July 1, 2021

Flexible Teaching: Exploring Cicadas with Preschoolers

By Jessica Allison, Director, Education and Training

As a former Center Director, I know how important it is to take advantage of teachable moments to help young learners better understand the world around them. In the classroom, it can be hard to deviate from the lesson plan, but it’s important to be flexible enough in your curriculum to make room for exciting learning opportunities.

Each day provides a new opportunity to use the wriggling, chirping natural world as a teaching tool for your students. Preschoolers are explorers; they are hungry to find out more about their world. This year, one of those teachable moments that presented itself is learning about the lifecycle of the cicada.

If you live in the Southeastern part of the country, it’s been hard to avoid the cicadas this year—they’re everywhere, and they are noisy!  While they are big and scary looking, cicadas are nothing to fear. They do not bite, sting, or cause harm to crops. These intriguing bugs will be sure to capture the imagination and pique the curiosity of your young learners!

Don’t miss out—the cicadas won’t be aboveground for too much longer this year!

Cicada Facts

Your preschoolers will love these.

  • Cicadas can live as long as 17 years, but they live the majority of their lives underground.
  • Annual cicadas come aboveground at different times.
  • Periodical cicadas emerge from underground at the same time every 13–17 years.
  • Male cicadas make noise by vibrating the plates on their abdomen.
  • Female cicadas make noise with their wings.

We’ve come up with several activities that help preschoolers use cicadas to establish early literacy foundations, hone fine motor ideas and writing, express creativity, and more.

Download a Cicada Exploration Activity