You don’t have to visit the zoo to be exposed to a wide variety of different species. In fact, there’s a rich diversity of wildlife to be observed much closer to home. Whether you live in a small flat with a balcony or a house with a garden, an insect house is a fun and educational addition to your home, and one that you and your kids can enjoy together. Read on to find out how to make a bug hotel with children.
Good, healthy fun
Kids of all ages enjoy digging around in the garden and exploring. It’s a natural urge that should be encouraged; outdoor activities are beneficial for both our mental and physical health, and getting to know the outdoor environment is a great way for children to understand more about the world around them.
When you have learned how to make a bug hotel with your children, you’ll have the perfect simple, free and fun activity to help them have good, not-so-clean fun in the garden.
Where to start
You don’t need any expensive or fancy equipment to create a bug hotel. In fact, natural materials foraged on a family walk (we’re thinking dry leaves, branches, stones and twigs) are a great place to start. Combined with recycled items like plastic bottles and plant pots, you have all you need to begin your grand building project. If you have the space to accommodate them, old wooden pallets make a fantastic structure for you to build your bug hotel inside.
Help your garden grow
Did you know that most creepy crawlies are hugely beneficial to your garden? Encouraging a diverse ecosystem by building a bug hotel will increase the number of pest-munching creatures and pollinating insects, which in turn will help your garden to grow. Here are some of the bugs you could attract with your insect mansion:
- Bees and bumblebees
You’re aiming to house a variety of different bugs in your insect house. They all like something different from their habitat, so you can create several different ‘rooms’ in your bug hotel to provide something for everyone. For example:
- Dead wood is attractive to creatures including woodlice and beetles.
- Small nooks and crannies are important to all sorts of bugs, because they provide a place to hide, hibernate and stay safe.
- A piece of corrugated cardboard rolled up inside a plastic bottle makes an ideal home for a lacewing family.
- Wild flowers will attract bees and butterflies with their nectar.
The great thing about a bug hotel is that it will be a permanent fixture in your garden, providing year-round interest for all the family and helping your kids to forge a love of the natural world.
If you’re not sure how to make a bug hotel with your children, or you need something a little more compact for your living space, small insect houses are also available to buy. Why not explore your interests together and create a home for the creatures of your choice, whether you want to shelter beetles, bees or even worms!