Do you have memories of catching insects? Putting lightning bugs in jars? Tricking ants to walk on your hand just to see what they really look like? Many small kids are fascinated by insects and love to count things that are familiar to them–especially the same sorts of insects they can find outside. Take advantage of their curiosity and the opportunity to connect their learning with nature with the Bug Jar Learning Pack or frasco de insectos.

This download is designed to start beginning learners on the path of learning basic Spanish numbers and then help them graduate to simple addition and subtraction in Spanish. It also focuses on plural and singular articles, tracing, and more!

Spanish Vocabulary

For beginning learners, you may decide to just focus on Spanish numbers vocabulary. However, as this download is designed to grow with the learner, addition and subtraction vocabulary, as well as some basic words, can be added as desired. The target vocabulary is:

  • 1-5 (numerals)
  • abeja(s)
  • ant(s)
  • bee
  • butterfly / butterflies
  • dragonfly / dragonflies
  • el
  • es igual a
  • frasco
  • hay
  • hormiga(s)
  • la / las
  • libélula(s)
  • los
  • mariposa(s)
  • más
  • menos
  • mosquito(s)
  • resta
  • Spanish Numbers: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez
  • son
  • suma
  • un / una
  • y

What’s Included

Huge thanks to Clipartino for permission to use the adorable clipart. You’ll find the non-color, but super-colorable, download below. The color download is available to newsletter subscribers in the email-Subscriber’s Library. There are seventeen (17) pages.

Ideas for Use

Below we’ve outlined what students will explore as they grow with the numbers bug jar. If you think of other ideas, please share them with the learning community in the comments below.

Tracing and Numerals
Spanish Numbers

Manipulating objects can help learners both contextualize and memorize numbers, especially in a target language. With this download, students have several options for practicing Spanish numbers. The most fun way for many learners is putting insects in the bug jar as they count in Spanish, but even the tracing pages include practice. The insects are specifically grouped so that you do not have to spend valuable time cutting them out individually–unless you want to, of course.

Los números en español
Singular and Plural Insect Vocabulary

There’s a big difference between dodging one bee and dodging a swarm of them. Help students naturally practice and understand the difference, which is important in all languages but especially in Spanish where definite and indefinite articles have singulars and plurals. Learners use numbers and small cards to manipulate the language with their tactile sense, allowing them to visualize, touch, and, if desired, verbalize the differences as they work.

Indefinite Versus Definite Articles

While only a small part of the learning pack focuses on definite versus indefinite articles (pictured below), learners will encounter them naturally as they go through the activities. This pack is specifically designed so that students can begin to develop natural understanding of the language.

Basic Addition and Subtraction

In some cases, students may need to switch to numerals to get a grasp of the basic concepts of addition and subtraction before adding words. This download includes numeral and word-based blocks to manipulate, allowing the teacher or parent to decide what each student is ready to tackle and how.

Next-Level Addition and Subtraction

Learning to count in another language is fun, and so is basic math. The more students use the language, the more they retain. So, when students are ready, simply add basic vocabulary to the work they are already doing, and watch them produce math equations like a pro. Below are the most common ways to perform addition and subtraction out-loud in Spanish. Click on each of the following links for pronunciation help:

Tips and Tricks

So that the frasco de insectos lasts long enough to truly grow with your student(s), you can take a few steps to extend the download’s life. While lamination is an obvious option, you can also use clear sheet protectors (the kind that go in binders) or even quart or gallon-sized kitchen/food bags. Any of these three options will allow you to also use dry-erase markers instead of the included paper manipulation blocks. Or, learners can even draw their own bugs and insects and write numerals and words instead of using those included in the download.

Another great idea is to head outside or to use real jars. The more contextualized the learning, the better the learners will generally retain what they study. Or, ask learners to use the below page or their insect cards to complete a treasure hunt for the insects.

Other Resources You Might Like

When learners are ready to move to more complex numbers, they may enjoy our free Spanish numbers mazes. Still need more numbers practice or want to try another download with insects? Try our free Spanish Numbers Caterpillars. Want more free tracing sheets like the one in this pack? Try our Spanish Numbers and Colors Snails.

Have a fantastic idea to share? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

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