With three boys at home, I’ve realized they love to learn fun facts about bugs. I’ve come up with many insect activities for kids because it catches their interest and I believe it’s important for children to understand that insects can be useful for the environment and we shouldn’t be afraid of them. It helps that they have a grandpa that’s a bug expert who owns a successful pest control company.
Insect Facts for Kids
The well-known ladybug is a very beneficial insect to gardeners because it eats the unwanted pests that gnaw on plants. Female ladybugs can eat up to 75 aphids in one day, which could really improve your garden. To share more about this insect with your kids, here are 5 fast facts about ladybugs from earthsbirthday.org:
- There are 4,300 kinds of ladybugs in the world and 400 species in North America.
- Ladybugs smell with their feet and antennae.
- Unlike us, a ladybug’s jaw chews side-to-side instead of up and down.
- A ladybug’s bright color warns birds that it doesn’t taste good.
- When a ladybug flies, its wings beat 85 times every second.
For ladybug activities for kids, check out my examples here.
Another of my favorite insects to teach kids about, the spider can either be a fascinating or terrifying critter. Help your children understand that in most cases, there is nothing to be afraid of! Spiders are another creature that eats unwanted bugs by capturing them in their web. Discover more about spiders and teach your kids these 4 fun facts from easyscienceforkids.com:
- Most spiders eat insects, but a few large spiders can eat birds and lizards.
- The silk spiders produce is so strong, it has been compared to steel.
- All spiders spin silk, but not all spiders spin webs; jumping spiders, for example, simply wait to pounce on their prey.
- Spiders can produce seven different kinds of silk – some have special glue that makes them sticky and easy to catch insects; others are not sticky.
Bees and wasps can make children anxious if they know that there’s a possibility of being stung. However, if you do not try to harm bees, they typically will not bother you. Bees are helpful for the environment because they help pollinate flowers. Learn more about these interesting bugs with these 4 facts from mentalfloss.com, and remind your kids to be careful around bees:
- Bumble bees flap their wings 200 times per second.
- Bees have extremely fast metabolisms, so they have to eat almost all the time.
- There are around 25,000 known species of bees.
- When a bumble bee lands on a flower, its feet leaves behind a chemical signature (similar to a fingerprint) that lets other bees know they have already taken the nectar
The ground beetle will help take care of some unwanted insects found in soil that could ruin your garden. These nocturnal bugs typically target snails, slugs, cutworms, cabbage maggots and other pests. The University of Michigan gives us 4 more insect facts for kids:
- There are over 26,000 known beetle species around the world.
- Beetles communicate mostly through taste and smell.
- Ground beetles have a tough shell used for protection and can give off bad-tasting chemicals, so their predators will not want to eat them.
- Most beetles are solitary animals and like to be alone.
I have a sensory bin called insect activities for kids that you’ll love to use when teaching your kids all about bugs.
Another friend for your garden, the praying mantis will attack almost any bug in its path. Unfortunately, that could mean losing some of the beneficial bugs we’ve mentioned. For more great information to share with your children, check out these 4 fun facts from kids.nationalgeographic.com:
- There are about 1,800 species of praying mantises around the world
- Praying mantises get their name because they have long front legs that they hold in a position that reminds people of praying.
- Their long and thin bodies help them blend in by looking like leaves or twigs.
- Praying mantises are carnivorous and will eat crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, frogs, lizards and even small birds.
- They can turn their heads 180 degrees – an entire half circle.
For more insect activities for kids to learn the difference between good bugs and bad bugs, click here.
Interesting Bugs in the Environment
There are lots of interesting bugs that kids enjoy learning about. It’s important when teaching children about bugs that they understand insects can be useful for the environment. Additionally, we should show kids how to be respectful of the bugs’ space. Explain to your children that it’s perfectly normal to see interesting bugs outside because that is their home. When insects are outside in their home, we should not harm them and need to try to leave them alone.
But that doesn’t mean we like to see bugs in our environment. If bugs get into our home that can lead to a big problem! Tell your kids that if they see bugs in the house, they should tell an adult. If you do have a bug problem, consider contacting my dad, and favorite pest professional, to safely take care of any insect problem in your home.