A friend who is homeschooling her children commented to me the other day how her son had wanted a bug party, and how she couldn’t figure out how to do one. Knowing how creative she was, I was surprised she did not have answers. That’s why this post exists, for any mothers or child caregivers working with 3 to 8 year olds who might find my random thoughts on bug parties amusing.
First, have it in the summer, so there are bugs handy. Secondly, it can all be based on just one activty, or as many as you like.
1. HOW MANY BUGS DO WE KNOW: As a group, create a list of all the different kinds of insects you can think of. Depending on how many end up on the list, there could be a basis for a single group book, or many small individual books.
2. BUG HUNT: Go to a park, a hill in the yard, somewhere where there is lots of grass, dirt, and hopefully bugs. If it is a hot day and your own yard, run the sprikler for a bit about an hour before you do this. Lie on your stomachs on the hill very, very quietly and see if you see any bugs. Share your findings with the others quietly, and see what the bugs do and where the bugs go.
3. FIREFLIES: If you are fortunate enough to live where there are lightning bugs, have a sleepover. Collect lots of lightning bugs in jars. Sit in a circle and sing bug songs or make up bug stories and tell them to your bug ‘friends’. Let them go before bed so that they can be like stars and watch over you while you sleep (preferably in the bag yard most likely with a tent).
4. IDENTIFYING BUGS: If you live near a park get a book or few like “Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths” by Jim Arnosky or “How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects ” by Ruth Heller and see if you can find any of what are in the book(s). Can become a great learning moment for things like how butterflies and bees help trees to make fruit, or how dragonflies eat mosquitos.
5. EDIBLE BUGS: Cut up some fruit into strips and chunks, and have the children use them to create their own bugs out of fruit bits, then eat their bugs as a snack.
6. PAINT BUGS: Fold an oval shaped paper in half. Using some poster paints, and teaspoons, let the children create designs on their paper. They then fold and squish it. Help them reopen then, and set them aside to dry. When it is dry, give the bugs eyes and legs.
7. SPINNERFLIES: Children would use an inexpensive salad spinner for this. Cut butterfly shapes that will fit into the spinner. Children put there butterfly in the spinner, then spatter poster paints on it, then spin madly to create unique their spinnerflies.
8. BUTTERFLY GARDEN: Reading a book like “The Butterfly Seeds” by Mary Watson, as an aid to introduce the idea of butterfly gardens. Discuss the idea of creating ones. Then, using books like “My Butterfly Garden” by Victoria Keys learn about butterfly gardening, what flowers that would work, etc. Plan how you as a group will make your own butterfly garden. Find the seeds you need, and start the garden. Plan ‘butterfly picnics’ for when the garden has grown and the butterflies start to come.
9. FOLLOWING BEES: First discuss how bees are not vicious, but protect themselves, and can be watched and followed safely if you are careful. In a group of up to three children and one adult, take a trip to an outside flower garden with binoculars. Find a bee, and follow it, using the binoculars as much as you can. See where it goes. Can you keep up with it using the binoculars, without damaging the garden, or scaring the bee? Where does it go? What flowers does it like? This could become a journal activity, following different wild animals using binoculars (like squirrels, pigeons, and grasshoppers).
10. RAINWEBS: During a week there is a forecast for a light rain, plan a walk in a nearby park after the rain. You are on quest to find a rainweb. That’s a spiderweb that has been dewed with rain (my word, to help the quest seem magical). When the sun comes out after a light rain, it will sometimes make small rainbows on wet spiderwebs, so that’s why you’re hunting for one. If you find one, don’t touch it, or the jewellike web could get broken, and will be gone. Maybe you will find one, maybe you will not. That’s what a quest is all about!
These are ten activities that could be part of a bug hunt. If anyone out there finds them useable, yay!! 🙂