Entomology Exploration: Fun with Insects!

Which butterfly is this one?

Which butterfly is this one?

Having three little boys, of course they are fascinated in anything to do with bugs and creepy crawlies (and other animals too!), so I decided to buy a beautiful, educational reference guide for them to use in everyday situations where they might be interested in a particular animal.  If we ever have a spider in the house, my boys do not scream for me to kill it, instead they yell for Mummy to “Quick!  Grab the Animal Book!”.  I truly love that they do this, as it demonstrates a love for learning, a kindness towards and an interest in creatures and understanding them rather than wanting me to get rid of them!

 I know that these days you can google lots of things on the internet to identify creatures, but I find that you are not always in the position where you are able to simply jump on to google and do this, and therefore miss out on beautiful learning opportunities.  In addition to this, I think there are important life skills learnt from being able to know how to find and reference something in a book.  To be able to look at the contents, find what you are looking for in alphabetical order, find the page number, remember the page number then find that number page and then reading the information for yourself – it is all a very hands on, kinesthetic form of learning and great for visual learning too as they can see and touch the actual pages – these simple sensory actions go a long way in terms of children gaining and retaining knowledge.

This is the book I am referencing and I highly recommend it for your bookshelf at home.

Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide

Click the picture link for a direct affiliate link to Fishpond.com.au where you can buy it with free shipping!

It has recently been fully revised and updated to take into account the latest scientific discoveries and developments, to add more than fifty new species, and changes to the distribution, population numbers, and conservation status of many animal groups, Animal brings together the expertise of natural history specialists and outstanding wildlife photographers to illustrate, describe, and explain the incredible range of creatures in the animal kingdom.  It has everything from insects to mammals to reptiles to sea creatures – it is such a wonderful resource and the pictures are just stunning.

I also got out our light table, our resin encapsulated insect blocks our 24 plastic butterfly set, insect set and the Animal book with a magnifying glass and I left this on the table with two little stools as an invitation for them when they woke up.

They saw the invitation and ran to it excitedly and sat down busily exploring straight away!!

 

The insects in resin were a wonderful catalyst for discussion about each insect (and fun to build towers with too!)

The insects in resin were a wonderful catalyst for discussion about each insect (and fun to build towers with too!)

 

 Mr 4. kept referencing back to the book, “Where is this insect in the book Mummy?  Help me find it.”

 

Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide

 

 Mr 2. was a bit enthralled with the resin insect blocks and just wanted to build towers with them which was fine too, this is good for fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and we still learnt the names of the insects in there, “ant”, “beetle”, “grasshopper”, etc.  He is 2 and a half years younger, so he got a different experience out of this activity than what my 4-year-old did.

"Ooooh!!!!  Look at this one!!"

“Ooooh!!!! Look at this one!!”

 

 

Mr 4 made a house with the resin insects for the plastic ant.

Mr 4 made a house with the resin insects for the plastic ant.

 

 Then Mr 4. got very interested in matching the resin insects up to the similar plastic insects that we had on the light table.

They were great for matching up too, "Hey look mum!  These are the same!  Let's see if we can match them up to a their pictures in the book now!"

They were great for matching up, “Hey look mum! These are the same! Let’s see if we can match them up to their pictures in the book now!”

 

 

"See Mum, this is the same!"

“See Mum, this is the same!”

 

"These all match."

“These all match.”

 

 Once Mr 4. had satisfied his curiosity about the creepier bugs, he moved on to all of the beautiful butterflies……

"Let's look for the butterflies now.......where do butterflies come from mummy?"

“Let’s look for the butterflies now…….where do butterflies come from mummy?”

"These ones look the same!  What are their names called?"

“These ones look the same! What are their names called?”

 

Mr 2. loved looking the resin insects the best, he liked looking at them closely with the magnifying glass and holding them to the light...

Mr 2. loved looking the resin insects the best, he liked looking at them closely with the magnifying glass and holding them to the light…

 

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They sat there so calmly the whole time, they were so quiet!!  Other than the constant questions of course - which was great! :)

They sat there so calmly the whole time, they were so quiet!! Other than the constant questions of course – which was great! 🙂

 

After we did this in the morning, my 4-year-old asked to watch a show on butterflies, so I googled a documentary on Butterflies on You Tube called “The Journey of the Butterflies” about the migration of the Monarch Butterfly (fascinating stuff!) and let the boys watch it and before bed.

Watching "The Journey of the Butterflies" on YouTube on the television.

Watching “The Journey of the Butterflies” on YouTube on the television.

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The boy’s favourite part was watching the transformation of the caterpillar to a chrysalis then to a butterfly!

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Their other favourite part was the ending, where there were thousands and thousands of Monarch butterflies all in the same area flitting about in Mexico! Breathtaking!!

He then wanted to draw a picture of a butterfly which was totally adorable, then he said, “Look, this is like the one we saw in the book and on the light table and on that show we watched today, this is my favourite one.  I saw this one change from a caterpillar to a butterfly on that show, that is why I like this one the best.  I liked how he did that, that was so clever!”  🙂

I loved how this activity inspired him to initiate asking me to put on a documentary for him and that he then wanted to draw a picture of it, it seemed to cement his knowledge and to debrief all he had learnt about butterflies throughout the day!

I was inspired to set this activity up for the boys because it is currently spring here in sunny Queensland, Australia where we live, so there are beautiful tropical butterflies flitting about everywhere.  The boys had been asking lots of questions about them, which is why we bought our pack of 24 plastic butterflies to learn more about them, we bought ours at Fishpond.com.au and got free shipping, click on the picture banner /affiliate link below to be taken to the site and type in 24 Plastic Butterflies to buy your own beautiful set too:

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This was such a gorgeous activity that my 2 boys loved today, my older son was at school when we did this, and had lots of homework to do tonight when he got home, but I know tomorrow when he sees it, he will be totally in to it too!  He absolutely loves our Animal Book and is totally fascinated by creatures big and small, so I can’t wait to see how he plays with our Entomology station tomorrow after school!  It will be an entirely different interaction I am sure!!

I have decided I am going to get one of those live butterfly kits for my boys for Christmas, they sound amazing, and I love the idea of my boys seeing the process of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly for themselves and then releasing the butterfly in to nature themselves – there is so much learning in being able to witness this miracle of life for themselves, so if I am able to source one, I will do a post on it too and let you know how it goes!

Until then, have fun and enjoy and be grateful for your beautiful families.

Much love,

Fern

xx

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