Insect Lesson for Kids: Facts & Habitats

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

Insects are some of the most common and amazing creatures on Earth. In this lesson you will learn how to identify an insect. You will also learn about the different places that insects might make home.

Insects are Everywhere!

Chances are you have seen a lot of insects! You may even have stepped on an insect without knowing it. So what are insects? Insects are animals that have the following characteristics:

  • No backbone
  • A three-part body
  • Six legs
  • An antennae

We can also call insects invertebrates since they don't have a backbone. Can you imagine not having a backbone?

This diagram compares the body of a human to the three body parts of an insect
Insect body parts

Most insects hatch from eggs. They have an exoskeleton, which is like having the bones of their body on the outside of their skin. How neat! Insects grow when they molt and shed their outer covering. Because their exoskeleton is hard, most insects will not grow to be very large. Insects may move by walking, flying, or swimming. Many insects live by themselves. Some others, like bees and ants, live in large groups called colonies.

Spiders are Not Insects

Sometimes when we see any small bug crawling around, we think that it is an insect. In fact, there are bugs that look a lot like insects, but are not! Spiders are not insects, even though they may look a lot like insects. Spiders have eight legs, while insects only have 6. Spiders also have two body parts instead of three like insects.

Where do Insects Live?

You can find insects just about anywhere you look. If you have ever picked up a log or rock, you will probably see ants or beetles underneath of it. Cockroaches and earwigs also make their homes under dirt or logs. Others live in or near the water, especially around ponds and streams. If you are visiting a lake, you may see dragonflies swooping through the air, mosquitoes buzzing around your face, or aquatic beetles in the water.

A lot of insects live on plants or flowers. Some insects, like bees, butterflies, and wasps, spread pollen as they fly from one plant to the next. Grasshoppers also live among plants. Insects might even make a home on another animal! Fleas live on animals, perhaps even your pet dog or cat, and lice love human hair.

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