By Brandy Black
My kids love bugs and worms. I do not. This is definitely an area where my kids don’t take after me. When our daughter first held a worm in her tiny fingers I screamed and told her to put it back in the dirt. My wife had to remind me that children are naturally interested in insects; that in fact, it is adult behavior (like screaming upon seeing a worm in a child’s hand) that inadvertently teaches a child to be afraid or grossed out by bugs.
And although I won’t be posing any time soon in the selfies my kids take with the little creatures they find, I will always encourage their interests in nature. And so every year since my oldest child was three years old, we have visited the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena for its annual butterfly and bug fair.
My daughter looks forward to this each year: getting her caterpillar, naming it, hand-crafting its home, and then waiting, and watching, as it transforms into a beautiful butterfly to be released into the world. I have written several blogs about this process. This year will be particularly special because her brother and sister, now three years old, get to share the experience with her! All three kids have already named their soon-to-be-purchased caterpillars: Buttercup, Lego, and Shoobee. My daughter has been excitedly preparing her siblings on the whole process: how we will care for their little creatures, how long it will take, and what it will be like to witness their change into butterflies. As skittish as I tend to be around insects, I remain amazed by metamorphosis. But the true joy is seeing it all through the eyes of my children and feeling their deepening appreciation for all creatures -big, small, creepy, or crawly. And we don’t just return home with caterpillars for our family, but also some for the kids’ classrooms. The teachers have come to expect this of us, and we are thrilled to share.
This year, my daughter flipped through her Bug Fair pamphlet and decided that she also wants to attend the Wormy Composting Workshop. (Ummm, yeah, my wife will be taking her to that.) Compost is great for the environment and one of the best things you can give your plants, yet it can be a messy process. Worm composting, however, is a compact and clean method of composting that can even be kept inside the house. My wife and daughter will be getting their hands dirty, making their own wormy composters to take home, and learning how to care for it for months to come. Oh boy, I’m in trouble now!
I love that Kidspace allows children to celebrate the world of bugs. Kids can chat with a bug specialist, adopt their own insect or arachnid, and participate in a variety of bug-related activities, including a live ladybug release! We are going on March 21st or 22nd for the kick-off weekend –come check it out if you are in the area.