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Get Outdoors – More Great Products from Insect Lore!

Time to get outdoors! As the weather becomes warmer and drier there is now much more opportunity to be outdoors with the children in your service. At the Early Years Shop, we have some great new products added to our Exploring Nature with Children category. These include a Butterfly Feeder, a Ladybird Magnifier and Wildflower Seeds. If you are looking to encourage nature to your outdoor area then you can use these products to help you!

Simple additions such as growing some wildflowers or having a butterfly feeder in your outdoor area will begin to attract different forms of insects. This is not only a great way to help the environment but a great way of teaching children about nature. Children can learn about the life cycle of a plant from growing the flowers, how insects such as bees and butterflies use the plants to feed and what those insects look like up close! You do not need to have an expansive outdoor area to encourage nature to you, even the smallest of spaces can be utilised to attract nature to your door!

Get Outdoors – Three Great New Products Now Available!

If you loved the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden or the Creature Peeper products then you will also love these great new products available on the Early Years Shop. These three products are a great addition to any service to encourage nature to your outdoor area, bringing the children closer to nature!

  1. Butterfly Feeder– The Butterfly Feeder hangs in your outdoor area, filled with nectar (you can use sugared water), to attract butterflies to feed. Once the butterflies come to feed the children can use their magnifying glasses to carefully check out their patterns, features and different colours. This is a great addition to any Early Years Service who are looking to  encourage wildlife into the outdoor space for children to explore closely.
  2. Ladybird Magnifier – The Ladybird Magnifier was thoughtfully designed with young children in mind. It is both lightweight and sturdy and uses the ladybird’s wings cleverly, opening out to reveal a lens that offers 5 x magnification! This is a great product for children to carry with them as they go outside on their nature adventures! They can search for leaves, twigs, insects, pebbles and put them in their Best Ever Bug Jar for further study. It measures 11.4cm in length and 9.7cm width and the lens is approx. 6cm in diameter.
  3. Flower Seeds – This super mix of wildflower seeds includes a variety of different flowers including foxgloves, clover and forget-me-nots. These seeds have been specifically selected to benefit and attract butterflies to your outdoor area. This process helps children to understand the cycle of plants as well as learning how the flowers benefit nature as they help to feed the bees and butterflies.

All of these products are now available to purchase on the Early Years Shop! Make sure and keep an eye out for more new nature products that we will be adding to the collection over the coming months!

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Explore the Life Cycle with a Butterfly Garden

Explore the Life Cycle with a wonderful Butterfly Garden. Order your Garden now so that you can assemble it and redeem your Caterpillar Voucher online to receive the caterpillars and start the life cycle process. Many nature themes are suggested from children’s own emerging interests from time they’ve spent outside in the garden or from a nature walk. Children are naturally curious and ask many questions throughout the day. They like to know where things come from and how things happen!

They may ask questions such as ‘how does a butterfly grow its wings?’ Or ‘how does a tree grow so big?’ Practitioners have the opportunity to feed that natural curiosity by responding to those questions in the form of themed activities. A Life Cycle theme gives children a chance to learn about the world around them. There are various life cycles that can be explored including plants, flowers, fruit, bugs or insects.

Explore the Life Cycle with Real Life Connection

Any theme begins by providing various books, stories, charts, pictures, videos, props, games, songs and rhymes for the children. Where possible it is great to be able to make a real life connection with the information that is being learned about. Making a real life connection allows the children to engage directly as they see the Life Cycle process happening in front of them. If you decide on a caterpillar or butterfly life cycle theme, the Butterfly Garden will help greatly to make that connection as the children experience the process of caterpillars becoming beautiful colourful butterflies!

Raising your own butterflies from caterpillars takes approx. 4 to 5 weeks, meaning that by the end of May you will be ready to release your very own butterflies into the wild! At a later time you can purchase a voucher to order more caterpillars and repeat the whole experience. With the Butterfly Garden you receive a butterfly habitat with clear mesh (pop up), feeding pipette, full instructions and a voucher to redeem your caterpillars online on the Insect Lore website. Once you place the order for your caterpillars they will arrive about one week from the stated dispatch date. While you are waiting on your caterpillars to arrive you can begin the learning process about the different stages of the butterfly life cycle. You might like to start with a simple video such as the one below!

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Exploring Nature with Children – New Products Now Available!

Exploring Nature with children has a number of benefits as well as being linked with the Aistear Theme of Exploring and Thinking. Nowadays children have less opportunity to explore outdoors. Early Years Services provide a great opportunity for children to get more exposure to nature. This can be done by spending more time outside to allow children to explore.

Many services may not have the benefit of a large outdoor area but it is still possible to explore nature even in a smaller space. There are many ways that  services can make it possible to explore nature regardless of the size of the outdoor space.

Some ideas include;

  • Build a mud kitchen to get familiar with the texture of soil and water
  • Collect and inspect insects, bugs, worms, ladybugs, leaves, pebbles etc.
  • Grow a mini garden – start small with herbs such as chive or parsley
  • Arrange a scavenger hunt where children collect lots of various natural items to explore
  • Go on a nature walk to a nearby park

Exploring Nature with Children – New Products

If you loved the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden then you will also love these wonderful new products available on the Early Years Shop. These four products are a great addition to any classroom for children to explore further into the world of nature with bugs and insects.

  1. Big Bunch O’ Butterflies – The Big Bunch O’ Butterflies includes 18 imitation butterflies from at least four different species. These include Painted Ladies, Monarchs, Swallowtails, Morphos and more! These realistic butterflies are a great addition to any classroom for a nature or butterfly theme activity. They come in a plastic tube with a resealable lid to keep them safe while not in use. They could also be used as part of a wall display board for children to see on a permanent basis.
  2. Big Bunch O’ Bugs – The Big Bunch O’ Bugs includes 18 imitation bugs and insects such as flies, spiders, beetles and ladybugs. This realistic bug selection are a great addition to any nature themed activity. The children can get up close and begin to recognise what the various bugs look like. Then they can go outside themselves to find the real life versions! The Big Bunch O’ Bugs come in a plastic tube with a resealable lid to keep them safe while not in use.
  3. Best Ever Bug Jar – The Best Ever Bug Jar allows children to go outside and collect their very own bugs to explore closer without them crawling away. This durable plastic container is made with breathable mesh to keep the insects safe while inside. Once the child is finished exploring they can easily release the bugs back into nature! It has a nice firm handle for children to grip as they explore and is made from shatterproof plastic to ensure durability.
  4. Creature Peeper – The Creature Peeper allows children to take a closer look at the natural world as it lets you see bugs from above and below and at 3 times their original size! This escape-proof, periscope-style interactive viewer is perfect for viewing small insects or items found outside. Children will have hours of fun with it!

All of these products are now available to purchase on the Early Years Shop! Make sure and keep an eye out for more nature products that we will be adding to the collection over the coming months!

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The Return of the Butterflies – The Magic of Metamorphosis!

Caterpillars to Butterflies is a magical learning experience for children of all ages and The Early Years Shop is delighted to announce the return of the very popular Insect Lore Butterfly Garden for Children! This product was very popular with both services and families during our first lockdown in 2020. It is a low-cost educational kit for raising butterflies from caterpillars. It is a great learning experience for young children as they get the opportunity to observe and think about change (metamorphosis) and the passing of time. 

If you are looking to explore the theme of Metamorphosis with your class then this product is a brilliant addition to your learning material. Butterflies are beautiful and gentle bugs and their metamorphosis is a wonderful experience for children of all ages. The children will get to experience seeing caterpillars change into chrysalides before emerging as beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies. They will then raise and feed their butterflies before releasing them into the wild! 

Stories about Butterflies

Many children at preschool age will already be familiar with the famous children’s book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. The book tells the story of a very small egg that emerges into a hungry caterpillar. The caterpillar sets off one day and eats his way through much food until he becomes full. He became big from all the food and then built himself a cocoon where he stayed for a number of days before emerging as a beautiful butterfly. Telling the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great place to begin your Metamorphosis theme.

Caterpillars to Butterflies – The Circle of Life

After telling a story you can explain what the 4 phases of the butterfly’s life cycle is.  Talk to the children about the term ‘Life Cycle’. These four phases apply to many other insects also including moths, ladybirds, flies, ants, bees and wasps. Therefore, if you wish to extend the learning to other insects they will already be familiar with the Life Cycle process. Learning about the Life Cycle is not just important to understanding metamorphosis but also for general life science.

Introduce The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden!

Once you have learned a bit about the caterpillars and butterflies, you can introduce the children to the Butterfly Garden. Explain that there are 3-5 caterpillars in the tub. The caterpillars will eat all the food provided until they get big (up to 10 times their original size).

Once the caterpillars are ready they will then hang themselves upside down and harden into chrysalides.  They will then be moved to the butterfly net where they emerge into butterflies. The children will then be able to feed the butterflies until they are ready to be released! The whole process takes approx. 3-4 weeks. This is a highly recommended product and a wonderful activity for adults and children alike!