TODAY’S HOURS: 8 am – 6 pm 

Child's hands hold a ladybug

Better Know Your Bugs with These Fun Family Activities

Two young children look at ladybugs

Kids love bugs! Whether creeping, crawling, fluttering or flying, insects are fascinating—and they’re a great opportunity to learn about the natural world as a family.

With Butterflies in the Garden on-going and David Rogers’ Big Bugs opening this month, now is a great time to interest your family in insects with some great books and easy home activities.

It’s fun to teach science and math fundamentals while learning all about bugs. For example, this website has instructions for building a caterpillar out of a piece of rope and a cut-up pool noodle. The activity is great for preschoolers and helps with counting and fine-motor skills. Plus you end up with a fun caterpillar toy.

Another idea is to build an insect sensory bin with cheap and widely available products. As well as exploring shapes, sizes and textures, you can use a book about insects or pictures printed from online to play a matching game.

For elementary age children, go on a Mini Nature Exploration. Mark out a one-foot square plot in your backyard or in a park. Get down on the ground and really study that patch of land. What do you see? How many types of insects can you find? Ask questions to your child about the shapes, colors and textures of what you see. Would you find more bugs or different bugs if you moved to a different location? This miniature nature hunt is a great contrast with Big Bugs and an opportunity to talk about scale and size.

Dozens of other art activities involving insects are available online. This site has several to choose from, including paper plate ladybugs, tissue paper bees and cupcake-liner lightening bugs.

A child smiles at a praying mantis on their arm

The sculptures in Big Bugs are made out of natural materials including trees, branches and other forest materials. You and your family can make your own bugs, maybe not quite so big, out of natural materials in your own backyard. Can you find twigs for legs or leaves for wings? What ordinary materials could become the squishy bodies of caterpillars or the hard shells of beetles? With some glue, you could create your own gallery of Medium-Sized Bugs!

While you’re learning all about bugs, don’t forget to look for all of the great insect-related books available. This site has a long list ranging from picture books to chapter books all about bugs.

Your household will be full of aspiring entomologists before you know it!

Related Articles


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with Your Family during a Full Day of Activities at the Garden

Our four-week festival of Hispanic heritage, ¡Celebramos!, begins Sept. 15, and our calendar is packed with events that range from a Quinceañera community celebration to an outdoor market to an art exhibit of depictions of the plants of Latin America. Families looking to celebrate Hispanic Heritage with their children should highlight Saturday, Oct. 1 on their calendars and plan to attend Día de la Familia. The day is packed with educational programs and performances and culminates with movie night at the Garden.

Read More »
A field of yellow sunflowers

Making Sense of Sunflowers

The natural world is filled with flowers of all shapes and colors. What’s surprising is that a great many of these flowers are all related. About one quarter of flowering plants are members of the Asteraceae family, which contains more than 32,000 known species of flowering plants. The sheer variety of sunflowers can make the plant a challenge to identify. Yet correctly identifying Asteraceae is important when conducting plant surveys, assessing the ecological health of a habitat, managing land or simply exploring nature. Fortunately, sunflower experts Richard Spellenberg and Naida Zucker can help. Join us for their book talk and workshop on sunflowers and never be confounded by sunflowers again.

Read More »
Multicolored kernels on heritage corn

Ethnobotany and the Study of Plants, Cultures and Communities

Imagine you lived exactly where you live today–but five hundred years ago. If you’re hungry, you can’t go to the grocery store. If you’re tired, you no longer have a foam mattress. If you have a headache, you can’t pop an Advil. Yet the people of the past ate, slept and treated their ailments just as we do. How? They used plants.

Read More »
Yellow tulilps against green foliage

Plan Now for Bountiful Bulbs Next Spring

A sigh of relief can be heard across North Texas that the heat wave has broken. We know to expect more hot days in September, but with Labor Day behind us, cooler weather is just around the corner. That means it’s time to think about spring! No, we’re not crazy, and yes, we know it’s not yet autumn. But now is the time to plan for a gorgeous spring by planting bulbs.

Read More »
Sunflowers by sign that reads Embrace New Beginnings

Community Education Fall Preview: Grow Your Mind with New Classes and Workshops

It still feels like the height of summer, but fall is just around the corner, and that means the Community Education program is rolling out a new slate of classes, workshops and events. “We’ve got a mix of long-time favorites and completely new experiences,” says Community Education Manager Crissa Nugen. “I think almost everyone will find something they want to explore.”

Read More »
Water sprinkler on summer day

Managing Your Garden Through Heat and Drought

Gardeners across North Texas can only look at their landscape and sigh as the heat wave refuses to break and rain refuses to fall. Plants that thrive most summers are withering and dying under the stress of week after week of 100-degree-plus temperatures. Gardeners struggle to balance watering enough to keep their plants alive with responsible behavior during a drought–and the prospect of budget-busting water bills. What to do? “The first step is to not give up,” says Sr. Horticulturist Steve Huddleston. “You do have options.”

Read More »