Getting out on a bug hunt adventure can be one of the most exciting outdoor activities to do with children.
Bug hunts not only help children appreciate and learn about the environment, minibeasts and plants, but also gives them opportunities to develop valuable planning and enquiry skills.
Bug hunts can be as simple or as adventurous as you want to make them. Ranging from exploring your back garden to venturing into a new and unexplored part of your local area.
While children can often be happy exploring using purely their eyes and hands. There are a few resources and products I would highly recommend gathering together to make the experience as fun and educational as possible (Links to recommended products will be shown at the bottom of this post)
One sunny, bright afternoon the children and I set about planning and preparing for our very own bug hunt adventure.
Planning the exploration
Giving the children a chance to take part in the planning process for an experience like this is a valuable opportunity for nurturing their enquiry and critical thinking skills. Through giving them a series of open ended questions, such as - What if it's muddy... how will we protect out feet and clothes? How will we carry our equipment? If we come to a river, what could we use to catch bugs living in the water? What if they are too small to see, how could we make them look bigger? etc
Here is the plan we drew up before gathering what we needed. The children helped to find the bits and pieces we needed and we checked them off the plan once we had found them.
As you can see, we went well equiped!
Our kit list was as follows:
Scavengar hunt checklist
Small empty boxes
cup catcher scissors
snacks and water
(links to recommended items at the bottom of the post)
Giving children pitcures of insects/plants and items to spot while they are out is a great way to keep them focused. These sheets I found from the following website:
However, if you google nature scavenger hunt there are loads and loads of ideas out there!
We were all set! We didn't actually know where we would go for our bug hunt, so I drove to a local nature reserve and they pointed to where they thought would be a good place to start.
We walked and explored the forest, stopping to look closely at fallen objects or leaves and comparing them with our lists.
Chick 2 mostly just watched the older two with fascination and made a few attempts at fishing a few rocks.
The bug hunt was very much led by the children. They decided which direction we should choose to go in each time there was a fork in the path.
After a few hours of exploring we stopped for a bite to eat and some refreshing drinks.
Finally after lots more searching we came accross a baby frog in one of the marshier areas of the forest. The children were absolutely fascinated (chick 2 was disgusted).
We talked about the life cycle of a frog. The children asked if we could take it home, at which point we had a discussion about looking after wildlife and how creatures can be looked at and observed but then we need to put them back where we found them.
The creatures we managed to find included spiders, woodlouse and beetles.
We also kept our eyes peeled for animal tracks and signs of nesting or rabbit holes.
After a day of exploring and adventuring, the heavens opened and it was time to head back for the car!
Here are the products I'd highly recommend purchasing. Even if it were just one or two items, they can really help enhance the whole experience.