Learning at Home ~ Insects & Spiders

It all started with this French documentary Abram and I watched called Microcosmos. It’s not in French, if you’re wondering. In fact, there’s only minimal narration in the introduction; the bulk of the film is set to music. Here’s the blurb about it from Netflix: “Employing unique microscopic cameras and powerful specialized microphones, this highly praised French documentary is a fascinating look at the seldom-explored world of insects and other minute creatures as they go about their daily lives.” It’s really beautiful and interesting!

After watching this documentary, Abram developed a new fascination with insects. Luckily for him, we began finding dead insects around the house—a bee in the freezer, another bee in the dryer, a large dragonfly on the laundry room floor, and a wasp and damselfly outside. We gathered up all the insects and looked at them with the magnifying glass. A couple pairs of tweezers helped us hang on to the tiny body parts for closer inspection. We made a “Bug Box” in which to keep all of our specimens.

After inspecting the dead insects, I thought it would be helpful to draw and label the body parts of bees and dragonflies. I think I enjoyed that part more than Abram, but he worked pretty hard at tracing my dragonfly.

Being thoroughly unimpressed with the information on bees and dragonflies I found online, we walked to the library to check out a stack of books about insects and spiders. We read a little from each book every day, and Abram spends lots of time flipping through them on his own, looking at the pictures. I found the “Creepy Crawly World” books to be the most informative and age-appropriate, with the best illustrations. Our library had Creepy Crawly World books on bees, dragonflies, and spiders—perfect!

The next logical activity was to catch live insects! This was pretty easy, as the insects are abundant around our house. We captured a box elder bug (which Abram called a “zelder bug,” and now calls a “black silver bug”), a housefly, two daddy long leg spiders, and a grey beetle of some sort. Once again, we inspected the insects and spiders with the magnifying glass (but we left them all in jars, thank you very much).

Although Abram’s interest in insects is fairly new, he has always been fascinated by spiders. We’ve not done too much research on spiders (because there is only so much I can read about spiders before getting completely creeped out), but we did make pom-pom & pipe cleaner spiders and an embroidery-hoop & yarn web. We hung it up with a suction cup!


2 thoughts on “Learning at Home ~ Insects & Spiders

  1. A bee in the freezer? đŸ™‚
    Those hoop spider webs are awesome! They’d make great Halloween decorations…
    Isn’t it fun watching them get interested in stuff and being excited about learning? I love it!

    • i don’t know HOW that bee got in the freezer! but somehow the dryer seems normal? it is so much fun (and easy) to teach abram about stuff he’s already interested in! and i am ecstatic that he loves books. đŸ™‚

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