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

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One thought on “Learning About Insects!

  1. Something to think about when the kids are older is to Hatch Lady Bugs in a small Terrarium and set them free into the garden (there are lots of kinds of ladybugs with different colors and different numbers of dots on them!.)

    Pick out and delineate one square foot of grass or soil and find out how many different creatures there are living there…or just passing through. There are several picture books about one square foot of beach, grass, or another kind of soil.

    The correct use of Cocoon (only for moths) and Chrysalis or the plural Chrysalides for butterflies. Cocoon is from the French and Chrysalis from Greek via Latin into the English language.

    Mary Ann Hoberman has so many catchy poems about the natural world, that she is wonderful to discover. A FANtastic book has been made of one of her poems, A House is a House for Me—it encourages looking at other “houses” like my mouth is a house for teeth, etc. Kids will have fun finding other “houses” and it allows for a lot of creative thinking and drawing!

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