Building a bug hotel can help children learn about the natural world around them
We all know that insects need somewhere safe to live so why not build a bug hotel and place this in your nursery garden for children to investigate. A bug hotel is a sheltered purpose built structure that provides a safe environment for those bugs to live in.
Bug hotels offer children a handful of learning opportunities, it is a great project for children to be involved in and learn more about their natural environment. It is important that children are exposed to life enhancing gardening experiences as children learn best through first hand experiences.
Add other resources such as clipboards pencils, magnifying glasses and images of insects to the area of where your bug hotels, these resources will help extend children’s learning.
Bug hotels are a great learning source for all ages of children, children will learn new vocabulary, play alongside others, spend quality time with practitioners and care about living creatures.
Building a bug hotel
Choose an area in your garden that is sheltered from the worst of the weather, a good area is close to a wall or hedge and this will act a protection. Bug hotels will attract different bug as some like the damp dark conditions whereas other prefer the sun. Make sure the floor surface is flat and form as depending on the size of teh bug hotel it may be heavy once fully constructed.
Use a wide range of materials, it is best to use natural materials and create nooks and crannies of varies sizes for the insects to scuttle into.
There is no set plan to follow when making a bug hotel, some nurseries have used old pallets and make a tier affect structure. Building a bug hotel allows you to be creative and slot in reclaimed materials where ever you want to pout them. Old ceramic pots plants are a good material to use as they create great little areas for insects to hide in.
Here are a few resources you might find useful:
Wooden pallets – Pile these on top of each other to create a tier affect, four or five levels is a good height
Flowerpots – Place these on different angles in-between the different layers. Leave some pots empty and fill other with straw, leaves or sand.
Dead wood, logs, branches and twigs -These are great to poke into the small areas and children will be able to lift up the logs to reveal hopefully centipedes and woodlice.
Hollow pipes, tubes and bamboo canes – The different sized pipes will create nesting area for a wide range of different creatures
Dry leaves, loose bark – Add both these to the bug hotel, for best results add it the floor area in each section as this is suitable for spiders, beetles and hibernating ladybirds
Waterproof signs/pictures – these images will be a great source to help children identify the insects they may find
Magnifying glasses – Children will love using these to get up closer to the insects.
Take a look at our Bug hotel pinterest board for more inspiration on bug hotels