Do your kids like bugs as much as mine do?
For this week’s summer nature study, we’re going on a bug hunt!
What’s great about this is that you don’t have to go far to go on a bug hunt. A simple trip around the backyard will provide you with a variety of creepy crawlies to check out and explore, as long as you slow down and really look.
My daughter was thrilled to find these “rainbow beetles” shortly after we started our nature walk. A quick peek in one of our bug books verified that they are really Japanese Beetles.
My little scientist enjoyed watching these colorful bugs for quite a while.
Our next find was actually right on our back porch.
I loved watching my 6 year-old turn to the picture index in the back of his beetle identification book to locate its name. I have to say it was a new one to me, but he remembered seeing its picture there before. Kids have amazing memories!
When going on a bug hunt, don’t forget to keep an eye out for evidence that bugs are around! You might find chewed up leaves on a plant, a mound of dirt from an ant hill, or even an exoskeleton!
This cicada exoskeleton led to a whole discussion of how many insects molt and change over time as they grow. We even had to stop exploring for just a bit to find some pictures online of a cicada molting. That’s the great part of a nature study — there are always more questions that come up and you get to discover those answers together. Sometimes those questions lead to a mini unit for us in homeschool.
Finally, we found several of these brown beetles during our bug hunt; they are my son’s favorites.
After using our magnifying glasses to get a closer look, counting their legs (6) and reviewing their body parts, he decided he had to keep a couple overnight as “pets.”
My kids are always keeping bugs as pets for short periods of time. They used to get my good storage containers out to do so, which always made me so happy. (Note the sarcasm in that statement.) I have finally come up with a solution: I poked holes in lids of several old, clear, plastic Ziplock containers. I wrote “bugs” on the sides with permanent marker and stuck them in the lower kitchen drawer next to the good containers. Now they grab these to use for bug homes instead.
Looking for a different alternative? Amazon has tons of bug houses for your nature explorer to use, some even come with their own magnifying glasses.
Other items that you may want to take on your bug hunt:
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Check out our previous Nature Study posts!