Bug hotels

Going on a bug hunt is one of the most simple yet satisfying activities that can easily take place in the woods. No resources are needed, just turn over rocks and dead wood (ensuring to return it to its rightful place afterwards) and see what creatures you might find scurrying around. The Field Studies Council have an excellent bug id guide that can be ordered from their website online, or your local bookshop may stock, and children love to learn the names of the creatures they have spotted.

Having spent a morning discovering these bugs favourite places to live we all agreed that dark and damp spaces provided the perfect spot for setting up home. The children love collecting sticks and dead woods for their free play, and no doubt some bugs are made homeless in the process. So how could we encourage more insect life to thrive, rather than interfere with their habitat through our play?

Bug hotels are the perfect solution.

  1. Gather twigs, bark, moss and leaves from the woodland floor.
  2. Pack tightly in a toilet roll insert*, ensuring that nothing will fall out. There will be gaps between the twigs making the perfect place for bugs to hide.
  3. Find a suitable place close to leaves or other food sources, off the main path, tucked into hollow trunks, gaps in rocks or any other area that would be away from traffic and nicely camouflaged to deter curious birds from investigating.
  4. Be creative, some children created pillared entrances to their hotels, while others added a stick slide or a swimming pool. Let you imagination roam freely.

It is always a nice feeling to know that we have enhanced the woods where we play and learn, our way of giving back a little for all the enjoyment we gain each week from our forest school sessions there.

*For those of you who prefer to work with only resources found in the woods, instead of toilet roll inserts, wrap an ivy vine tightly around your collection to create an equally snug bug hotel.

Tbe children of Galway Steiner National School, from left to right: Our bug hotels, and finding the perfect spot amongst the rocks to build our hotels.

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