Bugs in the Garden

Explore spring by starting seeds and hunting bugs

Published on April 2, 2021

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by Mrs. Farnham (teacher, mom, CMoR member)

As the weather gets warm, I begin to dream of my summer garden. Spring is the perfect time to start planning! My toddler has recently become interested in the seasons, as well. He has begun to notice the weather changing and wants to know when it will be summer. One of my favorite books for helping kids see how humans, plants, and animals change over seasons is Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner. Here is a read aloud:

I love this book because it shows how all living things are affected by the change of seasons. To help my toddler focus on the concept of spring, I had him help me with a couple things related to my garden.

Starting Seeds

Growing your plants from seeds is economical and fun. A packet of seeds is easy to come by (I get some at the Dollar Tree!) and can produce many plants. Unfortunately, if you wait until summer to plant, many seeds will not have enough time to mature. A simple solution is to start your seeds indoors and then move the seedlings outside when the weather is warm enough.

We used a cardboard egg carton and some potting soil to start my seeds. Simply fill the carton with soil and place 2-3 seeds in each section. This is a fun way for kids to see seeds beginning to sprout a little each day. Here are some tips for starting seeds:

-When placing your seeds, drop them on top of the soil and gently press. They do not need to be completely covered by soil.

-Keep the soil moist, but not wet by checking it every day and using a dropper to water.

-Put your seeds in direct sunlight (a nice window with lots of daylight will do!).

-Keep your seeds at room temperature.

-Wait 4-6 weeks before moving them outside.

-Label your sections so you know what each seedling is.

Bug Hunt

My toddler is both fascinated and scared of bugs lately. He thinks they are so interesting, but doesn’t want them near him. It is natural for kids to be fearful of bugs, but you can help them overcome their fears with exposure and knowledge. After reading Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, we decided to go on a bug hunt outside. We printed this scavenger hunt:

Then, we gathered supplied for our bug hunt. Clear jars, plastic bottles, tweezers, magnifying glasses, and gloves are all great tools for kids who don’t want to actually touch bugs. My toddler can be convinced to do almost anything if there are tools involved. Next, we walked around our yard to look for bugs. I like to look under rocks or logs. You never know what is hiding underneath!

We found a lot of interesting bugs and things to discuss. My toddler fell in love with a beetle and declared it his new best friend. I had to wait until he went to bed to finally free it from the jar.

By exploring our natural world together, we encourage the natural curiosity of our budding scientists. You might also make a new friend!

Spring Creation Station

Have you tried Creation Stations at CMoR, yet? They are a great way to plan a structured visit to CMoR. These 45 minute lessons include a lesson about the selected topic and an activity that you can complete with your child. Even better, you can book them ahead of time to guarantee your spot. You can view the lessons by looking at the calendar and book by clicking the link. The upcoming Bouncing Butterfly Creation Station would be a great way to keep learning about bugs!

Be sure to share this post and pictures of your bugs with us on Facebook or Instagram. Happy bug hunting!

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