We actually did two beetle activities. First, we learned about the lifecycle of Darkling beetles, of which the larvae are called mealworms. Second, we released ladybugs in the yard and talked about predator-prey interactions.
We adopted mealworms a few weeks back, after a visit to the library where they had a live bat demonstration and Zev loved watching the bats munching mealworms. We were lucky to get one that had already pupated and when Cassandria came over one morning we noticed that it had just hatched into an adult beetle. Cassandria decided that it was the “Mommy beetle” and the others were babies. We spent a long time talking about beetle life cycles and the kids drew pictures of our pet darkling beetles as both larvae and adults. We fed them carrots and melon rind. We noticed how the larvae liked to make tunnels through the carrots and hind under the, now squishy, melon rid.
About a week later, we adopted the ladybugs. We released the lady bugs in the yard and observed their behavior as they crawled and flew away. I drew an anatomy diagram in chalk on the sidewalk next to us, and we talked about how beetles have hard elytra on top of their flying underwings. Then we all started drawing beetles. Once we had a whole long row of them in rainbow colors, the kids played ,“Hop Along the Beetles.”
Materials – Ladybugs (from a garden store), Mealworms (from a pet store), dirt, old plant matter (we used carrot and melon rind), ladybug stickers (art store), markers, chalk, library books about beetles.