Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaching Young Children About Bugs

"I loved being outside. We'd hold lightning bugs in our fingers and pretend they were diamond rings."
~Loretta Lynn

It's that time of year again. All kinds of bugs and insects are sure to be stuffed in children's pockets and endlessly poked at. I have complied some tips that not only the bugs would appreciate, but the parents as well.

Tips for Teaching Young Children About Bugs
"Okay kids, guess who this is?"
Small Group Learning: I like to gather the children into small groups and help them make a list of all the bugs they can think of on the white board. I'll draw very simple pictures for them as they discuss what insects they have seen and describe what they look like. In order to help children recognize the insects, I collect photographs I have downloaded from the computer.

Tell Bug Stories: Yes, there are wonderful books out there but nothing beats our own stories and experiences when it comes to sharing about bugs. The kids love to hear how I was never afraid of spiders and how one once got stuck in my hair. It also encourages stories from the children so you may want to have a tape recorder or pen and paper handy.

Keeping Learning Simple: we discuss what the bugs do, how they look and perhaps why they are made the way they are. We always go back to relating to ourselves, and why we are made the way we are, too!
"Iron Cross Blister Beetles are mommies, too!"

Creating Bug Compassion: Sounds kind of silly, but it is necessary in studying bugs with young children. Often our prized study subjects will get smashed by will meaning preschoolers thinking they are nasty little intruders. I use friendly bug puppets and have conversations about the similarities between us and nature. Bugs have mommies, daddies, babies. Bug have favorite foods, live in bug houses and make friends....
Sounds pretty simplistic, but it works. I have often heard the children saying, "This bug is somebody's mommy, don't squish her!"

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