Tag Archives: bug appreciation week

Bug Week: Garden Bug House

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How to Make a Bug House

  • Gather a variety of natural or recycled objects that when fitted together create some nooks and crannies for bug buddies.
  • Find a container with one open side to arrange your collection of objects.
  • Place in a shaded spot in the garden or yard and wait.

Bug House TitleOur second endeavour for Bug Appreciation Week was building a bug house! I’m not going to lie, making this was probably the most terrifying experience of my adult life but I think the pay off will be worth it if our little insect summer home attracts some critters for D to observe.

We originally saw this idea over at Garden Therapy. Check out the link for tips on attracting specific insects to your garden like bees, ladybugs, beetles and spiders. We took a less directed and more toddler friendly approach, here is how we went about building our summer bug home…

Early in the morning we grabbed our buckets and capes (because everything is more fun in a cape) and headed out to a local park for a walk through the woods. We choose a park that I knew would have lots of different natural materials that we could gather. We had talked about the bug house before we left so D knew we were on the look out for things like tree bark, pine cones, small sticks and other things that bugs might like to live in.

Bug House 2

We spent about an hour wandering around and adding things to our bucket but you could easily gather what you needed in as little as 10 minutes around the house and yard. The local dollar or craft store also has a lot of good bug home building options, we selected mostly natural materials to fill our house but anything that creates nooks and crannies will do such as straws, coiled pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, bottle caps etc.

Bug House 5
Once we got home we took inventory of our haul. D loves to sort so before we decided what would go into our house we sorted all our materials into groups…and here is where the terror comes in. In addition to our pine cones, sticks and tree bark our bucket contained two ants, one beetle, and a spider that was approximately the size of my head. I maintained total composure when we came across the beetle and the ants, we took out our magnifying glass and calmly watched them climb over this and that until we summoned husband to take the little ‘buggers’ (I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help it) outside to wait until the bug house was ready. The spider caught me off guard, I may have screamed, but took appropriate precautions to prevent it from happening again. We finished the sorting task with the help of BBQ tongs. I told D we were using them because they were helpful for sorting, and they were.

It was raining by the time we went to construct our house but I do not recommend this activity for indoors…who knows what else we let loose…*cue menacing dum dum dum*

Bug House 6

To hold the house together I picked up an unfinished wood box (these are often easy to find at your local dollar store, old clementine boxes would work perfectly as well) but then found an actual house shaped paper mache box and opted to use that instead. Unlike a wood box it will need to be weather proofed using a finish spray or acrylic sealer. We lined the back of the box with homemade playdough to help hold our bits and pieces in place. Dean put the house together sticking things in the playdough, I encouraged him to find things to fill in gaps to pack the house a little tighter. We added a toilet paper roll to hold the smaller items that D wanted to include (he was dead set on having dandelions in there ‘but mommy these flowers are wonderful’).

Bug House 3

The following picture shows what ended up being included in the house.

Sarson Bug Summer Cottage Bug Contents

When we were all finished we slapped on the roof and set it out in the garden. We will be checking back frequently for new residents.

Bug House 7

Prep: Once you have something to hold the contents of your house together you are good to go!

Activity Length: We did this activity in two stages, collecting the materials could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Putting the house together took about a half hour including the sorting which some children may not be interested in. For D, finding things to collect in his bucket was probably the most fun part of the activity (with the exception of the surprise visitors that hitched a ride in our bucket), however you could collect the materials before hand and just construct the house.

Sum up:

  • D really enjoyed all aspects of this activity, it was nice that he could burn of energy on the walk and then follow it with quiet time putting the house together…perfect morning lead up to a nap.
  • Cheap or free.
  • Provides lots of opportunity for exploration of natural materials and discussion about bugs, where they live, what they eat and their various jobs or purposes in a garden.
  • Finished house is a cute addition to the garden.

Bug Week: Paper Butterfly Catching

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Bug Appreciation Week

It’s Bug Appreciation Week! Not really. I made that up. Secretly there is no such thing as bug appreciation week, although I can’t see why considering the following ‘holiday’s’ exist…

As I was saying, I made up bug appreciation week as an excuse to post the 5 super fun bug related activities D and I have planned this week! And because I have to be proactive about bug appreciation as I have a debilitating fear of all insects that I am actively trying to not pass on to my children.

No joke.

I once got stuck in a parking lot for 40 minutes because a grasshopper got into my car, I had been working late and it took that long for someone to come by and remove it for me. I think I screamed  all the way home.

And with that introduction…I give you our first Bug Appreciation Week Activity: Catching Butterflies!

butterfly catching

Butterfly catching is great for indoors or outdoors and is as simple as it sounds, we made a jar full of paper butterflies, thew them up in the air and D tried to catch them with a butterfly net. The more butterflies the better, catching them is harder than it looks, especially if there is a bit of wind.

What you need:

  • Butterfly net (we got ours at the dollar store), a bucket or a grocery or gift bag would do just as well
  • paper
  • scissors or butterfly punch

Prep: D helped me punch out the butterflies so there was no real prep, but if using scissors you may want to set aside 10 – 15 minutes to cut out the butterflies ahead of time.

Activity Length: We did this activity inside and out and it kept D entertained for about an hour on both occasions (bonus: baby girl in a bouncy chair nearby was also very entertained by all the colorful butterflies flying about.) We switched back and forth so that sometimes he could throw the butterflies and I could catch them. D really enjoyed collecting the butterflies and putting them back in the jar between each game.

Bonus Fun:

  • Add Tweezers – When we played the game inside D had a pair of tweezers that he used to pick up the butterflies and return them to the jar, this lengthened the game and gave him a chance to work on fine motor skills.
  • Examine Your Catch – We also had a magnifying glass near by and every now and then D would take the butterflies he caught and examine them under the glass.
  • Decorate Your Butterflies – Decorating  your butterflies can be fun on it’s own and allows you to track which butterflies you’ve caught, we did this with colors ‘try and catch a green butterfly’ ‘how many yellow butterflies are in your net’
  • Use a Vacuum to Launch the Butterflies – If you really want to impress, pack the butterflies loosely into the wand of a vacuum and turn it on reverse to really shoot the butterflies up in the air! We were exposed to vacuum fun at a family fun night at Wee Care Development Centre hosted by Jeff Johnson of Explorations Early Learning. Shoving things in a vacuum and shooting them into the air is surprisingly fun with anything that is light and small enough to fit into a vacuum wand, paper confetti, Styrofoam pieces, streamers, it’s like a refillable party popper!

Sum up: Cheap, quick, easy to play, easy to clean up and fun, fun, fun (for adults as well) it’s on the shelf for another day.