As a girl, I used to collect katydids, or that is what we called what were really green lacewings. I loved to listen to their songs at night so I kept them unbeknownst by my mother in a small jewelry box on my windowsill. I still see them as magical creatures and love when I see one! And like I did, most children love small things. They are enchanted by them so bugs create a great opportunity to mix pleasure with a little learning. As summer begins to wan, now is the time to go on a bug hunt after reading some great bug themed books.
You may already know of Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Blisswhich. It is a wonderful book about the role worms play in making and keeping our soil healthy. There is another one by the same authors titled Diary of A Spider. Reading these books together gives you an opportunity to not only go dig for worms in the garden while looking for spider hiding places, but also to talk about how many legs they each have (remember zero is a number!) and the different roles they play in our gardens.
Other books with a purely scientific bent are The Big Book of Bugs (DK Publishing), Are You a Spider? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries, and National Geographic Little Kids Look and Learn: Bugs (Look & Learn). Take a note book and pencil with you on your bug hunt to journal what the bugs look like, their colors, where you found them, and their size. Do not worry if your child can't write, just let them draw and, if they want, dictate their observations to you so you can write them down. This exercise helps them to understand the purpose of writing and to see that their thoughts and observations have value. You will, also, love these little journals when yout kids are older as I just did with some of the ones my kids kept.
Some fun ones include three of Eric Carle's classics: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Grouchy Ladybug, and The Very Lonely Firefly. And speaking of fireflies, include Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe in your reading adventures. As you read and explore these books, you can count legs, identify colors, and talk about what is true about the bugs versus what is just part of the story. For example, we don't really know if ladybugs get grouchy, but it is fun to imagine what would happen if they did and to talk about what makes us angry. Or to make grouchy ladybug faces!
My final recommendation was one of my son's favorites- Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose and Hannah Hoose. This book is about a boy who doesn't really see the need for ants, and a small ants response to him. What will the boy do? It is a cliff-hanger ending, but it allows you and your child to discuss how we treat those who are smaller than us or who we don't understand while demonstrating the important role bugs play in our world.
Happy Reading! Feel free to comment with your own favorite bug themed books or how you like this blog! I love hearing from readers!