Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nature Walks

Take children on nature walks to look for bugs. Tell them to observe only and not touch (a child might touch an insect that could sting). Together talk about how some bugs crawl and other fly. Ask the children to pretend to be an insect and move like the bugs they see. Sing songs like “Eensy Weensy Spider” or “Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee"

At home, plan a "bug hunting exploration" by hiding several plastic toy bugs around the house and invite the children to find them. Another variation is to fill a dishpan with clean sand, hiding the toy bugs inside. Children can catch the toy bugs by using a tweezer or tongs to pull the insects out.

Make a Bug Hotel

In order to observe insects closely, try capturing a few placing them in a well-confined temporary home. With a little “bug hotel”, children can invite friendly insects inside to spend a day or night studying them through its many windows. Youngsters can use poster paint to decorate the outside of an oatmeal container. Paint or draw the windows, then use scissors or a craft knife (adults only) to cut them open.

Placing insect stickers on the container would be fun too. Take a piece of window screening and roll it so it rests snugly around the inside of the container. Trim so the top edge fits beneath the lid, and leave a one-inch overlap where the sides meet. Place the lid on top. Glue a hotel sign on the container – let the kids choose the name.

After the insects have been captured, take time together to look at the bugs closely either with the naked eye or use a magnifying glass. Count the legs, wings, antennae and look at the colors and patterns of the insect. Be kind to the guests – provide some nature food and water (a filled plastic water cap) while they are visiting. When observation is over, just unfasten the lid and let the insects fly out.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Moving right along to the letter O,