Nature study can be as simple as a short walk in the neighborhood or as elaborate as a week in a National Park. Don’t make it hard. This month, We are going to look for Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids, and the Praying Mantis. If you can’t find these critters in your yard, you’ll be able to find pictures of these creatures and many others online to explore with your children. Remember: you don’t have to know all the answers to your kids’ questions because you can research the answers together. If you can catch one of these creatures without hurting it, put it in a jar for a few minutes of close observation. That way, you can even use a magnifying glass to look more closely. Don’t forget to draw a picture!
Here are some questions to consider with your kids while you explore:
- What kind of legs does this creature have? Are some parts of the leg longer than others?
- How does the creature jump? What’s the process?
- How does the creature see?
- How does the creature eat?
- Does the creature make any sounds?
- Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever
- Grasshopper by Tatiana Ukohova
- The Grasshopper Book by Wilfried Swancourt
- Are You a Grasshopper? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
- Field Gide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States by John Capinera
Handbook of Nature Study:
Have you heard of Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study? It’s a fantastic book that covers all kinds of creatures, plants, and habitats. Since it has all sorts of resources in it, you should download it for free at https://www.google.com/books/edition/Handbook_of_Nature_study_for_Teachers_an/CjPbAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0
Anna Botsford Comstock talks about Grasshoppers beginning on page 365 of the linked edition of the Handbook of Nature Study, and that section is immediately followed by the Katydid and the Cricket. Take a few minutes to read those pages, and then keep those ideas in mind as you and your kids watch the weather this month. That way, you may remember the answers for some of their questions, and you have another handy resource to check when you can’t.