Friday, June 8, 2012

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs....

My daughter received a gardening/bug collection kit for her 5th birthday.  It was probably the best present she received.  Within hours it was used to harvest worms for a fishing trip, had housed dozens of roly-polies, spritzed everybody and everything in the house, and caught a couple of fireflies.  At a certain age, all boys and girls love bugs...cute bugs, ugly bugs, fuzzy bugs, fat bugs it does not matter.  Children find them fascinating and wonderful.  I vaguely recall a time in my own childhood when I didn't mind bugs, caterpillars, or worms.  My brother and I spent hours one summer studying rainbow-striped tomato caterpillars, tiny green inch worms, and ant hills.  With summer in full bloom and bug populations exploding (for better or worse) now is a perfect time for bug, bug, bug storytimes and programs!

There is a seemingly endless supply of bug books in fiction and non-fiction and for every age.  Below are a four titles that I love, and that I love using with an audience anywhere between kindergarten to 5th grade.  Two are picture books and the other two are non-fiction that you will be able to tailor to your time constraints.

Bugs Galore by Peter Stein and Bob Staake  The bright, beautiful artwork and jaunty prose will get everyone in the mood for some bug fun.

What in the Wild by David Schwartz, Yael Schy, and Dwight Kuhn The poems and photos in this book are guaranteed to get your audience completing involved and revved up.  Kids of all ages love to try and guess "what in the wild!"  There is lots of ewwww factor, and kids and parents alike will be fascinated by these common things that they have probably walked over or past a million times.
Bug Shots: The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly by Alexander Siy and Dennis Kunkel

Pest Fest by Julia Durango and Kurt Cyrus  Who is the best pest of them all?  It's the Pest Fest and every bug is proud of their unique talents and characteristics. 

Stage your own Pest Fest!  Compile the craziest collage materials you can find...cardboard tubes, clean plastic bottles, six-pack holders, bottle caps, cling wrap in different colors and tin foil, etc etc etc.  Invite children to create a bug.  Maybe it's a real bug, maybe it's a new species that only exists in the imagination.  Ask children why their bug would win the Pest Fest contest (boy, all of this rhyming is really fun). 

For an answer to every question that kids might send your way about bugs, take them to the Smithsonian Institute's entymology department's website for kids:  BugInfo 

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