Cardboard Bugs

Cardboard Bugs

Reuse and recycle cardboard tubes to make spooky spiders, kooky caterpillars, wacky worms, and more. Treat your budding entomologist to this sculptural science activity that will allow him to research insects, arachnids, and other creepy crawlies. Turn this artful insect into a Halloween themed decoration, and display his unique buggy creations during a family holiday party or for trick-or-treaters to enjoy!

The Cardboard Tube Critter activity will help your child to learn about the wonderful world of bugs as he also focuses on simple elements of art. He’ll explore three dimensional form, color, texture, and pattern during this exciting art project. Encourage imaginative thought and creative problem solving skills as he designs and constructs his very own sculptural critter.

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tube
  • Pom poms
  • Clear drying, non-toxic school glue
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Modeling clay (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Research insects. Find a variety of non-fiction books to look at, or search the web for useful insect information. Make sure to view multiple pictures and photographs of bugs. Ask your child to talk about what he sees. How many legs does a spider have? What do a fly’s eyes look like? What color is a grass hopper?
  2. Decide on one bug to start with. Ask your child to think about the body parts that are needed. Is there a head, thorax, and abdomen? How many legs are there? Does this bug have wings, antennae, or other special features?
  3. Have your child paint the cardboard tube a base color. For example, if he is creating a grasshopper the tube should be green, a spider might be brown or black, and a lady bug could be red.
  4. After the paint has dried, he can begin adding details. Use a large pom pom and glue to create a head. Eyes can be made with sequins and glue. Use additional pom poms for other body parts. If he is making a bug such as a caterpillar, he may want to add multiple pom poms in a row.
  5. Create antennas and legs by gluing on cut pieces of pipe cleaner. If you notice the pipe cleaner falling off, first attach a small piece of modeling clay to the tube with glue. Press the end of the pipe cleaner in to stabilize it. Alternatively, you can press the pipe cleaner through the tube or cut a small hole to fit.
  6. Add wings and other features with cut tissue paper and glue.
  7. Set aside to dry.

Display as a creepy crawly Halloween decoration!



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