Chirping Crickets

Children will explore crickets and their sounds.


Lesson Objective

The children will observe crickets and explore the sounds they make.


What You'll Need

  • Crickets – 2 per small group of children (collected outside or purchased from a pet store)
  • Magnifying glasses – 1 per child
  • Clear containers with air holes punched in the lid (such as a clean peanut butter jar) – 1 per small group of children
  • Cotton balls dampened with water – 1 per jar
  • Bits of apples and potatoes – a few pieces per jar
  • Leaves, twigs, and grass – enough to cover bottom of jar
  • 6" combs – 2 per child

What To Do

Note: Divide the class into small groups for this activity. Prior to the lesson, place 1 or 2 crickets in jars for the children to observe.

  1. Discuss what is known about insects (see Did You Know?).
  2. Tell the children they will be observing crickets and the sounds they make.
  3. Distribute magnifying glasses and containers with crickets. Ask the children questions about insects to determine if crickets are insects (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  4. Tell the children they will be keeping the crickets for a few days. Assist the children with placing leaves, twigs, grass, a cotton ball, and some food into the jars with the crickets.
  5. Ask the children if they have ever heard cricket noises, how crickets make noise, and what they sound like.
  6. Distribute the combs. Explain how crickets make noise (see Did You Know?).
  7. Demonstrate for the children how to rub the teeth of the combs together to make a cricket-like noise. Give the children some time to experiment with the combs.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Tell me what an insect body looks like.
  • Describe what the cricket’s body looks like.
  • Explain how a cricket is like other insects.
  • Tell me where we can find crickets.
  • Describe what crickets need to live (i.e., food, air, water, shelter).
  • Tell me about the noise the crickets are making. How do you think they make those noises?

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Draw pictures of the crickets. Have the children include three-part bodies, six legs, and two antennae.
  • Keep the crickets and magnifying glasses available in the Science area for further investigation.
  • When you release the crickets outside, make sure the children notice how far the crickets can jump.
  • Take the children outside to look for crickets; look under leaves or logs and around damp places near gardens.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain how a cricket is an insect?
  • Could children tell what crickets need to live?
  • Could children make a cricket-like noise using the combs?


Did You Know?

Crickets are insects that are found on the soil, hiding under dead plants, or on live plants. Like all insects, crickets have a three-part body, two antennae, and three pairs of jointed legs. Crickets also have wings. Like all insects, crickets need food, air, water, and shelter to live. Preferring hiding places out of the light, crickets are often found under leaves or logs and around damp places in gardens. Because they like the dark, most crickets are nocturnal. Crickets find their way using their antennae and move by crawling or hopping.

Like many different animals, crickets use sound to communicate with each other. Not all crickets chirp; the male crickets do most of the chirping. Crickets do not use their legs to chirp. Their chirping sound is made by rubbing their wings together. Each wing has a ridged file on the bottom and a sharp-edged part at the top of the wing. Crickets produce sound when the top of one wing is moved over the ridged file on the bottom of the other wing. Crickets can chirp at different rates, and sometimes the rate of chirping depends on the temperature.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • insect – a small animal with a hard covering over its body.
  • cricket – an insect related to a grasshopper with long antennae and strong legs for jumping.
  • chirp – a short sound with a high pitch.
  • wing – a part of the body on some animals; wings are sometimes used for flying.
  • shelter – a safe place to live.
  • nocturnal – active at night.

Lesson Tips

Crickets are fast movers and difficult to catch. Take extra caution when adding material to the jars so the crickets do not escape.


  • The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
  • Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
  • Crickets by Cheryl Coughlan
  • Singing Crickets by Linda Glaser

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS