Bugs fascinate most children. Kids will often try to pick up a bug with their hands, even if they are unsure if the bug is harmful. Bug catchers are not only a learning tool, but also a safety precaution. Kids can make their own bug catchers, watch the bugs for awhile, then let the bug go back to its natural habitat.
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Jar Bug Catcher
An easy bug catcher for all ages is a clear plastic cup or jar with a lid. Kids can decorate the outside of the catcher using permanent markers. Poke a few holes in the lid or on the bottom of the plastic container. Kids can simply position the open end of the catcher over a bug, then slip the plastic lid underneath to catch the bug.
Any small insects, especially ants will fit easily inside a clear plastic CD case. Kids can put some sand or grass into the container, then put some ants or bugs inside. To catch the creatures, lay the opened CD case flat on the ground near the insects. A few breadcrumbs or a bit of jam will attract the bugs. Once the bugs are inside the case, close the lid carefully. If desired, decorate the outside of the ant house with permanent markers, stickers or other craft materials.
Milk Jug Bug Catcher
Use a half-gallon or one-gallon plastic milk jug to make a recycled bug catcher craft. Put the cap on the milk jug. About three or four inches down from the cap, cut a flap about three-fourths of the way around the bottle. Leave the area above the handle intact.
To use the catcher, hold the flap open, catch a bug, then push the flap closed. If desired, decorate the bug catcher with permanent markers or acrylic paints.
Use the frame of an old badminton racket. Cut away all the strings from inside the racket. Glue or tie the open end of a tightly-woven produce bag around the edge of the racket. Kids can easily catch bugs with this large-holed catcher.
Cut away most of the area from the sides of a shoebox. Keep the lid intact. Glue screening material over the holes in the box sides. The screened box can be used to catch and observe bugs.
Use an old bulb-type basting tool from the kitchen. Cut the end of the tube part off, just above the tapered area, so bugs will easily fit through the tube. Kids can write or draw on the plastic tube and bulb if they wish. To catch a bug, remove the air from the bug vacuum by squeezing the bulb until it is flat. Position the tube over a bug and release pressure on the bulb. The air will come back into the tube and bulb, bringing the bug with it. Cover the end of the tube with a paper towel. If the bug was vacuumed into the bulb part, squeeze the bulb slightly to force the bug into the clear tube for observing.
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