What happens when two bug-loving girls have a passion that overflows? They hatch a plan to teach younger kids about bugs and their habitat. Bug Camp is born.
Last month, my daughter Katie and her friend Madi channeled their bug collecting fascination into a 2 hour “camp” for kids 3-5 years old. These girls had been discovering and capturing bugs for the past month. Katie’s collection included a milkweed bug named Steve, water striders, various spiders and beetles and flies. After camping outside with them one night, I contributed a wood cockroach which dropped off of me onto my bed. Yuck.
But these girls thrive on bugs. Before their Bug Camp plan, they had a failed startup business they called “Bug On,” which advertised the removal of bugs without killing them. It had obvious problems.
Back to Bug Camp. The girls invited 5 kids, younger siblings of friends, to come over to our home on a Monday morning during summer vacation. Mothers told me these younger children’s chests puffed out in pride as they headed off to their own camp just like their older siblings.
They arrived at 10 AM with their sack lunches in hand. The cost for camp was $3 per child, $5 per family. This included a snack and bug with habitat to take home. While I had mixed feelings about the charge, the moms happily paid. They were informed the next camp was free.
While waiting for everyone to arrive, the children worked on an insect coloring page. They took their coloring seriously because after all, this was big kid stuff.
Next, the group headed to the field outback. With jars in hand, Katie and Madi helped each child collect a beetle, or ladybug, or grasshopper from the weeds. After each child had an occupied jar in hand, they headed back for lunch in the civilized part of the yard by the swing set.
Sack lunches were barely touched. They played “Beetle, Beetle, Bird” (“Duck, Duck, Goose”) and finally assembled their take-home habitats—water bottles with the tops cut off. The girls took each child back to where his or her bug was caught and helped them put the right habitat in the bottle. With a covering of plastic wrap and a rubber band, the bug was ready for transport home.
Bug Club was a success for all. Even the wiggly little boys followed the girls around like the Pied Piper, paying close attention to every word. Katie and Madi not only had a fulfilling teaching experience, but they each had a little cash in hand for their efforts. The kids brought home a pet bug. The moms enjoyed watching how our children acting so grow up that day. And all of this happened for the love of bugs. I think I like them a little bit better now too!
-posted by Donna Detweiler, who enjoys helping her child’s ideas come to life.