Saturday, August 27, 2011

Junior Landcare and the Very Hungry Caterpillar

Each week I do environmental activities with primary school kids at my children's local school -it's called Junior Landcare - the classes rotate through the whole school and we have fun outdoors.  This week was 2 composite classes of grade ones and twos.  The younger kids are studying mini beasts so we themed the afternoon around bugs.  We always start by sitting on our circle of wooden logs and having a chat.

First the kids shared some fascinating facts about bugs that they had learnt during the semester.  Did you know a slug can slide over razor blades without getting hurt? or that most caterpillars have 16 legs? or that a spider is not a true insect? Often they teach me a thing or two.

I read the kids one of my favourite books - The Very Hungry Caterpillar - I told them they could finish the sentences as I knew it would be a book they knew well - a happy chorus of "but he was still hungry" was sung and by the end of the book they were reading it to me.

We then split into six small groups and did the following (you can click on the picture for the link):

  1. Earlier in the day I visited our local reservoir and gathered some aquatic macro-invertebrates.  I had some small containers and the kids had a go at catching and identifying critters.
  2. Two groups made butterflies We are going to make these for our front window in April!  Up in central Wisconsin we still have a good 2 feet of snow on the ground right now.  {welcome spring, welcome!} 
  3. A group created ladybirds out of bottle caps to make a mobile.bottle top lady bugs
  4. A group made a bughouse bug home
  5. One group chopped fruit and put little holes in it just like the hungry caterpillar.Very Hungry Caterpillar Veggiesthe very hungry caterpillar
  6. A group made hungry caterpillar bookmarks by cutting up painted pieces of paper - just like Eric Carle does. the little one helped me paint them the day before.
  7. A group planted some freckle lettuces
At the end of the session there was show and tell, fruit to eat and a little time to run and be wild.  More of the same for the little preppies next week.  Great volunteer turn out helped make the afternoon a success - hope we get lots next week for the littlies.

You can see my Junior Landcare ideas on Pinterest  Love the way I can put them all together here.

There is a Junior Landcare watermelon challenge open to individuals, families and schools that you may like to enter. Anyone aged 16 and under and living in Australia can enter. Registered participants will receive free watermelon seeds in the mail in early October.  Great way to get kids in the garden.
Isabella and Sofia Bliss launch the Watermelon Challenge


  1. Lots of crafty goodness at this session -seeing it all on the one pinboard is so handy, too. LOve the bughouse. Small people are so smart at times, so full of facts! :)

  2. Oh this is so cool, my children went through this in kindergarten or year 1 (it's all a blur who does what after 4 children) & remember at the time, they were very engaged with the whole process. We're big on recycling & compost anyway, although i'm sure our children are more fascinated by the red back spiders we seem to be breeding in the giant Aero bin tardis. Love Posie

  3. This is amazing and such worthwhile work you do. i am blown away by the bug house

  4. This may well be my lack of creativity asking but how did you colour the bottle caps. They look fabulous and I would love to make that with my kids.

  5. Ah Liz, the bottle caps come in the colour plastic they were made from. We have lots of blue from the milk we drink - you would be amazed how many you can save quickly and the colours they come in - we have a bag for them and other plastic craft bits in our pantry. For more tips the pics all have links to the blogs/websites that created them.

  6. Now I feel slightly silly (which frankly is not that unusual).....I just couldn't see the writing she says er um. Thanks for letting me know - really enjoying your blog.


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young