Today we are sharing tips, activities, and a nature journaling prompt that highlight the theme of our Nature Backpack – Insects!

Spring is a wonderful time to explore for insects in your yard or along a hiking trail. All that’s required is curiosity, and you may already have some things that can enhance your child’s exploration!

Encourage them to make collection containers using materials you have at home like tiny glass jars or yogurt cups. A magnifying glass can be helpful for seeing small details and binoculars can be used to watch insects pollinate flowers from afar.

If you have an old white t-shirt, dish towel, or pillowcase, allow them to take it outside and lay it flat on the ground.  Show them how to collect handfuls of leaf litter (old dried leaves) to place on top of the white material.  As they sort through the leaves they will likely see some small insects against the white background. Perhaps they will even spot springtails!

Help them to safely look beneath stones and under any fallen branches or small logs. Closely investigate the ground and the stone and log surface.

If you are along the edge of a pond, creek, or stream you may see some insects in their larval form like dragonfly nymphs and caddisfly nymphs by looking beneath rocks that are submerged or by sifting through the mud with a mesh pasta strainer.   

If they find something interesting, provide a paper and a pencil to your budding entomologist so they can start their own insect nature journal, one page at a time.  They can include a drawing of what they found, write where they found it, and what it was doing.  It is more important to observe the insect than it is to know its name. Children love having a mystery to solve! Later they can research based on their observations and include its name, a fun fact, and what it likes to eat!  

Please visit our Insects, Spiders, and Worms board on our Bayne Library Pinterest for additional resources and inspiration.  

You can find the insect themed nature backpack in the library catalog. Adding the backpack to your list in the catalog is a great way to remind yourself to put it on hold to check out in the future.  There are eleven different backpacks with various nature themes!

Each backpack contains a collection of materials that help children learn by exploring local parks and natural areas thanks to a collaboration between the Allegheny County Library Association, the Allegheny County Parks, Allegheny Land Trust and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

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