Not So Scary: Kids’ Bug Observation Box

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Orkin Ecologist for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Halloween is fast-approaching, and now that Raya is nearly 3, we are entering the “fear” territory.  Monsters, the dark, creepy crawlies – “I’m too scary!” she tells me.  One of the things she has been afraid of lately is spiders.  Fortuately – that’s something we can talk about!

I visited the The Orkin Ecologist website and did a little research.  Did you know that of the top ten bug phobias, spiders are #1? So I thought we could take a scientific look at spiders and maybe by taking some of the mystery out of it, we could also make it less scary!

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

So I made her a bug observation box – a safe way to check out different bugs and talk about them.  It’s a really easy project!

What you will need:

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

  • A paper box – you can find these at most craft or dollar stores.  White inside is best for observing.
  • Screening – my local hardware store sells it by the foot.  If you go in the spring when screens are being repaired, they may even have small scraps they will give to your kids.
  • A utility knife for cutting a hole
  • Hot glue gun
  • Optional – Mod Podge and scrapbook paper to make a plain box more fun!

First, I Mod Podged some spiderweb paper onto the box base.  After all, we’re going to catch some spiders!  If you haven’t used Mod Podge before, here are my tips – cut your paper to the appropriate size, brush a coat of MP onto the backside of it, and place it on your surface.  You may need to squeeze a few bubbles out.  Then, brush a protective coat over the top of the paper to seal it.  If you have a few wrinkles, don’t panic.  Allowing it to dry overnight will usually smooth it out!

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

Next, I cut a hole in my lid.  (It was a little difficult trying to cut a circle, so I also smoothed out the edge with my Dremel. A square would be easier but of course I bought the round box already, haha.)  Cut a piece of screen to fit the lid, and hot glue it into place.  Kids will need help with the lid; I wouldn’t recommend letting them handle sharp OR hot things.

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

After letting the box dry overnight, we walked outside until we found a spider!  I coaxed it into the box (which was met with much squealing and leg-clinging).  I put the lid on the box and showed Raya that it was securely inside.  When we got inside, I set it aside for a little while until she was ready to take a look.

After a couple of hours and a few questions (“is it still in the box, mama?”) Raya was ready to have a look!

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

At her age, we didn’t get too technical.  We talked about how spiders are good because they eat other bugs.  I asked questions like:

  • What color is it?  Brown.
  • What shape is its body? An oval.
  • How does it move?  It walks on its legs.
  • How many legs does it have?  Seven.  Are you sure? Yes.  Are you sure it doesn’t have eight? …Oh yes, it has eight.
  • Are the legs long or short? Long!
  • Do you still think it looks scary? No, I like it!
  • What else can you tell me about the spider? It’s a mommy spider, like you! It eats flies.

Okay, so clearly we were getting away from the science aspect toward the end (for the record, I do not eat flies) but we stuck to the basics, since our primary goal was just getting comfortable with the spider.  If your kids are older, you can ask more detailed questions!

When we were done, we took it back outside to let it go.  And unlike catching it, Raya wasn’t afraid of having the lid off the box anymore!

Bug Observation Box at #EEKologist

No matter what stage your kids are at when they think about bugs, the The Orkin Ecologist site is a wealth of information.  They even have a “featured” bug each month you can learn more about (this month, it’s the bird-eating spider… yeah, I don’t think Raya is quite ready for that one! Haha!)  Orkin’s speciatly is pest control, but they didn’t learn how to keep your home pest-free without learning a lot about bugs along the way!

Orkin is also offering a great giveaway to a reader today: a $100 Visa or American Express gift card!  Just pin this post to be entered to win.  You can also leave a comment below, and share with your friends to get more entries.  U.S. residents can enter now through Halloween!  Rafflecopter will walk you through the entry process below – good luck!

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  1. says

    I’m in the south, so we have roaches that get in the house. EWWW they love pecan trees and of course we have one.

  2. says

    Hmm, I can’t think of any bug that I really like. I hate spiders and roaches. We have a terrible time with spiders in our house, and the ants were terrible this summer.

  3. says

    Adrienne, I love your spider box idea for lessening the fear of your daughter. By the way, she’s cute as a button! Now, can you build me a box for snakes?

  4. says

    Oh my most favourite bug is the lady bug!

    And I am petrified of the wasp. I wish I was more courageous… but I’m not.

  5. says

    Working on my fear of spiders, not sure I will ever succeed, but your bug watching box is awesome. I have a family full of teachers, that would love to make a project like this for the classroom!!

  6. says

    I don’t like any bugs! Ewwwww my least favorite bug, it a toss up between spiders and cockroaches. So gross, I HATE them both.

  7. says

    We’re in Florida where the bugs are BIG and hearty…so winning this giveaway would be incredible. (I’m not a huge fan of bugs. At least, not in my living space!) Thanks, Adrianne.

  8. Jennifer Boyd says

    I really don’t like bugs at all. The only one I will tolerate is a praying mantis.

  9. Erika says

    I am not a super huge fan if bugs, but I understand their purpose. Ladybugs are my favorite, a toss up between cockroaches and mosquitoes for my least favorite!

  10. Val says

    As an ECE teacher I love your ideas!!! Especially about insects and bugs. I love bugs and kids love bugs until they are taught different. Our favorite classroom bugs are Ladybugs. Thanks

  11. Amanda says

    Not terribly fond of bugs but really don’t like spiders. :( Especially in the house. If they are outside and not making webs for me to walk through unexpectedly, then they are fine and I will leave them alone, Once they come into the house, they die a horrible death on the bottom of my shoe. Fair warning to all spiders out there! :)

  12. says

    I am really not a fan of bugs, my daughter things they are very cool. This would be a good little project for the 2 of us (ok maybe more for me!) She would love it.

  13. Brittany says

    I like bugs and am glad we have them as a part of our ecosystem. Except mosquitoes. Screw those guys.

  14. HEIDI SHEBARO says

    Not a big fan, but with a 3 years old boy in the house you have to. Favorite ones: ladybug – ants. Least favorite: Hmmmmm spiders lol

  15. Paula G. says

    I have to say I really have a phobia about bugs. Especially spiders! But for some reason I’m fine with butterflies even though they’re bugs too. Thanks for this blog, it’s really interesting and I enjoy reading it alot.

  16. Shana says

    We have a lot of stink bugs here in western Montana.
    I don’t care for all the spiders that move in in the winter either!

  17. says

    I am not a big fan of bugs of any kind. I even used to get freaked by dragonflies (but always like the jewelry kind!) until one landed on my daughter’s 7 year old friend. He is like the bug whisperer! Being able to look at it up close was a lot of fun. He wasn’t scared so then my daughter wasn’t scared and then it didn’t make me scared!

  18. Ani says

    I’m sort of in the middle with bugs, some bother me some don’t. Spiders don’t creep me out but worms make me feel gross.

  19. says

    That’s a great idea and a really cute box for the spider, but they give me the willies! I just can’t help it! Thanks for sharing such a neat project. ~ Angie

  20. Amy Orvin says

    I love insects! My favorite is a ladybug or spider . I love granddaddy longlegs and banana spiders <3
    My least favorite is mosquito and roaches….Yuckk!

  21. Courtnie says

    I hate spiders, but for some reason I really can’t stand stick bugs. They freak me out!

  22. D Schmidt says

    I am not a fan of any bugs but my children love them! My least favorite is probably black flies.

  23. Nicole Larsen says

    I’m not really a fan of bugs, but can stand them. Although, I am TERRIFIED to death of cockroaches–especially the ones that fly!

  24. Adriane says

    I’m pretty neutral about most bugs – except termites – they seriously creep me out!

  25. Betsy Barnes says

    I know insects have their place on our planet, however, I wish they would all stay away from me! I don’t like wasp’s, least favorite! :)

  26. Laura J says

    I do not mind bugs…as long as they are not in the house. :) I really do not like spiders! I would say my favorite is probably ladybugs!

  27. Kim Henrichs says

    I’m not super scared of insects, but I am pretty afraid of ticks. I’ve had two and that’s two too many for one lifetime!!!

  28. Rebecca Parsons says

    I’m not a fan of bugs but I wouldn’t say I fear them. Spiders are probably the ones I try to avoid.

  29. says

    I HATE spiders. Seriously…I hate them. Oh and Blister beetles. The blisters they give me are so freaking painful! Most other bugs really don’t bother me Whatever, We need them all which is why God created them but the two I mentioned I really don’t like! lol.

  30. Renee Richardson says

    I am deathly afraid of spiders so of course my son loves them. I adore butterflies and ladybugs. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway :)

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  31. Rosie says

    I don’t like insects in the house! and my favorie is a ladybug. My least favorite ? toss up but probably spiders, but others I don’t know their name and I’m getting screamy just thinking about it.

  32. Allison says

    Ugh, I hate bugs. Especially ants. They are constantly invading our house. Nothing stops them.

  33. Bridget Heiple Reich says

    I do not like insects! Ladybugs are my favorite as long as they are not in my house!! :)

  34. says

    I am indifferent to insects. Some look creepier than others but if I had choose one I like it would be the lady bug because of the wish superstition! lol

  35. says

    I’m alright with all bugs as long as they aren’t ON me, then I freak out a little bit. Even then, I just try to get them off me without killing them. I’ve always thought lightning bugs were fun.

  36. Karen3848 says

    My husband has a little bit of a phobia about the enormous wood roaches, so I have to be the one to deal with those when they walk in. UGH.

  37. Alexia Misso says

    I don’t think I have any favorite bug but I definitely don’t like cockroaches and spiders! They freak me out!

  38. Autum says

    I have a love hate relationship with bugs and insects. I can not stand flys or certain spiders. I love Dragonflys and ladybugs though. :)

  39. Tracy Robertson says

    I do not appreciate insects at all and I especially hate spiders! My parents are both okay with spiders and tried to teach me not to be afraid, but I guess that lesson didn’t sink in with me. It still seems odd to me that I can point out to either of my parents when there is a spider crawling on the wall and they are like “so? it isn’t going to hurt anyone”. I wish I could see it that way, but I freak out when I see one, especially if it’s in my home, ackkk!

  40. Stephanie says

    I don’t mind bugs so much. I used to work at a school and one of my jobs was to clean the giant millipede’s cage.

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