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June 7, 2012

Flingin' Those Bugs!

I saw this great idea for making a catapult using wooden craft sticks on Pinterest and I just had to try it.  Here's my version of it:

It was super easy to make.  I stacked five narrow sticks together and secured each end with a strong rubber band.  I stacked two wider sticks (i.e. tongue depressors) and secured one end with a rubber band.  I slid the stack of narrow sticks between the wider sticks and used two rubber bands to secure it in place, placing them diagonally across the top of the wider stick.  Then I used a dab of hot glue to secure a plastic lid from an orange juice container to the end of the upper tongue depressor.  That's it!

So, what did I use this nifty little device for this week?  Flinging bugs, of course!

I've got lots of little plastic and rubber bugs on hand, and today many of them flew through the air with the greatest of ease...

...toward the "bug catcher" on the floor and toward the garden we drew on the white board.  So much fun!

So how did I work in speech or language goals?  Easy!  We worked on following directions that include the temporal concept "before":

I wrote the word "before" on a sticky note as a prompt.  At the beginning of the activity, I placed the sticky note between two bugs and gave a direction such as "Fling the ladybug BEFORE you fling the grasshopper."  After a few successful trials, I removed the prompt and gave the instruction without it.  I added more bugs to the group to make it more difficult, and sometimes included descriptions instead of insect names.  For example, a more difficult direction might go like this:  "Fling a long green bug before you fling a bug that has stripes."  Then I switched the order, placing BEFORE at the beginning of the direction:  "BEFORE you fling the bee, fling the ladybug."  Again, I started by using my sticky note prompt, and I placed it above the bug which was supposed to be flung second.  I explained that when the direction starts with "before", we have to think backwards and do the second thing first.  The sticky note over the bug was a reminder that the bug without a sticky note was the one to go first.  Sounds confusing, but it really did work!

I've got lots of other activities in mind for using this cool device:
     *  Superlatives:  talk about which bugs flew the farthest, which bug was biggest, heaviest, etc.
     *  Comparatives:  fling all the bugs with stripes, all the bugs with large back legs, all the bugs with spots, etc.
     *  Articulation:  Display picture cards on a white board or wall.  Use them as targets, aim the bug flinger at the targets, and say the word closest to where the bug lands.
     * EET:  Display picture cards of items from various groups.  Use them as targets and name the group the item hit belongs to.

I'm sure there are plenty more ways to use speech and language skills with this fun activity.  What are your thoughts?

Have fun and nice chatting with you!



  1. GREAT reinforcer activity that can be used for any goals...and oh what fun!!!! I've got to do this, this spring!!!!