened in the Silhouette software, then cut out the shapes in thin black cardstock
  • Back in Publisher, I selected all the shapes and enlarged slightly (to make a template to paste the cardstock shapes)
  • Added lines to connect antenna and feet to body (like the inspiration pin)
  • Included a glue stick to complete the ants

Bug Dough Tray

Well he did that ant pasting activity RIGHT away! Enough that within minutes he was telling me that I was missing a square! 🙂

Everything in week of Bug Tot Trays was familiar and fun. He liked punching through the foam and really liked the beads and pipe cleaners. He was never into big lacing beads so that was a bit of a surprise! We all also enjoyed the sensory bin, bringing the magnifying glasses outside as well.

The magnets were a BIG hit – we actually bought a second set. FYI, the colors we received were slightly random (each set had more red). It is a nice variety and better than having to buy a whole expensive set.

We added fun outside of the to trays too, ‘investigating worms in the rain with magnifying glasses and checking out bug-themed WordWorld and Animal Atlas at the library!

Happy Spring!

I’m proud to be linking this post up to 1+1+1=1’s Tot School Gathering Place with activities that E enjoyed at 32 months old, and thank Carisa for the week 34 feature! Also linked up over at the Parenting Pin It Party, A Little Bird Told Me Link Party, Top-Notch Tuesday Linkup Party, Tuesday Talk, Learn and Play Link-Up, and TGI Saturdays!

Cool Books for Bug Tot Trays

Ideas for a Bug Tot School Theme!

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14 thoughts on “10 Bug Tot Trays & Toddler Activities

    • Thanks so much! We have our own Bug Preschool coming up this month and we’ll use a few again, too. 🙂

  1. I LOVE tot trays! Thank you for linking up at “A Little Bird Told Me” Wednesday link party. You have been featured at Mama’s Happy Hive blog!

  2. These are great ideas! I’m getting spring fever. I really need to make time to get some of these activities together to do with my 3 year old.

    • We are having a wonderful burst of spring weather this week but I can’t help but think more winter is around the corner! Thank you for coming by!

  3. I love this! This is perfect with Spring just around the corner! I’ll definitely be trying some of these with my kids! Thanks for sharing it on Tuesday Talk this week – I’m featuring it in my post and on social media! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

  4. I love that you listed how to put all these ideas together! Such a helpful tot resource. Thank you so much for stopping by the Learn & Play Link Up. This post is featured on Christian Montessori Network this week!

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