Entertaining the children can be difficult during the summer holidays, especially if, like me, you’re on your own without a car! Not being able to drive and having the Mr at work all week has lead me to become somewhat of an expert when it comes to finding things to do locally and around the house.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, embarking on your very own summer garden minibeast hunt is a fantastic way to keep the children busy and entertained, all while educating them at the same time.
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Garden minibeast hunts are great for children of all ages.
Whether you have big kids or little ones, finding minibeasts never gets boring. There’s so much biodiversity in your garden, you’ll all be amazed at what you can find with a little bit of patience and a keen eye for creepy crawlies. Building a recycled bug hotel for your garden is a great way to attract more wildlife into the area, plus they’re an easy, child friendly project to do over the summer holidays.
My 2 year old loves a good minibeast hunt and will spend hours watching ants, bees, caterpillars and anything else he can find in the garden. He has held a variety of minibeasts and loves them.
Garden minibeasts can be found no matter what the weather.
The weather can play a big part in what type of garden minibeasts you will find. For example on sunny days, you’ll likely find butterflies or moths fluttering around. Whereas on rainy days, you’re going to be able to see snails, slugs and worms much more readily.
What you will need.
The best thing about going on a summer garden minibeast hunt is that you don’t need any equipment. You can very easily pop outside for 10 minutes and find a variety of minibeasts without any specialist tools.
There are, however, a few little bits that will make hunting for garden minibeasts that little bit easier.
- Take a white pillowcase/tea towel outside and place it on the floor under a bush or shrub. Gently shake the plant and you’ll be amazed at the amount of minibeasts you can find.
- Taking a magnifying glass out with you can help you really pick up on tiny details, such as caterpillar markings.
- Taking a bug viewer tub with you is a great way to get a closer look at your summer garden minibeasts and study them, before releasing them back in the same place you found them.
Identifying the minibeasts you do find is all part of the fun!
There is loads of information online that will help you to identify all the summer garden minibeasts you have found. Depending on the age of your child, some supervised research online might be a great way to learn more about the wildlife in your garden. Alternatively, books are a safe bet for children of all ages.
Here are a few of my favourite books that focus on the identification of UK minibeasts.
- Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever (Ultimate)
- The Backyard Bug Book for Kids: Storybook, Insect Facts, and Activities
- Encyclopedia of Insects
General rules to follow when embarking on a minibeast hunt.
These rules should go without saying, but it’s important to teach children to respect the world around them.
- Always make sure you are gentle when handling minibeasts.
- You can use a paintbrush or a spoon to help scoop minibeasts up more easily.
- Make sure that you put the minibeasts back exactly where you found them.
Free Printable Summer Garden Minibeast Hunt Checklist.
I’ve put together a minibeast checklist that is perfect for the summer months in the garden. It features minibeasts you’re almost certain to find, such as snails, butterflies, and bees. The free printable summer garden minibeast checklist also includes information on where you can find the animals mentioned and a box for you to tick once you’ve found them.
To get your free copy, right click the image below and view the image in a new tab, then print.
Happy minibeast hunting!