7 activities to teach kids about bugs

Do you have a child who love creepy-crawlies?

Or maybe a child who is trying to overcome their fear of bugs?

I used to be bug-neutral. My motto was “Live and let live—but not in my house!”

Then I started paying attention. I even ended up creating a coloring book about bugs! In the process, I noticed how many bugs lived in my own yard, how detailed and delicate their wings were, and how important they are, even the unpopular ones.

Yes, we need bees to pollinate plants, but we also need those butterflies and moths that start out as annoying caterpillars in our gardens. Slugs, cockroaches and other “nuisance” creatures are valuable decomposers, breaking down leaf material to make rich soil for new plants. Ticks and mosquitoes are an important food source for birds and other insectivores.

Of course, as fascinating as bugs are, I do NOT recommend picking them up.  Most insects are not dangerous to humans, but even non-venomous insects can have a painful pinch or bite. Plus, for bugs, it …

Science & Squirrels

Last month, I posted a squirrel coloring page. I also suggested watching squirrels for a while.

Science is all about making observations, after all!

This month, I followed my own suggestion and took some time to watch a couple of squirrels in our front yard. They weren't rampaging about, the way they often do, but a few minutes of watching turned into a fun science mystery. 

It started in early March, when I noticed a squirrel hunting through the grass next to our house. He seemed very busy about something, but disappeared before I could grab my camera.
The squirrel was back the next day, and a couple days later, there was another squirrel scampering across our front steps. This one had a bit of a reddish tinge to his fur, so I could tell it was a different squirrel.
Now, the squirrels love our yard.
In the fall, three or four of them will chase each other around the hillside, but usually they stay further away from the house. Also, we spotted a woodrat on our front steps a coup…

Learning About Eggs: Preschool Activity Pages

It’s time for a few science activities!

After writing Who Laid the Egg? a couple years ago, I created a set of coloring pages with a few of the animals from my picture book.

They’ve been posted on my blog for a while now, but I recently decided to clean them up and add some extra projects. After all, I’ve been busy creating other kid activities for my new coloring book!

I'm currently procrastinating on my next book, so now seemed like a good time idea to revisit Who Laid the Egg? and create something specifically for younger kids (and their adults) to do along with the book.

And guess what? Here it is!

I’ve created a PDF file that you can download and print.

A couple of these activities are based on science projects and ideas that I’ve seen elsewhere. All of the artwork in the PDF is my own, though, and I hope you will check it out!

The projects include a few riddles for kids to solve, a mini-puzzle to help preschoolers learn how animals grow in an egg, and of course, a variety …

Let's Read an Ebook!

Welcome to International Read an Ebook week!

If you are excited to check out the ebook round-up, feel feel to jump to the links below:

Picture Books
Chapter Books (Early Readers & Middle Grade)

But what if you've never read a digital picture book?

Chances are good that you've read at least one ebook before! Even if you don't have a Kindle device or other eReader, you've probably opened a PDF on your phone or computer to read.

What about children's ebooks, though?

Like a lot of parents, I prefer holding a book when I'm reading to my kids. I also love browsing picture books at the library. It's always amazing to see how many books there are, check out different illustration styles, and touch the pages.

It's hard to treat digital picture books the same way . . . but they can still be a lot of fun!

Most of the time, we use digital picture books when we are traveling. They're great for saving space when you need enough books to keep kids occupied for …

Out to Lunch (coloring page)

I finished up my book project last month and had a bit of a break last week, so it’s time to get back to my (unofficial) coloring page series!
This month, since I’m still taking a break from insects, I decided to go back to an inspiration from a couple months ago. Back then, I posted this photo on my Facebook page, giving people a real-life “What’s Wrong with This Picture” challenge.

Can you figure out what's wrong?
That squirrel looks like he should be chilling on a beach, and it inspired this month's coloring page. Here's how that picture turned out:

You know that stereotype about squirrels eating nuts? Well, I started reading up on squirrels last year and learned that they eat much more than just nuts. I won’t go into details about what they do eat, but they’re not vegetarians. The only things they don't really eat are cellulose materials such as leaves, grass, and woody stems.
Here’s the link to download the free coloring page I created.

Activity Ideas:Find a quie…

Bug, Bug, Spider: The Backstory

It's here! 
This project started last summer, when my family and I were watching a NOVA episode on origami. The video showed a clip of a ladybug's wings unfolding as it launched into the air. In slow-motion, the ladybug's wings slowly, almost magically, opened out from beneath the bug's red shell.
At the time, I wanted to capture that moment of flight. So, I created a coloring page and shared it here, on my blog.

With that small attempt, however, I found the inspiration for Bug, Bug, Spider...a whimsical collection of anthropomorphic insects!

From there, the ideas grew.

I took on an Inktober drawing challenge, trying to complete 30 coloring pages during October. Slowly, though, the project stretched out over an extra two months as I edited and fine-tuned the images, then added science facts and activity pages to the book.

In the end, a couple of my early coloring pages did make it into Bug, Bug, Spider, but my original flying ladybug? She turned into a ladybug on a han…

Picture Books: Bugs & More

As I wrap up my current project, it's time to have another book list!

There seems to be a pattern, actually. I start on a project, and we suddenly need to read dozens of picture books on the topic. Since I'm wrapping up my Bug, Bug, Spider coloring book right now, I wanted to share some of our favorite bug books with you, along with a few extras about other types of invertebrates.

I've linked to the books' pages on Goodreads, in case you want to bookmark them for later:

Picture books / read-alouds:Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre & His World of Insects, by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri—beautiful illustrations and a nice biography of one of the early entomologists, though it doesn't have not nearly enough information about the discoveries he made!A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long—a book that is both fun and gorgeous! This author & illustrator team will probably make it onto any list of nature stories I ev…