If you have 2nd and 3rd grade girls they may be interested in exploring bugs. Ever since Animal Crossing came out on the Nintendo Switch, people have appreciated bugs a lot more! They’re learning how to identify different species, just like their avatars in the game. Bugs aren’t scary or evil–they’re just minding their own business and trying to survive in the world too. The more you learn about them, the less scared you’ll become! Use some of these ideas below to learn more about the environment and understand every creature’s importance in our natural world.
Your first step is to study what a bug is. There are many different categories of bugs and insects, so take the time to research each one. Create a small pamphlet or brochure about the various types to present to your troop members. There are many videos, documentaries, and books that explain the world of bugs in detail. Check out a few that I recommend.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Bugs: A Book About Beetles, Butterflies, and Other Fascinating Insects
Calling all young bug enthusiasts! Come along on a journey into The Weird and Wonderful World of Bugs. Kids from ages 5 to 7 will learn all about the insects and other arthropods we call “bugs.” They’ll meet moths, bees, fireflies, spiders, and mosquitos in detailed, full-color photos that bring the bugs to life from antennae to abdomen.
Once you have a solid overview of all types of bugs, choose one to focus on and research more of. Study all of the different kinds of species, their habitats, lifespan, diet, and more. It would help if you also investigated which bugs are native to your area and can be found in your own backyard. There are many cool facts about bugs–learn five new ones and share them with your friends and family. See if you can surprise them with a weird or unique fact!
After you have studied the types of bugs in-depth and have learned some cool facts about them, it’s time to start drawing! Have your girls choose their favorite bug and draw its picture with their favorite medium. They can get imaginative and make a poster, charcoal drawing, or even a magazine collage. Make sure that the drawing is large enough to add labels and scientific explanations describing the bug’s features. Don’t forget to draw their habitat and preferred food too! Your picture should depict the bug’s everyday life.
Since bugs are a part of our natural world, your troop members have to go out and see some in action. They can go out into their backyard or take a walk through a nearby park to try and find bugs out in their natural habitat. Make sure that your girls don’t go out alone and always let an adult know their plans! It’s best to follow the buddy system when going out for a walk or hike.
While outside, act like a field researcher or scientist and catalog every bug that you see. Bring a notebook and pencil to take detailed notes about the different species you come across. You should even try drawing the bugs in real life and use a ruler whenever possible to measure them. If need be, you can first look up how to take field notes. These notes are crucial for scientists to understand how the natural world works and how bugs live. It also helps keep track of the bug population, any invasive species, and growth patterns. Small notepads like these ones are perfect for observing the bugs.
There are hundreds of fun and unique arts & crafts projects that you can try out with your girls, ranging in prices and level of difficulty. The easiest (and cheapest) craft is probably paper plate bugs. You’ll need to paint paper plates, cut them up, and then glue them together in different shapes to create bugs for this project.
Another effortless craft project is a clothespin dragonfly or pipe cleaner spider. You only need to add some paint and goggly eyes to bring your bug to life! If you have more time on hand, try making jumping jack ladybugs out of toilet paper rolls. These crafts are great for entertaining your troop and also teaching them about upcycling. Trash and recycling affect everyone on earth (even down to the insects in the park), so you can turn this project into a valuable environmental lesson.
Below is a bug coloring page to use with your girls as well. Download to print.
Your troop has already researched bugs, observed them, and drawn them. Now they’ll need to interact with them! Try setting up a butterfly or bee feeder on your balcony or in the backyard and see whether you get any visitors. You can build your own insect hole or nest, too. For those girls that are brave enough, why not visit the zoo or pet shop to carry a spider in their hands? Many places have tarantulas that you can hold!
The best way to learn about bugs is by going directly to the experts for information and help. Visit your local zoo or bug museum to speak with the educators there. You can also interview a local beekeeper or entomologist. Even the parks and recreation staff in your city might be able to share some information about the types of bugs in your area.
If you can’t get out to interview an expert, utilize online sources. Watch documentaries and YouTube videos about bugs and insects, listen to science podcasts, and follow entomologists on Twitter for cool facts. You’ll be able to learn so much from them.
Can’t get anyone to come to meeting? Check out this great interview with a BeeKeeper!
What do we do after your girls complete the activities?
After completing all six of these steps, you will have earned your very own well-deserved Brownie Bug Badge! You should be able to take a stroll through your neighborhood and identify the various bugs you see along the way. Share your art projects and facts with your friends and family, and don’t forget to take pictures of everything!
Additionally If you are like many leaders we want to award our girls when they complete something even beyond just the patch. One great way to show achievement is with a certificate. Don’t worry you don’t have to make them, I found a resource that has done all the work for you and all you have to do is print them and customize the certificates with each girl’s name, badge or award earned, date, and troop leader. Editable certificates perfect for awarding girls after earning a badge.