Bugs have been receiving a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. They are after all, among the smallest creatures in our ecosystem, and as such are at the base of the pyramid. The foundation of the food chain, so to speak. They are incredible, important little organisms. But until recently, they’d been largely overlooked in popular "greeny" culture. Not so, however, in popular kid culture. Keen, green, or completely mainstream – kids are fascinated by creepy crawlies. For parents and educators, the bug world provides endless possibilities for fun, experimental, environmentally friendly, and educational play.
Build a SNAIL HOUSE
To facilitate Mullusk observation, try building a snail house. This completely free and fun project is a great way to encourage kids to think about habitat, and what other creatures need to survive and thrive. Furthermore, your children will spend endless amounts of time happily scouring your garden for snails, which leaves you snail-free and free to work with the vegetables! Snails are harmless and if the kids are taught to care for them gently should provide hours of enjoyment. Here we show you how to put together a happy home for snail friends that will leave them more than content to abandon the garden for a while. Below we offer a step-by-step with some simple materials to get you started on building a snail habitat for your little biologists to study.
Building your own snail house:
Find a Container - Find an old aquarium, large tupperware or other container for your habitat. Cover the top with a piece of netting or screen.
Decorate - Create a snail habitat using vegetation, rocks, soil, shade & water. Talk about the snail’s need for each element of it’s habitat.
Find Some Tenants - Search for snails and place them in the Snail Home.
Siesta Time - If you’re my daughter, it’s now time to read the snails stories, tuck them in for bed, wake them up and repeat.
Whats on the Menu? – feed kitchen scraps to your snails and discover their favorite fruits and vegetables.
Play Bug Scientist with a Nature Kit
If you don’t already have a nature kit, foster interest in the smallest organisms by creating one for your kids. They need the following:
- Magnifying Glass
- Specimen jars – washed out jam jars with holes in the lid work well
- Tape & Marker for labeling
- A net
Then let the little entomologists collect specimens in the yard for independent play, or set off on a hike with the kit to share some quality time together. My kids can spend ours flipping rocks, poking bark and digging in dirt – you can see the appeal I’m sure!
Continue on to the next page for the rest of the article and an informative list of bug facts.
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