Sailing with the Smally Crawlies

Books to Share

  • The Caterpillow Fight by Sam McBratney.
  • Hi, Harry! by Martin Waddell.
  • I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges.
  • Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni.
  • Rattlesnake Dance by Jim Arnosky.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • The Best Bug Parade by Stuart Murphy.
  • Manuelo, the Playing Mantis by Don Freeman.
  • Snail Trail by Ruth Brown.
  • Small Green Snake by Libba Moore Gray.
  • Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards.

Bulletin Board

Crawl Into a Good Book!

Cover your bulletin board with brown and green kraft paper to look like earth and grass. Create a scene with a large book in a garden of flowers. Use pictures of flowers cut from magazines or make them out of construction paper. Create a caterpillar and a slug out of construction paper and have them holding the book open.


My Little Crawlie

Cut out circles from various colors of construction paper and punch two holes on one edge of each circle. Thread a pipe cleaner through the holes. Bend and twist the ends upwards to make antennas. Write the child’s name on the nametag and pin or attach to yarn.  Use double-sided tape to attach to child’s clothing.


I’m Buggy for Books!

Surround an empty, clean aquarium with a display of books, video, DVDs, and musical recordings about insects, turtles, snakes, worms, slugs, caterpillars, etc. Place an assortment of toy insects, turtles, and other crawly creatures inside the aquarium. Allow time during storytime to share information about the creatures in the aquarium and for questions.


Bag O’ Bugs


  • Sandwich bags
  • Graham crackers
  • Raisins
  • Gummy worms


Distribute the sandwich bags with a graham cracker or two inside. Let the children squeeze and crunch up the crackers to create “dirt.” Spoon a small amount of raisins and gummy worms into each bag. Have children shake the bag and then eat the “dirt and bugs.” Serve with “bug juice” made from lemonade mixed with lime Kool-Aid™.


Little Turtle


There was a little turtle.   (Make fist)

He lived inside a box.

He swam in the puddles.   (Pretend to swim)

He climbed on the rocks.   (Pretend to climb)

He snapped at the mosquito.   (Make snapping motion)

He snapped at the flea.   (Make snapping motion)

He snapped at the minnow.   (Make snapping motion)

He snapped at me!   (Make snapping motion at yourself)

He caught the mosquito.   (Make snapping motion)

He caught the flea.   (Make snapping motion)

He caught the minnow.   (Make snapping motion)

But he didn’t catch me!   (Wiggle finger)

“Where’s the Wiggly, Squiggly Worm?” from Simply Super Storytimes by Marie Castellano.


The Spider on the Floor

spider on the floor

Sing “Spider on the Floor” on Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi. Use the pattern provided to create spiders for each child to hold and use during the song. Suit your actions to the song.

Audio Recordings

  • “Ants go Marching” on Here is Thumbkin by Kimbo Educational.
  • “Spunky Spider” on Songs about Insects, Bugs and Squiggly Things by Jane Lawliss Murphy.

Flannel Boards

Five Little Snakes

(Traditional. Adapted by Debbie Brightwell Brown. Cut five snakes out of felt, fun foam, or paper using the pattern provided for the snake bracelet craft in this program. Place the snakes on the flannel board one at a time as you recite the rhyme.)

One little snake alone and blue,

Called for a friend. Hiss!

And then there were two.

Two little snakes, fast as can be,

They called for a friend. Hiss! Hiss!

Then there were three.

Three little snakes, slithering by the door,

They called for a friend. Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!

Then there were four.

Four little snakes, happy and alive,

They called for a friend. Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!

Then there were five!

five little snakes

Puppet Show

Inch Worm

(Traditional. Adapted by Debbie Brightwell Brown. This is an easy one-person puppet play. The puppet worm crawls across floor, up the wall, across the ceiling and down the other wall as you recite the poem.)

Puppets and Props

  • Worm puppet or a gloved hand with a finger made to look like a worm
  • Puppet stage or box

Inch worm, inch worm, crawls across the floor.

Inch worm, inch worm, crawls up the door.

Inch worm, inch worm, I hope he doesn’t fall.

Inch worm, inch worm, comes down the other wall.

Inch worm, inch worm, you are an amazing one.

Inch worm, inch worm, watching you is fun!


Crazy Caterpillars


  • Small paper plates, uncoated
  • Crayons or markers
  • Yarn
  • Glue stick (or staples)


Cut enough yarn into 3-inch lengths so that each child will have six pieces. Give each child three small paper plates. Instruct them to draw eyes on one plate and color all three plates. After the plates are colored, let the children glue them in a row with over-lapping edges to create a caterpillar. Let the children glue the yarn pieces along the bottom of the caterpillar for legs. Caterpillar pieces can also be stapled together and the yarn taped onto the plates.

caterpillar craft

Snake Bracelet


  • Construction or copier paper
  • Tape or stapler
  • Crayons or markers

snake bracelet craft


Cut out snakes using the pattern provided at the end of this chapter. Let the children color the snakes.  Wrap the snake around the children’s wrists and tape or staple to hold.

Web Sites

Amazing Insects

This site provides facts, color photographs, and drawings of insects, as well as links to other sites about insects.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

The Crab Man. (9 minutes)

Professional Resources

Simply Super Storytimes by Marie Castellano.

Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011