Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Midsummer Bug's Dream

Now that we're in Bug's Land (aka entomology), we've been busy with bug books, bug crafts, and bug treats.

Besides trying not to sound like a motor boat with those alliterated Bs, we're learning about insects and entomology (in other words, that all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs).

Yesterday morning as I was digging through the internet for field trip inspiration, I stumbled upon the Museum of Entomology at UC Davis.

As we spent the rest of the morning waking up, we watched Reading Rainbow : Bugs while Aidyn snacked on a PB&J butterfly sandwich (cut sandwich in half diagonally, turn corners to face each other and supply a string cheese body. Extra points if you split the top of the cheese for the antennae)

Finding the Museum of Entomology was a pursuit in itself. Eventually we found trail of ants that led the way. Seriously.

Upon entering the museum, I felt more like we were encroaching upon researchers in a lab carefully analyzing exoskeletons. The for-visitor stuff was tiny compared to the aisles upon aisles of catalogues, examination areas, and forbidden staff-only sections.

But that's what made it pretty neat. I felt like we stepped in a real lab.

Here's Aidyn pointing at the case of beetles. See that shelf in the background, with the turning knob above Aidyn's head? Yeah, that turns to open up all these shelves full of insect specimens. The place of 90% shelved specimens.

Here we found a picture of a backyard and house. The little cards open up to explain what sort of creepy crawlies live amongst us.

Turns out termites aren't very cute but extraordinarily talented.

Here we did some local bug identification.

Afterward, a kind and willing student showed us the live insects and spiders. We spied a tarantula and a bird-eating spider (that really does feast on birds) before checking out the walking sticks, crickets, grasshoppers,  and termites. We watched a thorny walking stick crawl up this guy's arm as he talked about camouflage and exoskeletons.

When we left, Aidyn felt particularly brave and bought a lollipop (Strawberry flavor with cricket!) I'm sure he felt like Sabor, our leopard gecko, who loves munching on crunchy crickets.

Once we got home (and I recovered from the drive), we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Then we painted butterflies sans paintbrushes. We each taped a piece of white fingerpaint paper to the table and drew 3 long circles for the butterfly's body. Aidyn selected a brilliant blue paint and we painted our hands and pressed them to make butterfly wings.

Not to let my kitchen get away with being halfway clean, we painted our feet and made the bottom wings and rinsed ourselves (comedically) in the kitchen sink.

Overall, it was a crafty, field trippy, buggy day!

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