Tiny Creatures: Finding bugs and insects
Date: 12 Aug 2020
Summer is well and truly upon us and with it comes a variety of wildlife. Butterflies, birds and all manner of creepy crawlies are out in force, enjoying the warm weather and greenery. While it can be alarming for some to find six or eight-legged creatures in the home, insects lead lives almost as busy as ours and have a big part to play in nature.
Now is the perfect time to teach your child about the tiny creatures around us. Go out and track them down!
It doesn’t matter whether you live in the countryside or the city; your nearest green space and the nature that comes with it isn’t hard to find.
A bug hunt is a brilliant way for your child to learn about the natural world. Take them outside on a walk to see what you can find together. Identifying familiar bugs gives your little one confidence in the activity. Learning the names of new creatures encourages their curiosity and expands their knowledge.
Download and print our Bug Hunt Checklist to help you get started, take a magnifying glass to really get into character, and spend the day exploring.
5 Fabulous Bug Facts
Does your child know these facts?
- Butterflies taste with their feet.
- Grasshoppers existed before dinosaurs!
- Fruit flies were the first living creatures to be sent into space.
- Caterpillars have 12 eyes!
- One dung beetle can drag 1,141 times its weight – that’s like a human pulling six double-decker buses!
The Best Places to Find Insects:
Insects live in nearly every habitat. They enjoy either cool, damp locations that are hidden from direct sunlight, or the exact opposite.
- Butterflies and bees are attracted to bright colours. Find them in flowerbeds, bushes and around trees.
- Woodlice and worms can be found under piles of leaves, stones and logs or in the soil.
- Insects also love bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, and the long grass that surrounds these.
If you are looking to take some photos during your adventure, it’s best to go hunting in the early morning. Insects are less active at this time so are more likely to stay still for your camera! Later on when it gets warmer, they’ll be livelier and more visible.
Watch the Sting!
Bees do much more for our environment than we might realise. Beyond making honey, their work pollinating flowers and crops keeps food in our bellies and preserves our healthy ecosystem. Fruits, vegetables, cotton, flax and even the plants we feed to cattle rely on honeybees to pollinate them.
Bees won’t tend to sting you unless they feel threatened or their hive is disturbed. Stay well away from any hives and be gentle around bees in the wild.
Approach busy flowerbeds slowly and don’t wave or swat at any bees. Tell your child they can look, but not touch.
If you want to do your part to help bees, planting flowers is a great place to start. Whether in a garden, balcony or window box. Visit Gardeners World for a guide on the best flowers to plant.
If you have space in your garden and don’t mind playing host to creepy crawlies, you and your child can build a bug hotel. You can use any old natural materials you have lying around to build a structure no more than a metre high.
Visit the RSPB’s website for their brilliant guide to creating a bug hotel.
Books to Read & Inspire Your Child
- 123 A Walk in the Countryside by Rosaline Beardshaw, 0-3 years
- The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle, 3+ years
- The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger, 4-7 years
- i-SPY Creepy Crawlies by Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides, all ages
Bug facts taken from National Geographic Kids. Visit their site to find out more: https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/insects/15-facts-about-bugs/
For more information about bees, visit: