Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Insects, Inches, and the Letter I

on February 20, 2017

As I continue working with my four year old grandson, Tahoe, on learning the sounds of the short vowel sounds, I am discovering that I can choose books that help the older grands with concepts they are learning in school (first and third grade). For example, this unit is about the short “I” sound, and some words that begin with this sound are “Insects” and “Inches” which are topics suitable for Kona (6) and Tigger (8). When they come home from school they already have homework, so I am not planning as many activities for them. I just try to fit in some enrichment activities, such as snuggling and reading books with them for their reading logs.

As always, I planned a variety of lessons in all eight intelligences. I try to do two intelligences per day with  Tahoe, one of them always a Linguistic activity. I made this an eight day unit because I had so many books I wanted to introduce and reread with the grands. I usually plan more activities than I can actually do with them, but I always do at least one activity from each intelligence with Tahoe. As you can see, many of these activities do not need a lot of materials or preparation, which is why I love using Multiple Intelligence activities with my grandsons rather than worksheets.

If you would like to see other activities for the short sound of I, you can view these posts that I wrote when Kona was four years old:




Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books-Besides discussing the short sound of “I” with Tahoe, there are many ways academic concepts can be introduced or reinforced when reading and discussing these books with all three of the grandsons. Here are the books I used as part of the Letter “I” unit study:


inch-and-roly-and-hiding-placeInch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place by Melissa Wiley is a “Ready to Read Level One” book about an inchworm who hides in a hole with her friends Roly, Dragonfly, and Beetle to avoid a bird. Tahoe loves this book so much, he doesn’t want me to return it to the library (which means I will probably have to buy a copy for him). There are also other books about Inch and Roly. Academic Focus: Retelling the Story and Sequencing-Since the story is very simple and sequential, this is a great book to use to have the grands retell the story in the correct order of events. I also had Kona read this book aloud to me since it is a good book for early readers. There were only a few words he couldn’t decode by himself.


inchworm-and-a-halfInchworm and a Half  by  Elinor J. Pinczes  tells the story of an inchworm who loves to measure the vegetables that grow near her home. As she is measuring, she discovers that she needs smaller measurements and meets some worms that represent the fractions 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4. This mathematical story is told in rhyme and has great illustrations that help show the reader how fractions can help the inchworm measure her vegetables. Tigger really enjoyed the mathematical concepts in this book when we read it together. Academic Focus: Rhyming-This is a good book to practice matching rhyming words. (And this book also qualifies as a Logical-Mathematical activity since it describes some basic concepts of fractions.)


abc-insectsABC Insects (by The American Museum of Natural History) shows photographs of an insect for each letter of the alphabet with a sentence or two about each of the insects. Some of the critters are ones the grands were familiar with such as dragonfly, queen ant, and grasshopper. Other insects were new to me, such as the velvet ant and waterscorpions. So there is something to learn for everyone in this alphabet book. Academic Focus: Details: Which insects fly and which ones only walk? Tell me something new you learned about some of the insects in the book.


if-you-were-an-inch-or-a-centimeterIf You Were an Inch or a Centimeter by Marcie Aboff explains inches, feet, yards, centimeters, and meters in a clever way that my third grade grandson enjoyed a lot. The illustrations are really cute and kept the attention of the other grandsons, but most of the concepts were too advanced for them to remember afterwards. Still, I am glad they all had a chance to experience it and I will probably check this out of the library again for the younger grands when they are older. There is a measuring activity at the end of the book that looked like fun, but we didn’t try it. Academic Focus: Vocabulary: I had the younger grands focus on the vocabulary words “inch” and “centimeter” while I  discussed with Tigger some of the conversion vocabulary, such as: 600 centimeters equals 6 meters.  (And this book also qualifies as a Logical-Mathematical activity since it describes measurement concepts.)

Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play: I will encourage Tahoe to use the “I” words we have learned during his dramatic play with his brothers. A possible idea for a story starter might be, “An insect wanted to build an igloo…” 

Inches Scavenger Hunt: This activity is planned to have the grands work together. I will give each of them an “inch” ruler and tell them they have five minutes to work together to find as many items in the house that are ____ inches long (this number can be varied). In order to qualify for this “Scavenger List” all three grands must have measured and agreed that the item is ______ inches long. At the end of five minutes they have to show me all the items they found. (This can also be played in reverse. Their parents and I can be given five minutes to find items that are _____ inches long and the grands have to measure all the items we found for our list to make sure we measured correctly.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Physical Games or Activities:  I found some “insect related” games to try with the grandsons at this website:


Cooking: Part of being “body smart” is being able to create healthy snacks for the body so I found these easy “bug snack” ideas to use with the grands: http://thecraftingchicks.com/back-yard-bug-snacks/

Pantomimes: Tahoe and I practiced several “I” words that are easy to pantomime such as: insects, inchworms, iguanas, and igloo. Tahoe will show them to his brothers and have them guess the word he is pantomiming.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)


Songs for Listening:


The “Inchworm” song is from the Danny Kaye movie Hans Christian Andersen. It can be found as a video online.

Songs for Singing:

The “Insect Song” is a children’s song that can be found online at Funtastic TV. 

The “Garden Song” aka “Inch by Inch” is a American folk song that has been recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, Peter Seeger and many other artists so it is easy to find online.


 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

20161109_091106Craft: Practicing the Letter i: I had Tahoe practice making the lowercase letter “i” using construction paper and pom poms.



Craft: Insect Drawing: Tahoe decided he wanted to draw the insect “dragonfly” since that was one of the characters in the books we read for this unit study. I showed Tahoe a step by step video from another website (artforkidshub) and he worked on this project by himself, stopping the video whenever he needed to do so in order to catch up with the steps. Besides drawing the dragonfly, he also used watercolors to complete the project.


Craft: Inchworms: Tahoe was given lots of choices to make three different inchworms. He chose to use pom poms, dot paints, and some smiley stickers his mother had in her craft supplies. He used a pencil to draw the legs on his inchworms, but he also was offered crayons, markers, and pipe cleaners as materials for the legs. Later this craft was used as a logical/mathematical activity.

Craft: Create an Insect: Just before I published this post, I saw this idea on my Facebook feed from another blogger and just had to share it. It is something I plan to do with the grands in the future. http://www.cuttingtinybites.com/2015/08/invitation-to-create-build-bug.html

Videos: I am always able to find lots of short videos on the Internet that teach the sound of the letter I am teaching the grands. We also found short, educational videos on inchworms and insects. 

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips: Our local college has an insect exhibit that we visited. Sometimes there are exhibits to visit in other places in the community such as the library, museums, or parks.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt- We can take a walk around the neighborhood or local park to find different insects. The grands can draw or take pictures of the insects and then later we can try to identify the different insects they discovered by using a field guide or the internet.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number Smart)

Counting activities: Using the book ABC Insects, Tahoe counted the number of insects with wings in the book. 

Measuring: Using the Inchworm art project we created for our Spatial Intelligence, I had Tahoe and Kona measure each inchworm in inches and centimeters. Tigger worked on conversion of centimeters to meters using the book If You Were an Inch or a Centimeter and fractions using the book Inchworm and a Half (see Linguistic Intelligence).


 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading: The grands love to look over the books we have previously read throughout this unit of study on their own time.

Favorites: I asked the grands which of the books from our book study were their favorites. Tahoe’s favorite was Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place. Tahoe also had a favorite insect (dragonflies) while his brothers liked butterflies.


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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2 responses to “Insects, Inches, and the Letter I

  1. Brandi Raae says:

    I miss the picture book phase of parenting!! Don’t have grandkids, yet. 😉 Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays.


  2. swapna says:

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of the inch scavenger hunt! I may use your idea next week itself. Thank you so much! #practicalmondays


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