We’re going on a bug hunt!

3 - 8 years
Child in gumboots

The best way for kids to learn about the world is to get outside and discover it for themselves! This easy activity will help your child to develop an understanding of the living creatures in the environment around them – and can be done at the park or in the comfort of your own backyard.

What you need

  • a clear plastic container (such as a plastic jar or takeaway container)
  • a spoon
  • a small piece of cardboard
  • a magnifying glass (you can use a real one, or download an app to your smart device).

What to do

  • Start by asking your child to find some dirt, stones and leaves, and putting them in the bottom of the container to make a house for the bugs.
  • Then encourage your child to search for bugs and creepy crawlies in the garden. Most bugs like damp and dark places, so encourage them to look around flowers, beneath leaves, at the bases of trees and under rocks.
  • Teach your child not to poke their fingers into places you can’t see (such as under rocks or between pieces of wood) in case there are bugs hiding that could bite or sting (and keep an eye on them in case they forget).
  • When your child finds a bug, help them to collect it by carefully using the spoon and piece of cardboard to pick it up and gently and place the bug in the container. (If you recognise the bug and know it is harmless, they can use their fingers instead.)
  • Ask your child to examine the bug with the magnifying glass and describe the bug.

    How many legs can you see on your bug?

    What colours does it have?
  • If you are not sure what type of bug your child has found, you might like to look for it in the CSIRO's Backyard Bug Guide.
  • Teach your child to respect the environment by being gentle with the bug, and putting it back in the garden when they are finished looking at it.
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Last modified
19 April 2020