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Most of the time, we find insects unattractive and annoying, but the insect world can occupy little ones for several minutes...or even hours! Here are a few simple exploration suggestions you can try with both very young and older children. They require basic equipment: a few butterfly nets, plastic containers that can be used to capture and observe insects, magnifying glasses, gloves for those who may not appreciate touching insects with their bare hands, and, as an added bonus, pictures and illustrations of common insects to help children identify their findings.
Ladybugs: They can often be found on screen doors. Children can use their fingers to gently capture and observe them or use magnifying glasses to look at them through screen doors for a different view.
Worms:They like to hide under rocks and in wet areas and are easy to find after a summer shower because they like the fresh air and crawling across the damp ground. Very brave children will enjoy holding them in their hands, whereas others will prefer to watch them slither along. You can drop a few inside clear jars filled with soil to offer different observation possibilities. If the children in your group love worms and you are unable to find some in your yard, work around this fact and purchase a container of worms sold for fishing.
Slugs, caterpillars, and other crawling insects:They shuffle along slowly and like to hide under leaves and in flowerbeds. Most of all, slugs and their little pals love cool, wet areas. They are easy to capture and the way they tickle children's hands makes them lots of fun. Find a few of these and drop them in a clear jar along with leaves to provide children with the opportunity to observe them up close.
Ants:These tireless workers dig hundred of tunnels under our feet. Children like to watch them at the exit of their anthill. Did you know that ants dislike chalk? Use chalk to draw a wide line on their path to see them make u-turns as they approach it. Better yet, draw circles around ants to watch them go around in circles. If you'd like to make a few of these tiny insects disappear, fill spray bottles with water and dishwashing liquid and encourage children to spray the mixture wherever they see ants or an anthill. They will love ant hunting!
Spiders:Spiders are mysterious insects that are fun to observe. Some have very long legs. Some are white, some are black, and others look like hairy balls. No two spiders are the same. Children will have fun making them climb on sticks or observing their beautiful webs that can be quite impressive. Encourage children to admire spider webs in the yard after a shower; they are even prettier when they are filled with droplets of water.
Grasshoppers:Often, we have to wait until mid-August to see grasshoppers. They may jump on your legs if you go for a walk in a field. With their funny legs that enable them to jump very high, they are a lot of fun to watch. However, you have to think very fast if you want to catch them, but the hunt is so much fun!
Butterflies:Whether they are very small and white or huge and colourful, butterflies always attract our attention. With their paper-thin wings, they are very fragile. It is therefore best to admire them from afar. They are attracted to colourful flowers and fruit juice. It's easy to create a small butterfly oasis in your yard. Doing so will provide children with frequent observation opportunities.
In conclusion, think and look around like a child when you are in your yard to discover an insect-filled world that's just waiting to be discovered. Insect observation is free and accessible for all, regardless of the size of your yard. Insects can even be explored at your local playground!
However, warn children about getting too close to bees and wasps to avoid attacks. Nonetheless, these insects are also very interesting, but from a distance.
Caroline AllardEarly childhood educator
Educatall.com is not responsible for the content of this article. The information mentioned in this article is the responsibility of the author. Educatall.com shall not be held responsible for any litigation or issues resulting from this article.
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