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Spring has sprung (although it's currently feeling more like summer) and the bugs have arrived. Most of us think of ways to get rid of the pests, but bugs can offer a summer full of reading, science and biology lessons. The natural curiosity of children makes this a fairly easy endeavor because most kids will find some bug fascinating. This is a great time for you as the parent to instruct your child how some bugs are beneficial and serve an ecological function and also offers a valuable opportunity to teach your child about the life, growth, death cycle. If you yourself are not well versed in insects, check out online sites such as National Geographic Kids or The Amateur Entomologists Society’s The Bug Club. You can begin in a fun way by watching the movie A Bug’s Life and then move on from there. Tailor learning to your child’s age, ability and interest. Start by reading stories about bugs. There are board books for the littlest ones, picture books for all ages and chapter books.
Next, use your child’s natural curiosity to locate and observe bugs. Get a magnifying glass and a bug box or jar and let your child loose in the backyard. Include walks in the country, woods and parks and don’t forget to check out rivers and lakes. Teach them to observe, describe, document, research and then they will have added to their background knowledge. Some ideas might include:
Remember that this isn’t a one-time activity but something that you can continue to revisit throughout the summer and beyond. Make bug crafts with your child (search the Internet for ideas,) play bug games such as Cootie or Mojo Education Bug-tastic Memory Match Game and look for events at local parks and nature centers that teach about insects. Learning about bugs will use those skills your child already has, building confidence and will further create new skills, to help further development, so go ahead and embrace the creepy crawlies this summer.
A quick Google search or browse through Amazon with the key words 'bug books for kids' will come back with a plethora of results, so we've put together a list of our favorite, buggiest bug books!
This particular title, How to Survive as a Firefly by Kirsten Foote, deserves a moment in the spotlight. Not only is this book witty and laugh-out-loud funny, it is also illuminating (see what I did there, ha) and highly engaging for all ages. Follow along as a stern, older firefly (reminiscent of a drill sergeant) is educating the new larvae on what it takes to become and survive as a firefly. There's tons of unique vocabulary, such as metamorphosis and bioluminescence, lots of interesting facts scattered throughout in various sidebars and diagrams, and follow-up pages after the story with additional information, as well as a glossary. Use your best commanding voice when reading this one aloud or turn it into a reader's theatre!
Usborne Books & More
I am an Educational Services Representative, as well as Independent Consultant, with Usborne Books & More.
Happy bug hunting and reading!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 4) for Kate, and two sons (now 1 and a newborn) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.