The Very Lonely Firefly
No preschool firefly unit would be complete without The Very Lonely Firefly, by Eric Carle. In this sweet summery story, a firefly is born who wants to find some friends. He looks everywhere trying to find a companion, but instead finds things like candles, flashlights, fireworks, and a lantern. Finally, after a long search, the lonely little firefly finds a group of fireflies flashing their lights. He’s not a lonely firefly anymore!
Use the story of The Very Lonely Firefly as a springboard for these firefly crafts. These crafts make fun activities and are both easy to make and fun for preschoolers. Each of the firefly crafts - the flashlights and catchers - can be taken home for more fun on those summer nights in the backyard.
Toilet Paper Roll Fireflies
For each firefly you will need:
- empty toilet paper rolls (1 per child)
- yellow construction paper circles, 4 inches wide (1 per child)
- construction paper heart shapes of any color (2 per child)
- any color pipe cleaners (1 per child)
On one end of the empty toilet paper roll, glue the yellow circle just inside the tube. It will curve around the toilet paper tube. Make sure it sticks out enough that it resembles a glowing firefly tail. Next, glue the two heart shapes in the middle of the toilet paper roll to make the firefly’s wings. Finally, cut a pipe cleaner in half and curl the top into a circle to make an antenna. Glue two “antennas” inside the top of the toilet paper roll. Now you have a toilet paper roll firefly!
During this activity, facilitate the identification of the circle and heart shapes, as well as the colors of construction paper used. Ask the children to pick up the “yellow circle” and “orange heart” as they make the firefly crafts. Count the number of hearts, circles, and pipe cleaners too.
For each flashlight you will need:
- one flashlight per child (try the dollar store for $1 flashlights or ask parents to send one to class)
- two 2 inch half circle foam shapes
- two 4 inch half circle foam shapes
- 2 thin, rectangular foam shapes
- 2 small foam circles for eyes, one-half inch wide
The lighted end of the flashlight will be the firefly’s tail. Glue the two eyes on each side of the other end of the flashlight to make the firefly’s eyes. Now glue the two rectangular shaped antenna at the top of the flashlight, above the eyes. Midway down the flashlight is where you will glue one 2 inch half circle and one 4 inch half circle on each side of the flashlight to make wings. Let the flashlight fireflies dry, then turn them on to see them light up!
For each firefly catcher you will need:
- 2 clear, plastic cups
- a variety of small stickers
- a hole puncher
- a small piece of yarn
To make this firefly catcher, punch one small hole near the top of the lip of two clear plastic cups. Punch a few tiny holes in the bottom of one of the cups for air holes with a sharp instrument. (do this before class) Thread the piece of yarn through each hole and tie the yarn to make a hinge between the two cups. One cup will sit on top of the other cup so that you have a lid. Now let the kids put small stickers on the cups. This is good fine motor practice. Use tiny stickers that won’t obscure the view inside of the catcher. Stickers of little bugs, flowers, or stars would be good ones to use. Make sure you talk about the importance of catching the fireflies, watching them for a little while, and then letting them go. The catchers are for observing the fireflies for a short time period, not for keeping them.