I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published October 24th 2014
Kids will never be bored if they have an interest in nature
Boys 'Bugging Up' at the party
My kids love being outdoors, and I must admit, it's often them trying to get me outside; I do not need to do much to encourage them to get outdoors, even when their favourite show is on.
When I heard about the chance to help my kids become "bug detectives", I knew they would be committed. Getting our kids back to nature and thinking about the world in which we live is more important than ever, in our world of technology, increasing population, and even safety concerns that now keep us from sending kids to the playgrounds on their own, the way families used to.
So I contacted Bug Girl (Marion) and we decided that the waterway we would meet at would be the Mentone Racecourse Reserve, Cedar Street, Mentone, better known to some as "The Duck Pond Park". Marion can chat with you about your area, and you can offer some suggestions, or she will do a bit of research and let you know of an appropriate location to meet.
Marion is an aquatic ecologist who is passionate about bugs. We got to the waterway, and she was like the Pied Piper, traipsing around in the water with her huge net, full set of hip waders, and long line of fascinated children following along at the bank side.
Bug Girl showed the children how to collect aquatic macroinvertebrates (water bugs). Meanwhile Kate McMahon, artist and qualified teacher, explained what an aquatic ecologist is, and used her inquiry methods to encourage the party guests to examine, and think about answers and solutions for themselves.
The kids each got to catch their own bugs, out of a main tray filled with the pond water, and put them in a smaller observation bowl. They had identification sheets, and were encouraged to identify which bugs they see. I think some of them were disappointed at first, to not find every bug listed on the sheet, but it was a terrific discussion point about different types of aquatic environments, and why some bugs may not have been in this water (cleanliness, etc).
The fun of bugs combined with discovery and learning made this a unique party.
Party package (introductory offer): $195 per session: Party sessions typically run 40-60 minutes but it depends on the age of the children and their level of engagement. The kids who become hooked on bugs can hang out with Bug Girl until one of them loses interest (rarely Bug Girl).
Schools packages are available from $100 per hour, including equipment. A school program could include a one-hour classroom introduction to basic scientific methods, including the concepts of experiments, pollution and water cycles, and move into a one-hour creek session, to identify macroinvertebrates, including an introduction to ecology, habitat, and classification.
Mention this WeekendNotes review, and get a free Bug Explorer Kit, valued at $25, with any party experience for the birthday girl or boy. One Bug Explorer Kit per party experience, new bookings only; valid until 12th April 2015.