Love them or hate them, insects are a diverse and interesting loose part found in all early learning settings. One of the big challenges to engaging them as loose parts may be the attitudes of the adults involved. Back in my family child care days, kids would hunt bugs outside under large logs and stones. Jack had a great memory for how long it had been since one had been turned over and would exclaim, “No, don’t flip that log. We turned that one last week. There won’t be fresh bugs yet. Let’s do the rock over there!”

How can you support children’s interactions with these little critters in your play environment?

Some Insects Kids May Meet

Update: The exoskeletons shed by some creepy crawlies also make intriguing loose parts! (Thanks to Monica Morrell for the photo)

photo by Monica Morrell

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Jeff Johnson is an early learning trainer, podcaster, and author and the founder of Explorations Early Learning and Playvolution HQ.


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