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You remember the Bug Adventure box I made up for the little ones to help with their chosen bug project?  There was a reason I put everything in a large plastic box, rather than the customary wooden box I had used for the past few years.  I had plans to turn it into a bug observatory extraordinaire!  Here it was filled with all their bug goodies:

The Bug adventure boxIt doesn’t look too promising as an extra special bug home, but that was before my five and three-year old got their hands on it.

We had read the Salamander Room, and Trueman’s Aunt farm and talked about the needs of their soon to be pet bugs.  These are fantastic books for introducing to young children the needs of the animals or bugs in their care:

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A5 really got into this and easily listed their main requirements.  As this was essentially their project, I was to be at their beck and call but was not to be the mastermind of it all.  That job was firmly placed on A5′s shoulders.  B3 is still a little too young to fully understand what was going on, although as the observatory took shape she began to have some very sensible and completely independent thoughts on her and A5′s bug home.  It was wonderful to watch my two youngest work together as a team, and then as they became deeply immersed in the whole idea, asking their sisters to come help them source some frogs.  They worked at it for easily an hour, which is incredible for A5 who has the concentration span of approximately 1 minute and thirty seconds!

First things first, A5 decided mud was the order of the day and quickly got to work digging up T12′s vegetable patch (it was one he hadn’t dug over yet from last year and so was happy for A5 to dig away):

A5 digging with B3 biting at the bit!

A5 digging with B3 biting at the bit!

And more digging...

And more digging…

At last B3 had her turn

At last B3 had her turn

Whilst B3 dug, A5 'unclumped the clumps'

Whilst B3 dug, A5 ‘unclumped the clumps’

Next they decided to find a log for the critters to hide under:

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Then it started to come together very quickly as they sourced some rain water in an old large dog’s bowl (which by the way had many hundreds of tiny forms of life already in it), and placed that in the corner, adding leaves and plants as a form of food.  They found a place in the shade which was protected by a large bush, after which they went bug hunting:

Hunting for bugs under some slabs

Hunting for bugs under some slabs

Many, many worms were found, and to be honest not much else:

My gal and one of her many worms

My gal and one of her many worms, and a very dirty face!

However, once they got their very willing sister involved it was a different story!

It's always much more fun when C11 is around!

It’s always much more fun when your older siblings are around!

C11 is an absolute gem when it comes to the little ones, and spent much time helping them find frogs, snails and centipedes:

The bug observatory is beginning to look grand

The bug observatory is beginning to look grand

And a froggy close up:

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And this to me is where it became interesting, as B3, who bless her heart always joins in with anything and everything but doesn’t always understand what she is doing and why, suddenly said to me that the earth needed to be watered for the bugs to live.  So off she trotted to the kitchen, climbed up on the cabinets to fetch a cup, took it into the bathroom to use the only taps she is able to reach and proceeded to water her earth:

Such a ball of cuteness.

Such a ball of cuteness.

Now we had so many bugs (and frogs) A5 suggested more coverage so I cut down a small branch off our plum-tree and placed that inside for the frogs to hide under.  And here is our finished for now bug observatory:

I think it looks quite inviting!

I think it looks quite inviting!

Whilst I was showing the two little ones pictures of insect homes on the computer, there were many ‘Insect hotel’ pictures.  A5 has asked if we could make one of these to encourage more insects to live.  I’ve got a few ideas and think we have a lot of what we need for the project, so we’ll be doing that next week.

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