Chance for discoveryAs an experiment, I started by laying out the pieces with the blank sides up. One at a time, I asked the J's to come in and tell me what they noticed. For each of them, at some point, there was a moment when they tipped or turned a piece over and discovered the insects. Their reactions were a real delight and they realized it was special feeling, so quickly helped rearrange the pieces and get another sibling so that they could have the same experience.
Making patternsHaving started with the blank sides of the pieces, it felt natural to the kids to sometimes play with these tiles just to make patterns. Here is one example:
Playing the gameOf course, there is also delight in playing the game itself:
From this detail, you can see that J3 (playing black pieces) is following an unorthodox strategy. At this stage, she is really learning the rules and sees the whole activity as a strange way to play together to create unusual patterns and combinations of the bugs: