This week at camp, campers broke out the butterfly nets, magnifying lenses, and bug boxes as they explored the secret lives of mini-beasts! Insects and other tiny critters often get overlooked as animals, but campers this week had a great time learning about their amazing adaptations.
On Monday, we focused on herbivorous (plant eating) insects. We acted out bee adaptations and how they pollinate plants while looking for nectar. Another cool plant- eating insect we learned about are butterflies, and their larval stage, caterpillars. We acted out the lives of caterpillars in a obstacle race, and learned about symmetry in nature while making our own paper butterflies.
Our focus switched to carnivorous insects on Tuesday. We first learned about the amazing hunting skills and adaptations of the praying mantis. Next, we investigated an insect that isn't usually remembered as a predator- ladybugs! We discovered their unique life cycle (and realized that there are more ladybugs in the park than we thought!), and acted out their lives and hunting skills through some games. While doing critter crawl, we also discovered carnivorous insects in the water- dragonfly nymphs!
On Wednesday we learned about a different type of mini-beasts, arachnids! Arachnids aren't insects. They have 8 legs, and have different body types and adaptations than insects do. We dispeled some myths about spiders, learned about different types of spiders, and went on a spider hunt. We created spider gliders, made a spider web craft, and played a spider web game! During critter crawl, we learned about and looked for fishing spiders!
For field day on Thursday, we focused on the aquatic macroinvertebrates that live in the creek and river in Denver. We looked for these cool mini-beasts in the creek, and acted out their adaptations and hunting styles through games and activities. We also had a special guest presentation from the Butterfly Pavillion come in on Thursday. We learned even more cool facts about mini-beasts and invertebrates and got to meet some very cool hissing cockroaches they brought!
Friday's focus was on all the slithery and slimy, creepy and crawly mini-beasts that live in our "naturehoods." We learned about slugs, worms, snails, and even leeches! We made crafts, played games, and searched for critters in the creek that we sorted into different scientific classification groups.
After a week, the campers were experts in many different types of mini-beasts- and so we celebrated with a graduation ceremony!