Crawling Critters

Did you know that without bugs we would not be able to survive? Ants, spiders, worms and beetles help breakdown garbage, fertilize the soil and keep the insect population under control. Read, discover and create to uncover your favorite creepy-crawly during the Spring Learning Challenge or all year long!


Crickwing: Fall in love with this brave cockroach sculptor as he defends his home from a swarm of army ants.

Diary of A Spider: A humorous look at the day-to-day life of a spider as he learns to get along in the world.

Masterpiece: Boy and beetle team up in this art heist mystery.


  • What is the difference between an insect and a spider? What makes earthworms different?
  • Dig into the leaf litter and investigate the living things you find. Take a spoon or trowel, paper plate and magnifying glass (if you have one) to your backyard or other natural area with lots of soil, dead leaves and twigs. Scoop some leaf litter onto your plate. Spread it out and look see what you find. Do you see any living things? Make a list of the organisms you observe. Draw one or more of them and try to label the body parts. When you are done, gently place the leaf litter and living things back where you found them.
  • Observe ants in your neighborhood. What kinds of food to ants like to eat the most?
  • Build your own crawling critter and help it navigate a habitat.
  • Explore life as a bug with Museum Victoria's Bugs online exhibit. Then catch some bugs yourself.
  • Try a bug activity inspired by Xtreme Bugs with the Chicago Zoological Society.


  • Make an egg carton spider or caterpillar.
  • Spiders build their own habitats. Using a paper plate and string, design and build your own spider web.
  • Build an ant farm of your own.
  • Write a story about what it would be like to be a bug for a day. Things to include in your story:
    • What type of bug are you?
    • Where do you live?
    • What and how do you eat?
    • What are the dangers and how do you survive?
  • Pick your least favorite creepy-crawly and write an acrostic poem with its name.

Looking for even more? Try one of the Fantastic Flyers activities.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library