I am concerned that children (including mine) are spending more time learning about bugs with plastic models and books rather than by using and observing the real thing. Even though many bugs and insects can be found right on our doorstep, backyard, and neighbourhood nature strips.
"A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal materials upon which he can work." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of The Child.
Children are natural explorers, they are curious and love to look, touch, listen and observe everything that is going on around them. They can be captivated by the smallest things including the tiniest of insects. We take nature walks and allow the child time to follow their interests and observe the details of the natural world, often stopping to watch a millipede or a snail crossing our path. We allow the child to dig in the garden and pull out weeds, often stumbling across slaters and little black beetles.
“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.” - Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence.
There is no substitute for the real thing. However, there are days in which time is a luxury and the child doesn't have the opportunity to take slow walk. On these days we can bring a little nature inside. Or if there is something that captures the child's attention we can bring that inside and allow the child to study it further and the child can take their time and just sit and observe. But for that we need a bug catcher!
For Otto (36 months) there is excitement at finding one beetle and providing some coverage (leaf litter) for it so that we can observe it for the rest of the day.
Otto, where did you find the beetle?
- Where does it live?
- What colour is it?
- How does it move?
- How many legs does it have?
- Does it have wings?
- What do you think it eats?
Let's make a home for the beetle. We release the beetle and a few extra friends we've collected, later in the day. The beetle moves fast and it continues to attract and fascinate the child!
Here are a few really beautiful bug catchers you might enjoy.
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