The theme for the month of July is mini beast. Mini beasts are small creatures such as slugs, snails, worms, spiders etc. The scientific name for these types of creatures is Invertebrates and they do not have a backbone. The lack of a backbone has caused these creatures to develop other ways to protect themselves from other predators and their environment. There are numerous examples of this, snails have developed shells and other insects have formed exoskeleton, which is a hard outer layer. A perfect example of this is the familiar woodlice found in gardens everywhere. It is estimated that there are over 25,000 different mini beasts in the UK.
There are three categories that mini beast fall into these are: Anthropods, molluscs, and anellids. Anthropods include spiders and creatures with lots of legs, and molluscs include insects with shells such as snails. The habitat that mini beast occupy vary from deserts, lakes, woodlands and moutains. Typically their local habitat are under stones, around trees, deep in the soil.
As part of the month’s theme, the children were taken into the garden and allowed to explore the mini beast habitat. The children were equipped with magnifying glass so they could get up close and personal and had little containers so they could further analyse them when they had finished exploring the garden (the insects were released back in to the garden a short while later J).
There was a mixed reaction from the children whilst exploring the garden for mini beast. Some of the children were very excited and were fascinated by the insects they discovered, others were a little scared and unsure.
The children practised the skill of gentle handling of the insects, careful observation when recognising the insects in the garden. The biggest excitement for the children was when they communicated and worked as a team to find the insects in the garden. The children often shouted out “ I found a spider”. This also helped them to learn the insects’habitat, which we called their “hiding place”.
The insects the children found were placed in magnifying glass containers and carried in the house for further observation. We discussed and named the insect’s body parts such as wings, legs, tentacles etc.… We also counted their spots, stripes, legs, tentacles and wings, which supported the children’s consecutive counting.
All in all it was a great activity for the children and one that all Nurseries in Enfield, childminders in Enfield should participate. As a childminder in Enfield it is great to carry out such wonderful activities with the children improving their understanding of the world and environment. I would like to leave you with some key facts about mini beast.
Minibeast are essential to the existence of humanity.
Minibeast move in a variety of ways, they fly, walk, swim and can move without legs (snails)
Minibeast reproduce their young in a number of different ways from laying eggs which go on to form larvae. Some insects are born as fully grown adults.
Minibeast eat a variety of food from vegetation, sap/nectar and some eat other insects.