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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bug Hunting With Kids

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This is a guest post by Debi Huang; Check out her blog at:
Go Explore Nature

Bug Hunting With Kids

While it’s true not all kids like bugs, going on a bug hunt is still fun – especially if you take along some friends. After all, the more eyes looking out for critters, the better! Here’s how to make your next adventure a success, even for the most squeamish among you.

Bug hunt container

1. Bring the right tools.

A bug container, bug tweezers and a magnifying glass are pretty much essential. The kid-sized tweezers make grabbing fairly simple, even for little ones. Store your catch in a bug container long enough to examine it close up without fear of it crawling or flying away. Just be sure to release it before heading inside!

Bug hunt worms[1]

2. Know where to look.

Backyard bugs can usually be found under things, like potted plants or other heavy items. If you’re on the trail, look for bugs in flowers and trees or near water.

3. Take your time.

Bugs are easy to miss if you’re walking too fast. Most are small and many have the gift of camouflage, making them tough to spot at first glance. Take it slow and let your eyes roam the area for anything that moves. You might even want to pick one place and hang out for a while.

4. Search for signs of bugs, too.

Finding bugs is thrilling, but so are signs of bugs or bug homes. Spider webs and vacated cocoons are good examples. My kids are also enthralled with dead bugs, so don’t be too quick to discourage curiosity in whatever form it comes.Bug hunt damselfly

5. Try to stay quiet.

I know what you’re thinking – how is staying quiet possible with kids? But you’d be surprised how willing kids are to listen and be still when looking for bugs and other wild critters. And once you’ve spotted one – and you will, trust me – even the littlest of kids seems instinctively to know to be still and enjoy their new toy. At least for a little while!

Debi Huang is a Los Angeles-based wife, mom and adventure guide for two young boys. Her blog at Go Explore Nature is all about getting kids and families outdoors and connected to nature.

5 comments:

  1. At night during the late spring, summer and early fall, my family likes to go spider hunting. It has to be dark, not dusk. If you take your headlamps (flashlights don't provide the right light angle for this) and walk around looking at the grass, you will see what looks like dew drops reflecting the light back at you. Keep your eye on the dew drops and walk slowly up to them. Look down into the grass and you will generally find even the smallest of spiders.

    It's a great night time camping activity after dinner, but before the s'mores start rolling. We will even do this walking around our neighborhood. It's a great way to meet the neighbors. We get the questions all the time, "what are you guys doing". When we explain it, generally several neighbors will join in.

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  2. Spider hunting is a great idea! Next time I have the kids camping I'll use this as one of the activities.
    Thanks.

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  3. We've never tried spider hunting at night - what a great idea!

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  4. That's a great idea! I'm taking my youngest son hiking his boy scout troop next weekend, and this would be a great activity to have with the kids. Does anyone know a company that sells hiking gaiters for kids, that I could order online? Thank you for the help.

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