Young children learn a lot by observing and catching bugs, so be sure to allow time for this activity. You can save bugs to look at again later by putting them in a plastic container in the freezer for a few hours. This works well for scary or dangerous bugs such as wasps and bees, so your child will be able to look at the insect closely for as long as they want, with no fear of being stung. Be sure to have a magnifying glass available.
MATH & SCIENCE
Bugs are the perfect combination of small size and huge diversity to introduce your child to the natural world, perhaps sparking a lifelong interest in biological sciences or biodiversity or conservation. The insect world is one of the most interesting and accessible areas for young children to begin learning skills in observation, comparing, counting, and sorting.
READING & WRITING
Beginner readers spend a lot of time learning how to distinguish between small details. Which side is the line on, for letters d or b? Is the line tall or short, for letters like h or n? Children who learn how to look closely at small differences by examining bugs will be well-prepared for early reading lessons.
Bugs are small and delicate and sometimes scary or gross, but they still have an important place in our world. Visits to the world of insects can start great discussions about compassion, being gentle, eco-diversity, predator/prey relationships, the interconnectedness of all life, their role in the growth of plants we later eat for food and many other important topics. When it might occasionally necessary to actually kill a bug, this can be handled in a respectful way, so that your child does not begin to associate harming another living creature with pleasure. Keep in mind that cruelty to animals is one of the best predictors of later cruelty in adult life, so insist that your child develop a habit of kind and gentle behavior in relationships, including even a brief or temporary relationship with a bug!
Suggested books about Insects and Bugs.
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