While bugs are often viewed as creepy things people want to avoid, they really are fascinating creatures. They have incredible abilities and features for their small size. Some bugs are super strong, such as the horned dung beetle, which can pull 1,141 times its own body weight. Houseflies can taste with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than a human tongue. Dragonflies can fly 35 miles per hour, according to the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of Natural History.
Learning about bugs can instill an interest in topics such as biology, ecology, and zoology. Learning about these topics may encourage a child to want to be a scientist, or provide creative inspiration for a future artistic endeavor, like an illustrator, author, or movie-maker. There are also a variety of bug-inspired toys that can get kids engaged with robotics and other technological applications, which are valuable to STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) learning.
Here are some great examples of toys and educational tools that will help get kids bug-eyed about learning while having fun at the same time:
Wonder what the world looks like from an insect’s point of view? Kids can find out when they put on the Insect Eye viewer mask from Educational Insights‘ GeoSafari Jr. toy line. Children can explore their house, backyard, or neighborhood playground looking through a pixilated eyeball. The mask creates dozens of mini-images at once. So kids can see the world’s through a bug’s eyes. The set also comes with shark and chameleon masks. Kids can experience looking at the world from a variety of perspectives different than their own.
Hatch a Butterfly
Purchase a mail order kit from InsectLore and you can watch larvae turn into caterpillars, and then eventually become butterflies. Tucked within a pop-up reusable mesh habitat, watch the magic of metamorphosis unfold as the caterpillars wrap themselves into chrysalides and emerge as Painted Lady Butterflies. After a few days of feeding your newly hatched butterflies, let them fly away outside. It’s a great close-up viewing experience of the magic of nature.
InsectLore also has a ladybug kit. Larvae look a bit like miniature alligators and come along with food and a special habitat. The larvae will pupate before your eyes and emerge as Pink Spotted Ladybugs. Take care of your ladybugs for a week then place them outside in your garden where these carnivorous bugs will help rid plants of harmful pests like aphids.
Praying mantises really are amazing. Now you can order an egg case from Insect Lore and watch them hatch. Keep one for a pet in a proper habitat. Some mantises actually become tame enough to accept food from people’s fingers. Release the rest into your garden where these predatory insects will forage for pests.
More than 20 million of the original Ant Farm kits have been sold since it originated from Uncle Milton’s Toys in 1956. Peek into the underground world of ants through this habitat display that has been built to be break resistant and escape proof. Watch the ants as they create their new home and burrow through clean tunneling sand. Observe them harvesting the food you leave for them within the habitat. It’ll provide kids a firsthand view of how these creatures live.
There are a variety of Ant Farm designs to choose from ranging from the original vintage sand filled antarium to an Ant Man movie inspired kit. There is also a futuristic light-up gel version. The ants dig tunnels through a neon-colored, nutrient-rich material that they also utilize for food.
Create Your Own Bugs
Tech 4 Kids’ Fright Factory creature creation kit allows kids to make their very own creepy crawler 3-D creations to play with. They are created using a combination of UV light and a special gel. Building models of centipedes, scorpions, and spiders allows kids to have fun pretending to be mad scientists while learning about STEM concepts. The Fright Factory uses a UV light projector to transform gooey gel-filled stencils into hardened plastic toys of creepy creatures.
Vex Robotics by HEXBUG provides a hands-on STEM learning experience for kids by allowing them to construct jumbo-sized ant or spider robots that each have 64 customizable programming variations. Setup a robot so that it can act autonomously or utilize remote control mode to steer your bug’s actions. These mechanical critters are a fun way to learn about robotics and promote kids being tech-savvy.
What bug toys do your kids go buzz for?