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How to Make a Bug Box for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Studying bugs with children can be so much fun, while also teaching students important science methods and content. In this lesson, you'll find step-by-step instructions for making a simple bug box with young students.

The Bug Box

Are you helping kids learn more about bugs, what they look like and how they behave? One of the best ways to do this is to make a bug box! A bug box is a small container that kids can keep bugs in humanely while they observe their behaviors and habits. Bug boxes can benefit kids in so many ways! For example:

  • Kids who are phobic or anxious about bugs can learn to overcome their fears while maintaining a safe distance from the bugs.
  • Kids can learn more about what bugs look like, do all the time, eat and require in order to survive.
  • Kids can experience the scientific method first hand by creating and testing different hypotheses about bug appearance, behavior and survival.

Best of all, creating a bug box is simple. This lesson offers instructions for how you and your kids can make a great bug box together.

Making A Bug Box

Collect the Materials

First, collect all of the materials you'll need for your bug box. This can be a really flexible endeavor. Basically, you'll need some sort of box or container. Options include a small shoe box, Chinese food take-out box or glass jar. Alternatively, kids can make their own boxes out of cardboard or other recycled materials.

You will also need:

  • Scissors
  • Mesh material like tulle or netting
  • Bottle top or lid from a small jar
  • Blades of grass, leaves and sticks
  • Optional: decorative items like brushes and paint, glitter glue, markers and yard

If you are hoping your kids will do a lot of observing, also gather:

  • A magnifying glass
  • A dedicated notebook
  • Colored pencils

Seal the Box

Ask kids to think about what bugs need in order to survive. At the top of their list should be air to breathe! Figure out how to seal your container so that bugs cannot escape but still have air to breathe. This can involve cutting a small window out of the box and taping mesh material in its place, or poking small holes into the top of the jar or box.

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