With the warmer weather comes the bugs, and we have a lot right now. We seem to have a bug infestation. They look like lady bugs, but they bite and stink, a lot of people around here have them in their homes. So how do you take an annoying situation and turn it into something productive? Use it as a learning opportunity!
Currently I am on maternity leave with our youngest son, but when I’m not on leave I am an Early Childhood Educator in a kindergarten classroom. Creating learning opportunities and activities for children is something I love to do. My teaching ideologies lean towards the Reggio Emilia approach to learning with some Montessori and Waldorf practises thrown in as well.
So I put this kit together for R to explore our home and yard. With all the bugs currently wandering/flying though our home it is often a topic of discussion for our family. R has shown some interest in them, so I thought I would create something for him to use to encourage more exploration.
The items in this kit are things that I had in our activity cupboard, if you don’t have all the items substitute with things you have around your home.
- The caddy basket I found at the dollar store. If you don’t have a caddy you could use a basket to hold all the items.
- Bug Collector/House I also found at the dollar store. No bug holder? No problem, poke some holes in a recycled container and Voila!
- Bug net, I found this one at our local dollar store, but you could also use plastic baggies.
- Tweezers, popsicle sticks can be used as a substitute for tweezers.
- The binoculars came from the Montreal Bio dome from our trip last year. Children can make their own binoculars with old toilet paper rolls and some elastic or string.
- The gloves we have around the house (comes from having a medical professional in the house). Gardening gloves would also work well.
- The book is part of a set of mini encyclopedia’s that I found at our local liquidation store. I have in the past printed out species identification cards from the internet and then laminated them.
- The notebook, pencil, eraser, pen and marker are all from R’s writing area.
Once I had all the items gathered I went over each with R, we talked about what it was used for and I made sure he knew how to use it.
Then I let him go and explore, he started by taking it up to his room and then outside. The kit has been available for the past two days and he’s pulled it out to use many times throughout the day. Because everything is in an easy to carry caddy R has been able to take this outside to use as well as throughout the house, making learning mobile. I also love that it’s an activity he can use independently or we can use it together.
This science kit promotes a wide range of skills including; writing, drawing, species identification, reading, matching, fine motor development and organizational skills. I like that the kit can also be used for other exploration, if he uses the binoculars to observe birds we can move into bird identification.
Once he shows an interest in a specific bug we can work together to further research specific insects, which will hopefully lead to further learning.
All together it took me about 10 minutes to assemble the kit and another 5 minutes talking to R about it. He has already spent hours using it, time well spent in my opinion :).
What would you add to a science kit for children?