As many of you know, I’m a mom to all girls–three girls in fact. I don’t consider myself too much of a “girly girl,” but I have never really liked bugs. In fact, most bugs–especially the likes of cockroaches or spiders–scare the daylights out of me.
My poor girls have witnessed too many times of me screaming my head off at a bug in the house. A few weeks ago my 5 year old chided me for killing a bug.
“Mommy!” she exclaimed. “I’m telling Daddy on you! He said bugs are our friends. We don’t kill bugs…we take them outside!”
You see–even though I’ve never been a bug person, my little girls absolutely love them.
In fact, since we moved into our new house a few months ago, my girls have spent a lot of time outside collecting bugs. We keep a jar with holes poked through the lid on the pantry floor–easily accessible to the girls for whenever they’ve made their latest catch.
And just like their Daddy taught them, they let the bugs go free at the end of the day.
Recently, I taught the girls a lesson on edible bugs from around the world! We are following the university-model schooling method, which basically means our girls spend more time at home than at school. I absolutely love being able to take everyday moments and the girls’ natural curiosity and turn it into a lesson!
Choosing Our Project
My husband and I have been blessed to have traveled all over the world on mission trips (before we had kids). On some of these trips, we actually ate some bugs (like worms in China!). To help teach the girls that they–and, um, I–can get over the icky bug fear factor, I chose to have us research bugs that people eat.
We were able to discover common edible bugs in a simple Google search. This article from Business Insider was especially helpful, as it was comprised of a slideshow of 20 different bugs. I really recommend this article for pre-readers. The girls loved looking at the pictures. And we even “ewwed” and “awwed” over them.
The 19th slide also shows this video of an explorer actually eating a huge, protein-filled worm on camera! I admit: it turned my stomach a little! The girls thought it was hilarious!
Ecology Facts We Learned
So I must admit: I never realized how incredibly healthy many bugs are! It makes sense, though; God did make them for a purpose! For example, mealworms have a lot of healthy fats and are high in Vitamins A and B! Locusts have a protein content that superceeds that of beef, pork or chicken! (source)
By looking at The Orkin Ecologist website, we also discovered that some bugs are also used to make life-saving medicines! The website noted that Western medicine is still catching up to what tribes from the rain forests of the world have known for centuries: the insects of the world can be used in healing.
Putting the Project Together
- large poster board
- printed pictures of various edible bugs
- glue stick
- computer (for research)
- gummy worms (I recommend a natural brand like Surf Sweets, which is made with 90% organic fruit juices)
- Research edible bugs on the computer. I recommend this article from Business Insider as well as “Bugs as Drugs” from The Orkin Ecologist. Let your child sit on your lap and get excited by looking at the pictures. I also recommend letting your child watch the video in slide #19 from the Business Insider article.
- Use markers to write “Bugs People Eat” on top of the poster board. If your child can write, let him/her do it. My children are pre-readers and early readers. My oldest read the word “bugs,” and we talked about the letters in the other words.
- Use markers to write “Edible Insects” as the sub-title. Use this science lesson as the opportunity to teach these two new vocabulary words–“edible” and “insects.” We talked about how not all bugs are insects, but all insects are bugs.
- Let your child select several pictures of edible bugs from the websites, and print them out.
- Let your children glue the pictures on the poster board. If you wish, label the bugs. If your child can write, let him label the pictures.
- Pour a handful of gummy worms on the poster board. Let your child feel the slimy worms. Ask them what they think it would be like to eat a real worm.
- Tell your child to pretend the gummy worms are real–and eat them! (This will be your child’s favorite part!)
The Orkin Ecologist is a fantastic educational resource for both novice and experienced science lovers. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment about what you thought when you visited it!
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