Learning about insects, or entomology, is a great way to introduce youth to science and exploration. STEM careers are growing in availability. This opens up a world of possibilities for youth. If your child is intimidated by science or math, use art!
Watercolors are an easy and affordable way to paint – and to learn! At Bug Camp we used water colors to paint the anatomy of a grasshopper. Not only did we learn about insect anatomy, but we learned about blending colors and were creative with our colors. Print outs are easily found online. We added the identifying anatomical features to our paintings before we printed them.
Native bee houses
Native bees are important pollinators. They are mostly solitary. Thus, without a hive to protect they most likely do not (or can not) sting! Native bees like to lay their eggs in hollow areas, fit perfectly to their size. To help our native bees, make a bee hotel! We used an old mug and bamboo cut short enough to fit into the mug. The hollow opening faces out and the end touches the back of the mug. The different bamboo sizes get jammed in so that they stay in place. Different widths serve different bees. The kids painted their mug and then chose how to assemble the bamboo inside. Hang it in your garden and learn to observe what makes its home there. For long term learning, create a graph of daily observations. You can count how many bees you see visiting. Or, track what time of day or what weather has the most bee visits to your yard.
Art from nature
To learn about how insects camouflage themselves in nature, we used items from nature to decorate pictures of insects. For instance, we cut flowers and leaves to decorate beetles and dragonflies. The kids chose what natural objects to use and glued them over their insects. In addition, they colored any portion of the insect they wanted. They connected that insects often look like items in nature to blend in. Plus we had a lot of fun exploring the outdoors to collect our art items! Getting outside to look for natural items inspires youth to ask questions about what they are finding. Take a guide book or contact your local Extension office if you have questions about what you are finding in nature.