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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Fun with Rolie Polie Bugs

So far, Leo and Henry do not have an affinity for bugs. They aren’t the kind of boys who go around looking under rocks and leaves for different specimens of creepy crawlies. Maybe I scared them too much with my lectures about Black Widow spiders. However, I have noticed that snails repel them but they are interested in the silk worms at school.
Then the rolie polie bug came into our lives, via a friend Leo’s age, who loves bugs. Now Leo has become a bit of a collector. I, myself, had never seen a rolie polie bug before last week. So, when I told Leo that Sid was also interested in rolie polie bugs, he wanted to know more.
I asked Henry and Leo to find our handy magnifying glass and meet me outside. For those of you out there that haven’t invested in a magnifying glass for the preschooler in your life, I HIGHLY recommend it. Henry and Leo love the tool and use it for all sorts of things around the house. The magnifying glass is great for observation, but they also use it as a prop during imaginative play.
Once the boys reported to me with the magnifying glass, I told them to start searching for rolie polie bugs. We talked about the best places to find the bug and they started stomping among the bushes in the front yard. We flipped over rocks, dug in the dirt, and looked under leaves. No luck! It’s hard to observe a bug that you can’t find.
So, we went across the street to our neighbor Jennifer’s house. (She’s the one who got our campfire going during our backyard campout!) Jennifer has a luscious garden with lots of nooks and crannies. Thankfully, she was all in for the rolie polie hunt and let us into her garden. Henry and Leo started to search in the dirt and under rocks. Leo was so cute searching around with his magnifying glass.
Science Kids on the loose picture 1.jpg
At long last we spotted one under a rock and the observing began! Henry thought that the rolie polie bug was blue, but under examination we discovered that our bug was dark grey with light spots. Leo decided that the bug’s legs look like teeny tiny sticks. We also tried an experiment. As you may know, the fun of a rolie polie bug is that the insect curls up into a tight ball as a defense mechanism. I challenged the boys to hold the rolie polie in their hand quietly and calmly…just long enough for the bug to open up again and start walking around. It was wonderful to see Henry concentrate and then delight in the open rolie polie.
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After leaving Jennifer’s house we took the investigation to the park where the Henry and Leo continued the search with their friends. Soon the boys had 3 more rolie polie bugs, along with the attention of three other kids. They had turned a simple observation investigation into an all-afternoon adventure. It is special when science can spark an interest so captivating that preschoolers stay focused for so long. This mom is very grateful. Maybe I have some budding entomologists after all!
Do your kids like to play with bugs? What kinds of science tools or activities hold your kids’ attention?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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