Our Best Bug Hunting Tips

Bug hunting and searching for snails and slugs is a big deal in our house. For this past Christmas my sister got each of the girls their own safari set complete with fishing-type vest (the ones with lots of pockets), magnifying glass, tweezers, microscope, a whistle (just in case you get lost!), a wide-brimmed hat, and a couple containers to put our finds in. We use this super amazing gear frequently. But we have also done many many bug hunting trips sans equipment.

I would like to share our must-haves and must-dos for exploring and adventures, but first a word from Six and Bug:

Six: “Mommy……Can we go ‘sploring today…I want to go on a ‘benture!”

Bug: “Ooh! Me me!! I want to go ‘benture too!”

I would love to say I have been 100% prepared on all of our adventures, but sadly that is not the case. We have been caught in a torrential downpour, we have had a potty accident and meltdowns 1+ miles from the car, booboos, forgotten snacks/water, and we forgot about this appointment and we need to go nows. I am not perfect.

We have a lot of fun on our adventures though. And I will usually try to bring our journal or when we get home have them draw what we saw. Bug has been very interested in beetles and slugs so we Googled those after one adventure, Six has asked why the snails we found in the forest were fuzzy so we looked that up, I have wondered why woolly caterpillars only show up in certain areas, so I look it up then tell the girls.

There is so much about the world, life and nature you can learn by going out and exploring. We have done math after catching or releasing bugs: how many do we have now. We have done science: is this alive or not alive? Where does this live…that is called a habitat. We have done health: do not lick the banana slug! And even worked some language arts in there: lets spell out slug with sticks! We also sing about slugs counting for music.

We have also learned some very important information while on these adventures:

  1. Do not attempt to wash slug slime off with water. Just don’t do it. I don’t understand the molecular difference between snail and slug slime but slug slime will multiply and get gooier and stickier when you try to wash it off. Even with soap!!! Use a baby wipe or a rag to wipe it off (preferably a baby wipe or something disposable because it doesn’t even fully come off through a load of laundry), then wash with soap and water. Or avoid holding slugs altogether, that would solve that problem! But my girls love exploring so I let them hold and pet snails and slugs….Six will even put them on her face (bleh!).
  2. If you bring a container to catch bugs or slugs, make sure it has holes poked in the lid! We made this mistake and the smell…… Just poke some holes and trust me on this one!
  3. If your kiddos want to catch bugs and slugs but are nervous of touching them, get some disposable rubber gloves. No mess!
  4. Go potty before the adventure!!
  5. Bring a blank-page journal and attach a pen/cil to it! For Bug, she often cannot recall what we have done in the past, so waiting till we get home to draw out what we saw or practice writing can end in a struggle.
  6. Take pictures! I take so many pictures it isn’t even funny. My hubby will often make fun of me for it because I take thousands a month and have to empty my phone storage quite often. BUT those pictures helps Bug retell what we saw and did, and both girls love to look at pictures and show our visitors and aids. We have a photo album the girls help to make that is just for them and they get to decide what goes into that book to look though and share.
  7. Don’t let your kiddo hold the container of bugs and slugs unsupervised. I inadvertently made this mistake one day. Six fell and was crying so I set down the container full of woolly caterpillars to take care of her, but I failed to see Bug grab the container and she shook it quite hard a few times….did you know that when stressed woolly caterpillars will jettison their prickly fur…well now you do! Poor little guys. I promptly let them go and hoped we didn’t kill them!
  8. Baby food jars make great bug-holders! you can see what is inside very clearly and they are kid-sized!

We are lucky enough to live in an area abundant with hiking trails and parks and forests, so many wonderful spaces to explore. Nature is so important, being out in it is a big stress reliever and is just relaxing–even with trying to keep Bug and Six safe! They even seem more relaxed and calm when we go on adventures.

I think I will create a Go Outside and Explore day where you go exploring, even if it is in your backyard! and then share pictures with me! That sounds like fun!

Get outside and explore!!