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 little one 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!
Here’s 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).
Here’s what to do
- Tell your little one, ‘We’re going on a bug hunt! But first we have to make a special house for the bugs!’
- Go outside with your little one, and ask them to find some dirt, stones and leaves and put them in the bottom of the container.
- Then get your little one to search for bugs and creepy crawlies in the garden – encourage them to look around flowers, beneath leaves, at the bases of trees and under rocks (most bugs like damp and dark places).
- Remember to watch your little one and make sure they don’t 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).
- When your little one 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 (they can use their fingers instead if you can recognise the bug and know it is harmless).
- Encourage your little one to examine the bug through the container using the magnifying glass. Ask them questions to help them describe the bug – for example, ‘How many legs can you see on your bug?’ or ‘What colours can you see?’
- If you are not sure what type of bug your little one has found, you could try to identify it together. The CSIRO has a great Backyard Bug Guide to get you started – or you can try searching the internet to find out more about the bugs you find together.
This activity is also a good opportunity to talk to your littlie about respecting the environment. Make sure they know that they should be gentle with the bug, and put it back in the garden when they are finished looking at it.