Insects are really cool! Did you know that a woolly bear caterpillar might live up to 14 years as a caterpillar, but then only 5 days as a moth? Did you know that a slug has retractable eyes? How about the scarab beetle who lays its eggs in a ball of poop? Don’t be ashamed if this is news to you! I didn’t know these facts until we learned them from fun insect books for kids. Now that you know these facts, aren’t bugs even cooler than before?
Kids will be more eager to spend time outside if they are interested and excited about the world out there. And that’s what Take Them Outside is all about!
So, how do you get your kids interested in nature, or specifically, bugs? If your kids are already eager to go outside, great. But, what if they aren’t so eager? Books are a great starting point to jump start curiosity about nature. I’m going to share some fun and fascinating insect books written for kids that our family recently stumbled upon at the library. (Over time I’ll be adding more as we discover more insect book gems, so check back again and again).
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But first, a story:
Recently, I picked up my daughter at school and she insisted I go for a stroll with her around the playground. It was cold and windy; I really didn’t want to be outside, but I reluctantly followed.
I was pleasantly surprised as my 5 year old guided me around to the bug houses she and her friend discovered earlier that day. The first stop on our tour was a large chunk of concrete she called the “bug trap”. The second stop was a corner in the brick wall where she pointed out some fluff, the “spider nest”. The last stop on the bug tour was a patch of tall grass she named the “grasshopper house”.
It was cold and windy. Spring had just barely arrived. The bugs were still hiding somewhere warm. But this did not drown out her enthusiasm. She was so excited and eager to tell me all about her findings that I didn’t want to point out the very obvious lack of bugs. Who was I to rain on her bug parade?
When did my daughter start liking bugs? Well, had you asked me last week if she was interested in spiders and grasshoppers, I would have confidently answered “no, she is not”. Frankly, I don’t know where this new found enthusiasm has come from.
Then I noticed the stack of books to be return to the library. My daughter and I had just finished reading the following series and it occurred to me that these books sparked her recent curiosity.
Fantastically Fun Insect Books for kids (and one about Toads)
The Disgusting Critter Series, by Elise Gravel
We read The Fly, The Slug, The Spider, The Worm, and The Toad. There is also a book in the series on head lice which may be an interesting and helpful book to read with young kids. (Ugh, just the thought of head lice makes me itchy!).
These Disgusting Critters Series books are a lot of fun. They are packed with interesting and weird tidbits and cute illustrations. Each book’s buggy narrator guides you and gives you many reasons to appreciate and protect these little lifeforms. You’ll learn about each species with jokes and fun illustrations along the way. It was the perfect amount of buggy grossness mixed with education that my children enjoy.
Kids up to 9 or 10 years of age will appreciate these books. Even my 2 year old sat through each book. Large print and limited words per page makes them good choices for early readers.
Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs, by Catherine D. Hughes
The other two bug books we borrowed belonged to the National Geographic for Kids Library Series. I love their kids books. In fact, I enjoyed leafing through these one night, sans kids, with my evening mug of hot lemon-water. I sure know how to party when the kids go to bed!
Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs has lots of large detailed photos, bright colors, and easy to understand facts. This book has some fun reading puzzles to keep kids engaged. While reading The Little Kids Book, we learned that you can order praying mantis eggs to raise your own praying mantis pet. How fun would that be? We also read about army ants marching through the jungle in groups of 2 million ants. No wonder there’s a song about that!
Ultimate Bug-Opedia, by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich
The Ultimate Bug-Opedia is geared to older kids, age 8 and up. This book is more of a complete reference than the others, with a detailed spread on 92 different insects species. Of course there are way more species than this out there, but as far as a kids book goes, I think it covers a lot! It also discusses general information applicable to most bugs such as classification, life cycles, habitat, eating, and hiding. The Ultimate Bug-Opedia is filled with detailed photographs, large print, and colorful pages. The only complaint my daughter had about this book was that there weren’t enough spider pictures. But given spiders aren’t insects, I thought the few pages they devoted to arachnids was more than enough.
A Butterfly is Patient, by Dianna Aston
While this book is only about butterflies, I’m including it because it is beautifully illustrated and would be a great addition to your little naturalist’s library. The science and learning in A Butterfly is Patient is aimed at older children, but my toddler still enjoyed the pictures and has even picked it up to look at it by herself a few times. I’ll admit my older son wasn’t interested in this book at all, but it’s a thumbs up from my daughters and I. There are other books by this author as well that look just as lovely and educational.
The Big Bug Search, by Usborne Publishing
You can’t go wrong with Usborne books, right? The Big Bug Search is an older book which might be out of print. However, I’ve found a few copies at used stores which I always purchase to give away as gifts to little kids. Why? Because these search and find books are fun! There’s a huge assortment of bugs in different environments to search through. The book lists the insect’s names and you learn a little bit about them and their environment from investigating the pictures. Our family has enjoyed many hours cuddled on the couch, lying in tents, and driving in cars with this book.
These are just a very few of the many insect books for kids. Please let me know if you have any recommendations. As a family, we love cuddling and reading books; if we can learn about the outside world while doing so, then all the better! I wonder what new curiosities our reading will spark next?
P.S. Are you a parent trying to get your family connecting more with nature? Here’s a little 5 day nature challenge we’ve put together to help families find just a few minutes each day for suggested nature activities. After the week, you’ll have noticed nearby nature, crafted or played with nature, brought more nature into your home, planned and gone on a fun family nature adventure. Get your family into nature and join the challenge now!