While most adults do not have a deep affection for bugs, children, on the other hand, spend hours in a backyard flipping over rocks and inspecting blades of grass in search of the coolest caterpillars and tiny crawlers. And little ones are smart to befriend bugs since without little creature our entire ecosystem would shut down! Animals such as fish, bats, and amphibians would have nothing to eat; rivers and lakes would be overrun with algae, and flowers would remain unpollinated. Teaching children about insects is a great way for them to learn about nature in general since everything in our world is interconnected.
So, we were inspired to make a “bug hotel” after reading an amazing lift-the-flap board book Bug Hotel, meant to inspire curiosity and affection for creepy crawlers! The book describes different environments of the bugs, with its inviting house-shaped design and multiple peep-hole windows. “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” Book describes each creature’s ideal environment and how we can foster that habitat. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators…” Bees like bamboo canes, butterflies prefer an enclosed box, beetles like dead wood, spiders dark spaces, and so forth. Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reveals various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden and encourages little readers to make your own “bug hotel.”
Although the book does not explain how to make the “hotel,” it lists what is needed for each habitat, and we knew exactly what to do! Due to the abundance of recycled toilet paper rolls in our house (yes, we save them all!), the “shoe-box” hotel idea came to mind. Simply arrange all your TPRs inside the shoe-box tightly and hot glue them to each other. We then went outside and collected nature finds such as sticks, moss, tree bark, flowers, decaying leaves, and so on. Read to your child which material each creepy crawler prefers and offer to create a “hotel” habitat. However, since our hotel is not waterproof, the happy inhabitants, for now, are these amazing bugs and insects to encourage imaginative thinking with realistic models rather than the real thing. Did you know that insects represent over 90% of animal life forms on earth? I hope with this DIY, your children can learn more about this small and incredibly diverse group of animals, who are not that creepy after all once you get to know them better!
Some of the other books we love reading are National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs, Insects (Little Scientist) and Bugs A to Z. You can see our entire Bugs Insects and other Arthropods Preschool Unit Study here.
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