When reflecting on the interaction of kids and bugs, you’re reminded of how fascinating these little creatures can be – not only to adults, but especially to children.
Unlocking the door to a miniature universe of wonder can be as simple as just poking around under a rock or in the grass. Collecting insects can be a rewarding and educating experience for both you and your child as well as a great opportunity to bond and build a stronger relationship.
You and your little explorer can try these fun ideas, courtesy of Scholastic:
- Listen! Catch a non-stinging insect that makes noise in a paper cup. Crickets and flies are good candidates. Cover the cup with waxed paper and hold it on with a rubber band. Now place your ear against the paper and listen.
- Plant a butterfly garden. In a sunny spot out of the wind, plant blooming varieties like geraniums and hydrangeas, plus plants that provide food for larvae such as Mexican milkweed. Find out what else the butterflies in your area need at butterflywebsite.com.
- Do the worker-bee waggle! Honeybees “dance” to communicate the location and distance of a nectar stash to the other bees. Talk with your kids about this fascinating communication, and then make up your own version.
- Take an umbrella out on a sunny day. Place it open upside down under a leafy, low-hanging branch. Shake the branch like you mean it — then identify what lands in your umbrella with an insect book or online.
Tools for the Trade
These items will make your child feel like a real scientist:
- Butterfly net
- Tweezers (only for dead specimens)
- Observation jar (punch holes in the lid of a clean jar)
- Magnifying glass
- Notebook for recording thoughts and sketches
- Bug and spider identification book like Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Insects and Spiders (Simon & Schuster, $23; ages 9 to 12) or Don’t Squash That Bug: The Curious Kid’s Guide to Insects (Lobster Press, ages 4 to 8, $15)
- Referencing Massey’s Bug Database
Massey Services provides pest prevention services for residential and commercial properties, but not all insects are harmful.
Have fun exploring!