Let’s learn about grasshoppers

In a Grasshopper’s World

For this activity you will explore the fascinating world of grasshoppers with young children!

Grasshoppers are insects. They have six legs, two of which are long and muscular and used for hopping. Grasshoppers have three main body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have two antennae.

Begin by asking children if they have ever seen a grasshopper. Where did you see it? What did it look like? What was it doing? Record children’s responses and display in the classroom. Read a story about grasshoppers like, “Are You a Grasshopper?” by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries.

Now it is time to go on a grasshopper field study! Take children outside to a grassy area to look for and observe grasshoppers. Have children bring their own notebooks or field/nature journals to draw pictures or make notes in. Be sure to remind children to be respectful of the grasshoppers.

Next create a terrarium together that will house several grasshoppers for a week. Use soil and grass (return to field study area to collect or collect while out observing grasshoppers).  Include places for the grasshoppers to climb and hide. Providing water is not necessary because grasshoppers do not drink water, they get enough water from the food they eat. Be sure to provide fresh grass or leafy plants, as well as dry food such as grass seed or oatmeal, everyday for the grasshoppers to eat. Allow children to be active participants in setting up the terrarium. Ask: What do the grasshoppers need? Where should we find it? What should we feed the grasshoppers? Also, talk about how most animals drink water but grasshoppers are unique and they get their water from their food.

Once your terrarium is set up return to your grasshopper field study location and using insect nets and bug jars, carefully capture and collect four to six grasshoppers. Place grasshoppers in the terrarium.

Over the course of a week give children time every day to observe and monitor the grasshoppers. Ask: What do you want to learn about grasshoppers? How can you find out the answers to your questions?

For younger children you may want to have a set observation for each day. For example, Day One: observe the grasshopper’s bodies. What do you notice? Count the legs and antennae. How can you tell the grasshoppers have wings? Describe their eyes. Day Two: observe the movement of the grasshoppers. Describe how the grasshoppers walk. How do they jump? Are they fast? Do they jump high/far?

At the end of the week when the study is over, return the grasshoppers to the location where you collected them. Use the information you gathered as a class to create your own book about grasshoppers.

For this and other great activities, including grasshopper craft and snack ideas, use Growing Up WILD’s “In A Grasshopper’s World.”