Learning About Insects!

Many children are fascinated by insects, and learning about the role they play in nature can make them less intimidating and even endearing.  Recently, the Museum of Natural History here in LA held their annual Bug Fair. There were people dressed in giant insect costumes, bug candy, bug crafts, bug stickers, and even some real bugs for eating (my daughter was surprised that bugs are food for people in some cultures).  Here are a few activities you might try if your child is interested in learning about insects this summer:

1.Field Journal:  Get a blank notebook or sketchbook, and hunt for bugs in your yard, at the park or wherever you go.  You can fill the notebook with drawings, facts, photos, and help your child write tidbits about insects.  You can look through and review entries with your little entomologist.  Learning the word Entomology (the scientific study of insects) would surely impress their pals.

2. Insect Du Jour:  Notice one insect each day and look up facts about it on the internet or get some bug books from the library, and learn about one each day while you keep your eyes open for it.  My daughter enjoys coloring a picture from her Bugs from A to Z coloring book and we peek at the species she is coloring on the internet and look at it in photos.

3. Insect crafts/activities: Decorating a butterfly with melted crayon, making your own antennae with pipe cleaners and a plastic headband, pompom caterpillars or making a ladybug with construction paper, goggly eyes and paper plates.

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I leave you with this charming poem entitled Praying Mantis

That praying mantis over there
Is really not engaged in prayer.
That praying mantis that you see
Is really preying (with an e).
It preys upon the garter snake.
It preys upon the bumble bee.
It preys upon the cabbage worm,
The wasp, the fly, the moth, the flea.
(And even sometimes, if its need is great,
It even preys upon its mate.)

With prey and preying both so endless
It tends to end up rather friendless
And seldom is commended much
Except by gardeners and such.

Mary Ann Hoberman


Simple and Festive 4th of July Sweets

Kids look forward to the 4th of July for so many reasons. Festive treats for them to participate in making could become a fun tradition in your home.  Here are a few simple ideas to consider adding to your 4th of July fare:

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If you are feeling a bit more daring, and are looking for some wow-factor, you might try this beautiful and tasty looking cake from Betty Crocker.  I would love to try this myself, when I am not nearly 40 weeks pregnant and chasing two young children  : )

Here is a link to the recipe and instructions:


Red White and Blue Layered Cake from Betty Crocker