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Spring and summer at our house includes gardening!
Gardening includes flowers, edibles, and wildlife.
With wildlife comes lessons about the food chain, garden pests, and beneficial insects.
All of this lends itself to life science.
Life science can be taught through books and experiences.
Putting both together and watching a little one process it with wonder is seriously the best.
For us it goes hand in hand all the time. We read an Usbourne book about nature, she recognizes things she’s seen in the book in our back yard. We see wildlife or certain plants in our yard, she starts quoting lines from her favorite books.
I wrote in my garden blog about our need to boost the ladybugs in our garden to feed on the aphids and spider mites before they could get a threshold and how that led me to finding a resource called ladybug land.
Well this educational company provides live science kits such as raising butterflies and raising ladybugs. While the kit would not provide as many ladybugs as some producers, it would provide them in the larvae stage with a container to safely raise them so that you can see them go through the life cycle.
I am so impressed with the kid friendly design. The container is adorable. It is easy to care for. One word of caution from my experience. I thought I was properly tilting the larvae case to drop the larvae and their food to the side away from the volcano (this is where you place drops of water and you don’t want the food to fall in it and mold); but I wasn’t ready for how FAST it would pour out. So a few crumbs did get in my volcano. I did my best to use the water dropper tool to gently brush out as many crumbs as I could. Then I applied the drops of water as recommended.
We’ve been watching the ladybug larvae crawl around their home and eat their food. I use science vocabulary when describing everything to her (This is the larvae, that’s the ladybug babies). We’ve read the book (life cycles) together and talked about how the little larvae will change a few times before they turn into ladybugs. She describes them as tiny alligators, black with yellow spots, and like skunks. The age recommendation is 4+ but my daughter is 3 1/2 and seems to be getting quite a bit out of it. For us the timing has more to do with early summer gardening than her age. We also like to do things like this such as when we raised a butterfly last summer.
As for the book, the reading level is a bit higher than what I’d recommend for toddlers but it still works well because the photography is so visual. My daughter could listen to a good bit of the reading but if your child is too bouncy at this stage it is at least a light reading and an inexpensive book for you to use as a reference when teaching your child through the life cycle stages. I learned a few things myself when I read it.
If you’re looking a quality summer bridge activity, I think you’ll enjoy this Ladybug Land as it takes approximately 3 weeks to observe all the changes, the kit comes with resources such as online activities, and you can pair it with reading like:
Bonus: having bugs to watch may help you cut down on screen time 😉 You might be amazed at how fascinating they are to watch. Overall, I thought the kit makes it very easy to do this project and it even came with a voucher to order more larvae later. I spent a little more than I would’ve for live ladybugs that I’d be releasing immediately upon arrival, but with it I get a full learning experience made easy.
Here are some links where you can conveniently get these items too!