Introduction: Build a Bug!

About: Early Learning at Science City Science City at home content is sponsored by MRIGlobal. Internationally awarded for “Great Visitor Experience” by ASTC and regionally voted “Favorite Family Friendly Attraction” …

Insects can be found on every continent on Earth and come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the habitat they call home. Though each species of insect is special in its own way, they all have a three-part body, antennae, six legs, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three parts of an insect’s body are the head, thorax and abdomen. Some insects even have wings! Today we will be sculpting our own insects out of playdough, including all of the body parts (except the exoskeleton) as we go.

Parent tips: For early learners, it may be helpful to print out the Parts of an Insect diagram below and use it as a mat to build upon as shown in the cover photo for this activity. For older students, the challenge can be increased by finding a reference image of a specific species of insect and trying to recreate that insect with as much detail as possible.

Parts of an Insect:

3 Body Segments: Head, Thorax and Abdomen
6 Legs: three pairs of legs
Compound Eyes: Insects have special eyes called compound eyes. Compound eyes are made up of thousands of smaller eyes.
Antennae: Antenna are special feelers that insects have on their heads. Antenna can help insects feel things, smell things and sometimes taste or hear things.
Wings (optional): Only some insects have wings, but you can include them on your insect if you’d like!


For this activity, you will need playdough, modeling clay, or some other type of moldable materials.

For instructions on how to make your own taste-safe, no-bake play dough visit our Instructable here:

Step 1: Create Three Body Parts

Every insect has three main body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen! To make three body parts for your insect, roll three chunks of your dough into spheres and line them up as shown above.

Step 2: Add Six Legs

Next, you will need to roll out six legs for your insect! Insects have three legs on each side of their body. To make legs, pull off a small piece of dough and roll it out on the table with your fingers as shown above. Attach the legs to your insect’s body.

Step 3: Make Compound Eyes and Antennae

The next parts you will be adding to your insect are it’s compound eyes and antennae. Most insects have two antennae. You can make antennae the same way you made legs in the previous step, just make sure you attach the antennae to your insect’s head! To make compound eyes, roll out two small spheres, flatten them into little round circles and use a pencil to makes little dots to show the thousands of smaller eyes that compound eyes are made of.

Step 4: Optional: Give Your Bug Some Wings

For more information about Science City, visit or follow us on Facebook @ScienceCityKC. Remember, to tag us or hashtag #ScienceCityKC