Little Bear has recently developed a fear of all things that creep, crawl, buzz, and fly. After spending about a week listening to screams of “Bee!” every time something buzzed, crawled, or floated past her, I decided that it was time for some insect education. I wasn’t too sure, though, how Little Bear would react to the subject I’d selected for our next theme study. So I pulled a stack of bright, colorful bug-themed books off the shelf, set them next to our reading chair, then busied myself in the kitchen.
… She took the bait.
No sooner had I started chopping onions than a small face popped around the corner: “Mommy, what are all these books?”
“Oh, they’re just some I was looking at,” I replied.
“For us to read together?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m not sure you’d be interested in them.”
“I am interested in them!” she insisted.
“But they’re about bugs,” I maintained, “and you don’t like bugs.”
“Well, I would like learning about bugs,” Little Bear declared.
… We’ve now read a couple of dozen bug-themed books, some of them multiple times. Her favorite has been Bugs and Slugs, a lift-the-flap book published by Usborne. This particular title doesn’t go into great detail about any type of bug, but gives brief descriptions of bees and wasps, spiders, worms, butterflies, flies, ladybugs, ants, slugs, snails, beetles, and centipedes and millipedes. Add colorful illustrations, hidden creatures, and fun trivia, and you’ve got a book that will keep a preschooler’s attention again and again and again. (We’ve read it through at least four times so far!) She’s also thoroughly enjoyed the Backyard Books series by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. In each beautifully-illustrated volume in this series, readers “become” the creature as they learn about its birth, its unique physical characteristics, its role in the ecosystem, and the dangers it faces. Her only complaint about the books in this series, in fact, was “Why aren’t there more of them?”
Other resources we’ve enjoyed during this study include …
Along with reading about bugs, we’ve been taking times to observe different types of bugs while we’re outside. This morning, Little Bear even got to see a cicada exoskeleton up close. We’ve been counting bugs, adding groups of bugs, and comparing groups of bugs. We also pulled eeBoo Funny Bugs Dominoes out of the closet during Baby Bear’s nap time and enjoyed some insect-themed game time. (Dare I admit that my not-quite-4-year-old won three out of the four games we played?)
I’m not sure how much of all we’ve read Little Bear will actually retain, but becoming more familiar with our buzzing, flying, wriggling, crawling Earth mates does seem to have made her more comfortable around them. As a black-and-yellow stinging something buzzed over us in the pool today, Little Bear looked up and said, “Look, Mommy! It’s a bee! Or is it a wasp?”
My response of “I’m not sure” was deemed unacceptable. “Well, why don’t you look and see?” she asked.
“Um, no,” I replied. “It’s black and yellow. It buzzes. It stings. That’s all I need to know. I am *not* going to get close enough to see whether it’s hairy or bald.”
“Mommy, are you scared of bugs?” she asked.
Sigh. Guess it runs in the family.
Creepy crawlies not withstanding, we did have fun in the pool.