June 2, 2020 – Insect Explorations

We are very excited that summer day camps in Oregon will be allowed with safety measures in place. Since the announcement we have been busy figuring out what that will look like for OEA camps. In addition, we have been working on filing an application with the IRS for tax-exempt status. These are both proving to be time consuming tasks which is forcing us to pull back a bit from our weekly posts. We have not forgotten you and are working to figure out the best way to balance the work we have been doing over the last few weeks with the return to modified in-person programs. Please be patient with us as we find our balance.

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Gratitude

I am grateful for the diversity of ALL life on our planet including human.
I am grateful for ALL the people who work every day to better the lives of all living beings.
I am grateful for ALL the non-human beings who work every day to better the lives of all human beings.


Insect Activities:

In this week’s post we are going to share some ideas to help you and your kids look deeper into the world of insects.

What is an insect? Short Answer: An animal with three body parts (a head, a thorax, and an abdomen), two antennae, and six legs. Many of them have wings. One easy way to tell if you’re looking at an insect or a different animal is to count the legs. If there are six, it’s an insect.

Here’s a catchy little song to help you remember. Add in some movements to increase the fun.

Insect Song
(sung to Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes)

Head, Thorax, Abdomen, 6 Legs!
(touch head, chest, and belly, hold up 6 fingers)
Head, Thorax, Abdomen, 6 Legs!
(touch head, chest, and belly, hold up 6 fingers)
Big eyes, small eyes, antennae too
(make fingers into a big circle in front of eyes, then a small circle, hold pointer fingers above head to make antennae)
Head, Thorax, Abdomen, 6 Legs!
(touch head, chest, and belly, hold up 6 fingers)

Printable Coloring Page: Insect drawing with labeled body parts

Insect drawing with labeled body parts

Interested in learning more?
Check out The Bug Chicks. These fun, inspirational gals have a lot of information about insects and other small creatures, including free videos and more in-depth workshops (for a small fee) that are great for kids, and adults, who want to learn more.

Did you know? Insects perform lots of important jobs that keep the world clean and healthy.

  • They are the planet’s garbage collectors: breaking down and disposing of waste like dead animals, scat (poop), and dead plant material.
  • They are farmers: pollinating a third of all the food crops that we grow. Without insects many of our favorite fruits and vegetables would not grow.
  • They are food: many animals, including some humans, rely on insects for food. Without them multitudes of birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, fish, and even other insects would not have enough to eat.

Nature Walk

  • Create an insect observation kit: put together some items that will help you observe the insects you find.
    • A container with holes: this can be as simple as a plastic container with plastic wrap covering the top. A clear container will allow you to see what’s inside easier. Make sure there are holes so the insect can breathe.
    • A notebook & pencil for sketching and writing observations
    • A magnifying glass if you have one. You can also download a magnification app on your phone.
    • Field Guides: after you have taken some time to observe and get to know the insect you might want to try and figure out what type of insect it is. Field guides are a great tool to help identify something and learn more about it. There are also lots of resources on the internet. Here are a couple:

Remember to be kind to the insects you collect! Release them back to their homes when you are done with your observations and don’t forget to tell them thank you.

  • Print out this minibeast spotter sheet from the Wildlife Trusts and see how many of them you can find. Which ones are insects? Hint: count the legs.
  • Tips for finding insects: sometimes these small animals can be hard to find. Here are some great spots where insects often like to hangout:
    • Under rotting logs or leaves
    • Under stones and boards
    • In piles of dry leaves
    • The underside of a leaf
    • Among flowers
    • On trees
    • In the ground
    • In water: streams, rivers or ponds
    • In the grass

Crafts

  • Fingerprint Insects: Children press fingers into stamp pad or paint and make a fingerprint on paper; this will be the insect’s body. Then draw antennae, wings, and legs. You can also add the insects habitat (where they live).
    • Print out this cute bug jar image to collect your insect creations.

Exploration Activities

Go make some discoveries!

Swallowtail butterfly

Blue orchard mason bee

Stone fly