Is your kid fascinated by creepy, crawly, flying and winged things? Many kids love bugs of all kinds. It shouldn’t bug you, however, because it’s normal for kids.
Is your kid forever coming home with a new insect? Does he or she spend hours in the garden digging for stink bugs and beetles?
You were probably the same way as a child. All children seem drawn to these tiny creatures who surround us. Instead of flipping out, use this fascination to help your children learn more about the natural world.
Encourage Their Learning
The good news is you can encourage your kids to use their love of bugs to learn. You don’t have to allow them to bring bugs into the house, but you can encourage their curiosity with fun activities that sharpen their knowledge of the natural world.
Help Them Enjoy Nature
Children adore animals of all kinds, and bugs are often the first ones they can see up close, catch and handle. Bugs are everywhere, and kids who are discovering nature can spend hours watching them.
Many kids love to capture bugs and bring them indoors. While you may not find that particularly appealing, it’s smart to encourage your kids to enjoy nature. It’s also a great opportunity to help them learn about nature, animals, the outdoors and the importance of all creatures in the ecosystem.
These Bugs Are Harmless
Many bugs are harmless. That includes bugs that might gross you out.
- Cave crickets: These weird-looking critters appear to be a cross between a spider and a cricket, which is why some people call them spider crickets or sprickets. You can find them in caves and in the basements of homes. They are harmless and don’t spread infection.
- Daddy-long-legs: These common cellar spiders are also harmless.
- Ladybugs: Many children adore these pretty, delicate bugs that have their own famous song. Ladybugs are helper bugs that control aphid populations in your garden. Some gardeners buy ladybugs to keep their flowers safe. They are harmless to humans.
- Praying mantis: This well-known bug is a deadly killer of aphids and other destructive bugs. It’s harmless to humans.
- Butterflies: These beautiful insects are harmless to humans, but children should learn to handle them and all bugs with care. They should not try to catch or keep butterflies.
- Lightning bugs or fireflies: If you’re lucky enough to have these glowing bugs in your yard, enjoy the nightly show.
Plan Bug-Related Activities
You can plan fun activities that will get the whole family involved in insect-related fun.
Build a Bug Zoo
The Science at Home website has detailed instructions on helping children build a bug zoo in the yard. This allows your kids to observe their favorite little critters up close.
The instructions include letting the trapped bugs go free after a day or two of observation. Use this experiment to have fun with your kids while teaching them the importance of letting all animals live in their natural habitat.
Visit a Museum
Is there a natural science museum in your city? Arrange a trip there with your bug-loving kids. Some cities have museums dedicated entirely to bugs. They include the Bug Museum in Washington, Insectropolis in New Jersey and the K-State Insect Zoo in Kansas. Find out if there’s a similar museum close to you.
Visit a National Park
Visit a state or national park near you that offers outdoors hikes, walks or tours for families. They often have insect safaris, bug demonstrations and other insect-related events. This will be fun for everyone.
Don’t Let It Bug You
Your kid’s bug fascination is a gift that can bring both of you hours of fun, learning and exploration. Learn to appreciate bugs along with your kid.