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Capture the Bugs

Great for preschool, daycare, school age after school program or camp.

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3-12 Years


  • Laundry basket
  • String
  • Tongs with a long handle
  • Plastic bugs- the smaller the better

Learning Outcomes

  • Fine motor skills- using the tongs
  • Social skills- if done as a group
  • Mathematics development- counting

Activity Prep

Step 1:

Using a laundry basket with slots in the sides, start by tying the string to one of the slots.

Once the string is firmly attached to the basket, weave it from side to side to create a spider web effect when you look straight down at the basket.

Once you have woven the string through every slot on the basket, tighten the string and tie it off.

Step 2:

Take your plastic bugs and drop them into the bottom of the basket. It’s best if they are mixed around evenly rather than unevenly or in clumps.

Activity Instructions:

Introduce the activity with the following instructions:
“Take ahold of the tongs. Your goal is to capture all of the bugs in the bottom of the basket without touching the spider web. If you touch the spider web you’re caught! You must pull the tongs back out and try again.”


Ages 3-5:

For younger learners weave the web with larger gaps so there’s more space to get the tongs in. Bigger objects will also make it easier as long as the holes are big enough.

Ages 5 and up:

For older learners string the web as close together as possible and use the smallest bugs and tongs that you can find. Just make sure the tongs are long enough to reach the bottom without their hand hitting the web.

Also consider creating a contest for older learners. When we have done this at camp we set a timer for a minute and see who can get the most bugs in a minute without touching the web. You could have students help modify the rules or change the game to get them more into the game. This makes it a blast for school age children as well.  

Learning Questions

  1. Which spot in the web was easier to get the bugs through?
  2. What would have made this game easier?
  3. How many shapes can you see in the web?

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