WARNING: The following is meant to keep cool kids busy for hours exploring, learning and having fun. If you want your children to stay glued to a couch in front of the television, computer or video game eating chips and drinking soda do not read on!
First thing’s first. Every great adventurer needs the right tools before exploring the world (or backyard) for creepy crawlies. Your child needs a safe way to catch and contain bugs. Coolbugstuff.com has many inexpensive Bug Catchers and Bug Houses available. You may start out with these or...
Cool Parent-Child Idea #1: Make your own net. You’ll need an old broom stick, mop handle or a long straight stick for the handle, a wire hanger to hold the net, and an old pillowcase or stocking (no fishnet moms) for the net itself and duct tape to hold it all together. Help children shape the hanger into a circle. Bend the two ends vertically away from the circle at a length approximately 3”. Use the duct tape to secure the straightened ends to the top of the handle. Now take the opening if the stocking or pillowcase and carefully fold it over the rim of the hander and secure with either duct tape or it may even be sewn onto the rim. It may not be pretty but it will work. Besides, you and your child made it together!
Cool Parent-Child Idea #2: Kids love to experiment and kids love sweets. Let’s put them together for our next cool project. Capture a beetle, millipede, or Grasshopper. Put it into a Bug House. With your child prepare two separate water dishes using tops from containers. In one mix water with sugar and the other mix water with artificial sweetener. Place both in the container with your bug and observe. Does your bug like the water with natural sugar or artificial sweetener? You can also use the same idea to test if your bug prefers Cheerios over Fruitloops, bananas over apples, or broccoli over donuts.
Cool Parent-Child Idea #3 (really cool parent): The only thing cooler than finding a bug is finding a fossilized bug! This may be a bit difficult so let’s start off making our own. First you need to find a dead (and dry) bug. This should be fairly easy since bugs do not live long (especially in your house!). A dead Ant, June Beetle, Dragonfly or Fly would work fine. You can either “press” them carefully into clay to leave a fossilized looking imprint or…take out some wax paper and honey. Place the bug on the paper and pour a small amount of honey on top. Place in freezer and in 20 minutes you have fossilized “amber” with bug in the center. Cool.
Cool Parent-Child Idea #4: Spider webs are truly a work of art (and survival). Each spider web is different from another and some spiders spin new webs everyday. Observe the different patterns and try to recreate them with your child on paper. Coolbugstuff.com has a wonderful Spider Web Frame for your back yard as well.
Cool Parent-Child Idea #5: Like snakes and lizards, bugs shed their skins, called exoskeletons, during a process called MOLTING. Talk to your child about how people grow and demonstrate how bugs grow and molt by using non-toxic white craft glue. Spread a small amount of glue on your child’s hand and let dry. Slowly peel dried glue off and discuss the different creepy crawlies that shed or molt.
Cool Parent-Child Idea #6: Over time collect dead and dried bugs with your child. A good place to store your bugs is in a small tackle box. After you and your child have collected six to twelve bugs it’s time to make a display box. Take the top of a shoe box and fill it just above the rim with cotton balls making sure there are no gaps or spaces in between. You may use glue to hold the cotton balls in place. Carefully arrange the dead bugs on the cotton balls. Using clear plastic wrap, tightly cover the entire display and secure with tape in the back. The pressure from the plastic wrap should keep your bugs in place. If not add more cotton balls in frame.
Moms and Dads we want to hear from you! If you and your child have Cool Parent-Child bug ideas contact us and share your experiences. The important thing is to spend quality time with your children and encourage them to explore and enjoy the world we live in.