Savvy Saver Magazine
Savvy Saver Magazine

Our guide to the ultimate bug hunt

Our guide to the ultimate bug hunt
August 02, 2013
Bug hunting is a really simple activity to do with your kids over the summer holidays and best of all it’s extremely affordable to do compared with visiting tourist attractions. What’s also great is that they can bring their friends so you can turn it into a real activity day that will keep the kids talking about it for weeks, as well as when they’re back at school – potential brownie points for them with the teachers! To get you started we’ve made this quick guide so you’ve got everything needed to make it the best bug hunt ever.

Basic bug hunt kit

  • Anti-bacterial hand gel (to keep everyone healthy during and after your excursion)
  • A clear plastic container such as a jam jar or ice-cream tub (to put the bugs in)
  • Plastic tweezers (used for picking up anything you find and ensuring their safety as well)
  • A magnifying glass (this helps to really see the intricate details such as tiny hairs)
  • Paper and pens (so the kids can draw what they find, as well as creating their own scary creatures)
  • A camera (optional, but a great addition and you can use a camera on your phone if you don’t have a digital camera)

Before you set off on your bug hunt

  • Decide where you’re going to go to see bugs. A garden is a great place to start so you can see how it all works, but you may also decide to venture out slightly further afield to a local woodland, arboretum or nature reserve (just remember some may have restrictions on what you can and can’t do).  
  • Then get your kids to do some research in reference books or on the internet about the types of creepy crawlies they’re likely to find. This will help to set expectations (just in case any are expecting to find scorpions and snakes!), as well as acting as a guide for what you’re hunting down – otherwise you may end up having difficulty knowing where to start. There’s a wealth of information and the key points to look for are what the bug looks like, where it lives (e.g. under stones, on plants etc) as well as if it’s safe to touch.
  • Select a leader for the bug hunt, even if there’s only two of you doing it, so that the kids can be guided together and work on one bug at a time.

Out on the bug hunt

  • When you reach your destination, have a quick discussion about how bugs should be handled so that everyone out bug hunting is aware that you’re trying to learn more about the bugs.
  • Pick up some leaves or grass to pad out the bottom of your plastic container, this will provide a more natural habitat for any bugs you place in it.
  • Start searching, with the leader instructing where people should be looking and what to do if anyone finds a bug. It’s best to use the tweezers to pick the bugs up yourself initially so you can show how it should be done. Any bug should be carefully lifted, placed gently into the container and then held flat. At this point, the kids can take it in turns to look through the magnifying glass at the bug, before taking a photo or drawing a quick sketch.
  • Make a note of what you find and where – this may come in handy if you go on another bug hunt and it’s also great to discuss at the end of the bug hunt exactly what you found. It’s great to record key details about each of the bugs, such as whether it has wings, has many legs it has and what colour it is.
  • If for any reason you’re unfortunate enough not to find anything during the first ten minutes, don’t give up as I guarantee you’ll find bugs and insect in every garden or outdoor space, even if it’s the humble ant, which can be fascinating to watch.

When you return home from hunting bugs

  • Make sure none of the kids have decided to take any creepy crawlies home – it’s tempting for many!
  • Remind everyone what you all saw based on the notes made and find out if anyone has any questions on the bugs.
  • Get the kids to build a scrapbook of the day which can be added to after any future bug hunts. This scrapbook can include the notes of what was found, pictures drawn as well as photo print outs of any photos taken of the bugs. It’s a great idea to get the children to annotate each picture with the information they know about each bug from the initial research or from finding answers to questions asked at the end of the day. These can be very simple, such as just including the name, habitat and colour.
  • Finish the day with a noodle supper – young children especially will love this as it will remind them of the worms they found during your bug hunt.



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