Ages good for: 3 and older
Yes, you read that correctly, worm play. Real wiggly worms. The first time I did this project was years ago when I was a preschool teacher in the three-year-old classroom. It was such a hit then, that when my husband mentioned the idea to do it with our daughter I was eager to see how she interacted with worms. My daughter and husband went to a local reptile store, where they suggested something called “Super Worms.” Apparently, these worms are a bit more robust and sturdy for little hands. Due to the sensitive nature of this play; this is obviously one you need to do with your child to ensure the safety of the worms.
My daughter was so excited to get home and play with her worms. She was fascinated to see how they moved. To look at them up close and examine all their worm parts. She held them in her hands and allowed them to crawl all over her arm. While she was playing with the worms, I sat beside her and also played with the worms. I described how it felt when the worms crawled on my arm, which sparked conversation for her to explain to me how they felt on her arm. After we spent some time discovering the worms, I took out a sheet of paper and made a start and finish line for worm races.
This is a great activity to spark curiosity and to allow a child to see a living, breathing, moving animal up close. You can put the worms in a plastic shoe box with holes cut in the top for air. They came with sawdust and cardboard, which is what I put in the box with them. You can use a magnifying glass and/or bug viewer for your child to examine the worm up close. For an extension of this activity for older children you can have them measure the worms and decipher which worm is the biggest and which one is the smallest. You can have them take pictures of the worms every few days to see if they have changed in any way. You can rent books from the library about worms and you can create artwork inspired by worms, such as painting with "worms" (a.k.a noodles).
Tools to use in worm exploration: