Insect Identification {Free Interactive}

Summer is a time of … bugs. Lots of them. Around here curiosity compels us to know just what those things are. By using this handy-dandy free interactive BugFinder your child (and you!) can exercise skills of observation and insect identification.

Identifying insects is largely a process of patient observation.

First you’ll need to become an “insect hunter”:

Insect Identification {Free Interactive}
  • Understand where you are likely to find certain insects — garden, near trees, in water, or simply around the house. Ick.
  • Learn what time of day you are likely to find a particular insect. Some insects move around the most when the temperature is at its peak, while others only come out at night.
  • Grab your insect hunting equipment:
    • Magnifying glass.
    • Digital camera.
    • Notebook for sketching and recording details.
    • Field guide.
    • Bug jar.
    • Butterfly net.

Some bugs you’ll want to capture, inspect, and release. Others you’ll observe from a digital photo and the safety of home!

Then when you are ready to identify your bug, plug the details — color, number of legs, location, and general category, if known — into the BugFinder. Voila!

You can also scroll down and select your state to view common bugs in your area. Make a checklist and see how many you can find this summer!

Insect hunting is one easy and fascinating way to get kids outside and interested in nature. And now they will have a tool to help them know what that creepy-crawly is!

Additional Resources

(Our favorite bug identification guides are those specific to our area. But you’ll find a couple of public domain downloads below to get you started.)

Bug Hunter Set
We had more than one of these sets around at one time (this current one is a bit different). They are great for chubby fingers. But the bug jar has withstood the test of time. Magnified with air holes, we still use it to identify creepy-crawlies!

First Book of Bugs {Free eBook}
Amazing amount of information for a first bug book. The illustrations are detailed enough to help with identifying without being too schooly, making summer bug exploration fun!

Elementary Study of Insects {Free eBook}

Elementary Study of Insects {Free eBook}
Next step up. The size of the book is not intimidating, nor the content per creature. The book is really written to the student studying the insect.

Young Collector’s Handbook of Ants, Bees, Etc. {Free Bug eBook}

Young Collector’s Handbook of Ants, Bees, Etc. {Free Bug eBook}
Guidebook specifically geared to the bug collector. Each insect family includes black-and-white illustrations of the critters in question, how to identify them, what they eat, where to find them.

Insects Unit Study for K–3 {Free Download}
Don’t want to get to take the fun out of insect identifying, but this free unit includes pages that will work great for observing and drawing insects!

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Or just use our nature journal notebooking pages.

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