Bug or Butterfly collecting for the gentle child

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By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist

We loved to watch butterflies each summer and hatched many sets of monarchs over the years. But the thought of capturing them, killing them and pinning them to a display was a bit harsh for us. When we looked at the collections on display in the 4H building at the county fair, we felt bad for the insects. The collections also seemed incredibly fragile.

Instead, we created a butterfly photograph collection.  We’d snap a picture and record the date and location of the find. We had a butterfly guide and enjoyed making a notation on each page when we found that specimen for ourselves. Sometimes we could catch them (when a butterfly net was handy) and put the butterfly in a container in the fridge for a few minutes. This slows their metabolism down. Then we could place the butterfly on the picnic table for a brief photo shoot as it warmed up and then flew away.  Or we could place them gently on our shoulders or arms and snap some pictures.

This same approach could be used for a bug collection. Some hands on learning is always more meaningful than simply reading about it.