Science Activities For Children Interested In Bugs

Bugs are interesting for kids to study.

Encouraging children to participate in science activities centered around bugs is a great way to introduce them to insects that are a vital part of our ecosystem. By setting up fun and interesting projects around bugs, you’re sure to set a few future entomologists down the path towards knowledge.

Bug Life Cycle Diagrams

Children love butterflies.

Children like butterflies because they’re so beautiful. Teaching children about butterflies is the perfect way to introduce them to a basic insect life cycle. Have the children draw a diagram of the four stages of a butterfly’s life. The first cycle of life is the egg. The second is the caterpillar or larvae, and the third is the pupa or cocoon. Finally, the butterfly emerges. Teach children that other insects also have a similar life cycle, such as the ant and beetle. Ants and beetles also start their lives within an egg, then hatch into a larvae, transform inside a pupa and emerge as an adult. You can have the children draw the life cycles freehand or use printouts.

Good Bug Craft Projects

Teach kids that ladybugs are friendly to the environment.

Teaching children about ladybugs is a fun way to demonstrate that not all insects are harmful. In fact, insects are essential to the balance of the ecosystem. Ladybugs aren’t scary looking and their bright colors are attractive to kids. Plus, they help keep gardens healthy by eating aphids. Have children make an anatomically correct ladybug out of construction paper. Red construction paper can be used for the wing covers, clear plastic sheets can be cut out for the wings, black construction paper for the head and body. Black construction paper can also be used for the dots on the wings and the antenna. Have the kids paste on two googly eyes on the head. This project can also be applied to other friendly bugs, such as the praying mantis and spider. The praying mantis is a friendly garden bug that also eats aphids that would be harmful to plants. Spiders may be unwelcome house guests, but a spider spinning a web on the porch actually captures harmful bugs, such as mosquitoes.

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Honeybee Activities

Honeybees have their own language just like humans do.

Because they live in a large societies just as humans do, bees have developed their own form of communication. Bees use body language to communicate the location of flowers from which they extract nectar. Have the children do a honeybee dance. Hide a flower somewhere in the room and tell just one child, who is the “dancer bee,” where it is. The dancer bee then has to do a dance and use only his body language to indicate to the other children where the flower is located. Another educational activity to teach children about honeybees is to plant a small bee-friendly garden. Honeybees prefer certain flowers and herbs. Plant mint, bee balm and sunflowers in a garden or a garden box. Another science activity involving bees that is also fun and delicious is to share jars of honey that include the comb. You can buy honey with the comb at health food stores. Children will be able to see a part of the beehive up close and enjoy the honey.

Fieldwork

Go for a walk in the woods.

Teach children that real scientists go out and do field work. Take the kids to a park or nearby woods. You can even just go to a garden. Tell the children that insects are all around us. In fact, if all the tiny insects were weighed together, they would outweigh all the humans on earth. Have them look under leaves and on the bark of trees for insects. They should jot down notes and sketches of what they see. Tell the children that they shouldn’t harm or touch any insects that they come across. Encourage them to be very quiet for a few minutes and see if they can hear the noises that insects make. They may even be able to distinguish certain calls, such as those from a cicada. Gather the kids and ask them to participate in a discussion about why insects are good for the environment. Some good responses would be that insects provide food for birds and that insects help process leaf litter by eating it and turning it into compost that helps trees grow.

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