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Inside Hello July 2018 Buggin’ Out with Baby

3 Garden Dwellers that Will Fascinate Your Little One

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Creative
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Want a close-to-home adventure to share with baby this summer? Head for the nearest garden. Mother Earth will do the rest.
Buggin’ Out with Baby

Bugs are awesome. And yes, some are creepy and destructive. But here are three garden-friendly creatures to show your child.

1.  What to look for: Ladybugs

Where: Parks and gardens; near weeds, shrubs, trees, and flowers; hanging around crops such as alfalfa and clover.

Easy or hard to spot: Easy

Hands on or off: Hands off

Best for little ones: Age 1 and up

Why tots love ’em: They’re tiny; their red, orange, or yellow color stands out against the greenery, and they have cool spots. Also, they move slowly.

How to boost learning: Chat with your tot about the shape, size, and color of these captivating garden staples. Show your cutie the tiny, little feelers that help ladybugs explore their environment. Mention that ladybugs have legs, “just like you do” and they also have wings they use to flit from flower to flower.

Bonus move: Capture a critter and then release it.

What to do next: Look for images of this most-loved insect on children’s clothing, in kids’ décor, and in picture books and storybooks. Enjoy the search.

2.  What to look for: Butterflies

Where: National parks, wildlife reserves, public gardens, municipal and county parks, arboretums, hanging around birdbaths, butterfly sanctuaries, butterfly and rock gardens, and often hovering over flowers near your house.

Easy or hard to spot: Easy

Hands on or off? Hands off

Best for little ones: 2- and 3-year-olds

Why tots love ’em: Who doesn’t? They are ornate, colorful, beautiful, and magical for adults; for kids, they’re just pretty.

How to boost learning: Talk to your tot about motion. Use words like fly, walk, skip, jump, hop, and crawl, and together, try all of them except, of course, flying. For that, just pretend! Watch butterflies in action and then add more words to his word bank—including wings, flap, flutter, hover and more.

Bonus move: Remain still and hold your child.Abutterfly may land on his head or shoulder.

What to do next: Search for caterpillars— small, long garden dwellers that feed on the leaves of plants and morph into butterflies or moths. 

3.  What to look for: Praying mantises

Where: Bushes, trees, and grasses—in fact, anywhere the vegetation approximates the praying mantis’s own green or brown color.

Easy or hard to spot: Somewhat hard, due to camouflage

Hands on or off: Hands off

Best for little ones: Age 2 and up

Why tots love ’em: They’re freaky-looking, in a good way, and their uber-long front legs are positioned so it looks as if the insect is praying.

How to boost learning: Rev up talk about the size, shape, appendages, and body language of these amazing garden visitors (to boost your tot’s vocabulary and fine-tune her growing powers of observation). Look (but don’t touch) and then count the bug’s legs, eyes, and antennae. Then count out loud your eyes, ears, hands, and fingers and next, your baby’s. Point to and name her body parts. Check out the bug’s eyes. They might surprise you. Get silly and ask your toddler, “Do the bug’s eyes lay flat on its face or are they funny-looking bugged-out peepers?”

Bonus moves: Position yourselves like praying mantises and share a giggle. Stick around for a while and watch these sticklike creatures ambush prey for lunch or dinner.

What to do next: Look for other garden visitors. Did you know that bees are particularly attracted to flowers that are blue, purple, violet, yellow, or white?

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You’re looking for fresh, kid-oriented activities for the summer. What sounds right for your child? Choose one answer.

Parents Talk Back
You’re looking for fresh, kid-oriented activities for the summer. What sounds right for your child? Choose one answer.