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Bug Hunt: Outdoor Activities for Kids {w/free printable}

Grab this FREE printable Insect Scavenger Hunt and see who lives in your backyard!

Today we are linking up with the Storytime Science series to share two of our favorite things — books & science!

Ironically, the book I’m sharing (which is such an awesome read!) is NOT about one of my favorite things — BUGS!

When the kids were younger, they would come running in the house to show me a potato bug they found or carry in a worm from the garden.  We would chase fireflies at night and run after butterflies on our walks in the park — I swear, some weekends there were more bugs than people hanging around on the back deck.

Young kids have a thing for bugs 🙂

Since I’m not much of a bug person, this is one place where I LOVE using a book to introduce the topic.  PLUS we’ve got a super free printable Bug Hunt that you can use as you head outside to explore a few new things about your favorite insects!


Free Bug Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Bug Scavenger Hunt with FREE printable

Getting a look into the world of insects can be amazingly interesting!  There’s quite a few things you can learn not only about bugs but also about nature itself. 

This is especially true if you and the kids plant a garden or flowers — the process of pollination which provides us with food and flowers is almost entirely dependent on insects!

For this activity, we focused on a specific book and outdoor nature hunt (you can find the free printable for the Bug Hunt below).  We’re including affiliate links for the books we used along with other fun insect-watching items that our kids have enjoyed.


The book we chose for this activity is Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects.

This is a wonderful autobiography for kids of all ages! Mr. Fabre was a naturalist and one of the first people to ever observe, record and categorize the behavior of insects.  He was thought to be very odd by many but layed the foundation for the study of insects (also called Entomology).

Younger kids will love the illustrations and the book is detailed enough to hold the attention of kids ages 8 and up too.  The timeline and historical notes at the end of the book are an excellent teaching resource too!

A few other bug books we also love include:

On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)

Bugs A to Z


Free Bug Scavenger Hunt

Going on an Insect Scavenger Hunt

Since Mr. Fabre learned SO much by observing insects, we just naturally thought that a Bug Hunt was the perfect activity to pair with the story!

Kids will enjoy heading outside to scout for a few of their favorite bug-gy friends!  If you’re not sure where to find insects, try lifting rocks, looking on tree trunks and exploring around gardens and flower beds.


bug hunt activity: outdoor science adventures for kids

You’ll be surprised at what you learn about insects — the books are very enlightening and will help you to better identify the ones you see. 

Did you know that butterflies flap their wings even when perched and resting?  And many have different colors or patterns on the undersides of their wings!

And we found a huge praying mantis on our car (top right in the photos) during our last summer vacation — they have such sticky feet that they can hold on to things very tightly! 


A few things we like to have with us for our bug hunts:

Melissa & Doug Magnifying Glass– we like to have a large, plastic magnifying glass so we can see some of the little bugs more closely

Backyard Exploration Critter Case– has always been something the kids pull out when it’s time to catch fireflies or round up a few friends.  We’re always sure to let them head back home each evening!

 And if you’d like a full set, try the Melissa & Dough Bug Catching Kit – which also includes binoculars and a butterfly net *just be sure to show the kids how to CAREFULLY catch & release a butterfly*


Free printable Bug Hunt for kids


Read an insect book and then use the printable Bug Hunt to draw and record some of the insects you find on your scavenger hunt! 



You can do this at different times of the year and discuss how the types of insects you find will change with the seasons.

Be sure to see all the books & science activities in the Storybook Science Series too!


More Outdoor Science Activities for Kids

DIY Nature Notebook with 50+ free printables

How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Science Lab for under $10