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Looking for a fast, easy STEAM project for creating insects? Try craft foam shapes!


  • Craft foam shapes (with or without sticky backing) from wherever you purchase arts and crafts supplies
  • Age-appropriate scissors
  • Markers

Have the children select shapes and put them together make insects. Older students may want to cut the shapes and add designs with markers.

Creations can be glued to paper or to a Con-tact paper window (see below).

Optional:  Add the insects to a contact paper window with frame.

Gather for adult to make ahead of time:

  • Clear Con-tact paper (found at hardware store)
  • Foam sheets (art/craft supply)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Using the ruler to make lines, make square or rectangle frames out of foam sheets. Cut them out. Lay the frames on the contact paper (with protective waxy backing still in place) and trace around them. Cut out the contact paper, peel the waxy backing off, and press the contact paper to the frame. Retain the waxy backing and press onto the sticky side again if you are going to transport the frames (keeps them from sticking together).

Apply the insects to the sticky side of the Con-tact paper to make a scene. Add paper, pressed or fresh plant material if desired.

Optional 2:  Read How to Build an Insect by Roberta Gibson and illustrated by Anne Lambelet.


As some of you may know, my debut picture book is coming out April 6, 2021 from Millbrook Press. I promise not to overwhelm you with posts about it, but this week I started doing virtual school visits and I just had to share.


Monday I "visited" Mosaic Prep in Brooklyn.

We learned that slugs are not insects and that lady bugs are really beetles. What an amazing group of young scholars.


Today I "built" an insect with some enthusiastic sixth graders.

Sharing insect science with young people keeps me on my toes and I probably learn more than they do. What a wonderful start on this journey.

Side Notes:

In case you are interested, I'm building a list of related hands-on activities at my writer's website.

Also, if you would like your book "signed" virtually, I have some bookplates available.

Look what arrived in a box on the front porch yesterday:


Physical copies of my debut picture book, How to Build an Insect!

What's it about?

Calling all curious young scientists, artists and makers! Come into the workshop and find out How to Build an Insect. While you are inside, discover different insect body parts —from head to cerci — and how they go together. At the same time, explore how human body structures compare to those of insects through playful illustrations. The workshop in the book has so much to offer, once you come through the doors, you might not want to leave. Once you do, however, crank up your creativity and build your own insect model!


Educators know that hands-on STEAM activities reinforce learning and help youngsters develop fine motor skills. Those abilities will allow adults to perform tasks ranging from a fishermen tying flies to surgeons suturing a patient. Plus, by reading the book young readers will learn to observe, compare, and develop the vocabulary needed to classify and appreciate insects. Full STEAM ahead!

It has been a long journey to publication. I hope children enjoy reading it for years to come.

How to Build an Insect will be available to the public April 6, 2021. You can pre-order copies at the publisher Lerner Books, at our local indie bookstore, Changing Hands, or most other places books are sold.

If you'd like to take a peek at the amazing illustrations, visit Anne Lambelet’s website.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information. Thanks!