One of the best ways for kids to learn how particular insects and spiders behave is to observe them up close. The challenge is to replicate the bugs habitat with the appropriate temperature, light, and moisture levels. Try this easy craft and have a nature camp in your own back yard!
Cut off the upper third of a 2- liter clear plastic soda bottle. Fill the bottom with a little dirt or sand. Then create a hiding place using some vegetation, a crumpled piece of paper towel, or a paper cup. Next, wrap a piece of nylon stocking or cheesecloth around the spout of the bottle top and secure it with a rubber band. Once you’ve got your new tenants inside, simply invert the bottle top and insert it into the bottle bottom.
Before your guests move in, make sure you do the following;
1. Spend some time observing them in their natural environment so you’ll know how to best provide for them. If you can’t identify a bug consult a guide or a web site so you’ll know if it’s safe to catch.
2. Provide water buying lightly misting the interior of the container or by placing a bit of clean damp sponge inside.
3. Don’t forget the food! Plant eaters are easier to satisfy since you’ll often find them on or near their preferred food. Predators will require you to capture prey. Either way or for a fresh supply daily and to remove any food that hasn’t been seen.
4. Keep your insect apartment out of the direct sunlight or your bug may overheat and die.
5. Plan on releasing them within a day or two and place them back in the same spot you found them you can then look for new residents.
Adding birdhouses, baths and feeders are another great way to observe nature in your yard. Giving local birds food and shelter will attract them into your yard where you can watch their habits and learn about them.