10 Insect Kits to Help Kids Study Bugs Up Close

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Got bees in your bonnet? Ants in your pants? Bugs on your rug? Why not invite a few creepy-crawlies into your lesson plans? You can have truly buzz-worthy, hands-on learning opportunities with bug and insect kits for the classroom … or at home for distance learning!

Beyond the classics—caterpillars and butterflies—you can now host a wider variety of insects and bugs, including praying mantis, beetles, and lovely ladybugs. Watching an insect or bug hatch from an egg and eventually fly off and away is one of the best ways to witness the circle of life in action. Here are our picks for the top hatch-your-own creepy-crawly bug and insect kits that can be ordered online just in time for the start of the school year.

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With their triangular heads, bulging eyes and elongated bodies locked in constant prayer position, praying mantids are among the most interesting insects around. Each Praying Mantis Egg Case from JoshsFrogs.com contains 50-200 baby Chinese praying mantids eggs! As an added bonus, praying mantids are an ideal way to control insect pests in the garden without the use of harmful chemicals: a single praying mantis will eat hundreds of insects a season, plus they make great pets! Praying mantis egg cases will hatch within 3-10 weeks.

In nature millipedes, or thousand-leggers, are pretty secretive. They often live beneath leaves, bark, stones, and logs. But now you can get up close and personal with these arthropods by inviting them into the classroom. This kit lets you maintain millipedes indoors with a habitat with lid, 3 large millipedes, pine bark mulch, spray bottle, tree branch, and instructions.  

Kiddos love to play with roly poly bugs (we’ve known a few students to keep them in their pockets!) But did you know they’re not exactly bugs but rather terrestrial crustaceans? This Roly Poly Farm Kit is just like an ant farm only so much cooler. Includes a voucher for ten roly polies delivered directly to your home or school, so they can move right in. 

Kids can observe every fascinating stage of ladybug metamorphosis with this see-through, domed Ladybug Land. The cute diorama style habitat comes complete with a Ladybug Larvae Quick Guide, built-in magnifying lid for up-close ladybug observation, water reservoir “volcano” that keeps thirsty ladybugs happy, a tube of 10 to 13 ladybug larvae, a watering dropper and five ladybug larvae guaranteed to develop into ladybugs.

Ants are perhaps the most powerful creepy-crawlies of all. They dig tunnels, build bridges, move mountains, and work day in and day out. This giant ant farm gives kids the opportunity to catch the amazing behavior and anatomy of ants in action. A self-locking device makes it escape-proof and provides easy access for feeding and giving water to the ants. If you want to create a mega ant farm for your classroom, use the included ant way connector tube to link multiple habitats together, creating an even larger ant community. Your farm also includes an online code voucher for free ants, which will arrive by mail.

Explore the wild, wiggly world of worms with this fun farming kit that re-creates a real underground worm habitat! You’ll have to find your own wiggly inhabitants, which can be easily found by digging in your backyard or local park. Once they move in, kids will enjoy observing worm behaviors, food preferences, movement patterns, and more. Because of the kit’s construction, the worms have access to water and food but won’t escape. 

Watch as caterpillars grow, spin silk, form chrysalises, and then emerge as beautiful butterflies! This big nursery lets children observe the butterfly life cycle from every angle.

Darkling beetle larvae are helpful for learning about insect metamorphosis. In a few weeks, these mealworms will transform from larva form into pupa form and then finally emerge as adult beetles. Best of all, these insects require very little attention. This complete Darkling beetle habitat kit includes a fully-paid coupon for 30 mealworms plus everything needed to study and care for them during their life cycle as they transform into adult beetles. 

Cockroaches … they’re lovable, cuddly, cute and … wait a minute, these creepy crawlies are truly creepy! And they hiss, too! The Exo Terra Small Faunarium is made from durable plastic and comes with a vented lid and a small access door on the top to help keep your pet Hissing Cockroach from escaping into the classroom.  

While bumblebees might not be the best bet for inside your classroom, place this Bumblebee Hotel outside your classroom window to give them a safe place to stay so they can pollinate our world. Made from environmentally friendly components, bees get the chance to rest, hibernate, nest, and lay eggs away from prying predators.

Send your students off on a bug collecting adventure to remember! This kit includes everything they’ll need to find, capture and keep creepy crawlies.

Looking to bring more nature to your classroom? Check out our guide on Three Simple Ways to Include Nature in Learning and 17 of Our Favorite Picture Books About Nature.

Have you used insect kits for the classroom? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

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