A mini beast hunt is a great forest school activity but you don’t have to have a forest nearby, a school field or nature area will also make a great location. A mini beast hunt is pretty easy to organise and can be adapted to include a range of curriculum topics including science, maths, literacy and art.
Where to Find Mini Beasts?
Mini beasts are just about everywhere, sometimes you don’t even need to go outdoors to find them. Here are some places to look:
- Worms can be found on grassy areas after rain or watering with a watering can.
- Woodlice, earwigs, beetles, centipedes and millipedes are often found under stones, dead wood, in damp shaded areas or around the base of trees.
- Dragonflies – you may see them on a sunny day near water.
- Bees, hoverflies and butterflies – are usually seen around flowers and shrubs.
- Spiders – live in all sorts of places. You can often see the dew on their webs first thing in the morning.
- Slugs and snails – look out for slug and snail trails on the grass.
- Ladybirds – often found on plants and trees.
A white sheet underneath a tree which is then shaken or tapped with a stick may catch and reveal some insects.
Yoghurt pots sunk into the ground and then checked each day will often collect a variety of mini beasts.
On our mini beast hunt, pulling back the grass around the tree trunk revealed all sorts of mini beasts.
The Woodland Trust and Twinkl website both have some useful resources for children to use to identify mini beasts. For additional activities children can identify, sort and record the numbers of different types of mini beasts in tables before drawing charts to show exactly what they found.
Bug jars and bug huts are ideal for collecting mini beasts to view, observe and draw. Once the work is done children can then release them back into the wild.
Magnifying glasses are also great for observing the mini beasts up close and learning more about them.
Our mini beast hunters enjoyed working together to find and collect the mini beasts, making it a great activity for improving communication.
A Mini Beast Hunt can cover a number of different curriculum areas:
Statistics and handing data – counting and sorting, comparing data, recording data in tables and tally charts, constructing bar charts and pie charts.
- Animals – identifying and naming animals, classification of species, describing life cycles of insects.
- Living things and their habitats – describing their habitats and how they obtain food.
- Plants – understanding the role of insects in plant pollination.
- Evolution – understanding how insects are adapted to their environment.
- Reading – using non fiction texts and references (including online resources) to identify and learn about insects.
- Speaking, listening and group discussion – working in pairs or small groups.
- Writing – describing and explaining mini beast hunts.
- Recording observations in sketch books.
- Using painting and sculpture to represent observations (insects)
It can also covers lots of different goals for the EYFS framework:
Communication and Language
- Listening to instructions about outdoor learning.
- Answering open questions and describing how they look and where they live.
- Telling the other children about what they found and what they have done afterwards (using past tense).
- Balancing and moving into different positions to reach and look at the mini beasts.
- Using a range of equipment and fine motor skills to collect and view the mini beasts.
- Health and self care – making sure that they wash their hands after the mini beast hunt.
- Increasing self confidence by deciding where and how to look for mini beasts and which equipment to use.
- Sharing equipment and working together in teams to find and collect mini beasts.
- Using identification guides and sounding out the names of different mini beasts.
- Writing names of mini beasts or simple sentences about the minibeasts that they have found.
- Counting the mini beasts and how many legs or spots they have.
- Recording the number mini beasts in a table and adding together to get a total number.
Understanding the World
- Finding out more about mini beast including where they live, what they eat and how they behave.
- Observing the different features of mini beasts and their purpose.
Art and design
- Drawing mini beasts or creating artwork using a variety of different media.
Have your children been on a mini beast hunt? What did they find?
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