In the “Exploring nature with children booklet

Worm farm. Photo: DOC/Adrienne Grant.
Worm farms are a great way to get kids involved in composting!

Bugs, insects, worms and other invertebrates (often referred to as minibeasts and creepy crawlies) may not always be our favourite creatures but they are vital to life on Earth. They make up the complex web of life as decomposers, pollinators, predators or food for insects, birds and other animals.

Despite what you think, and no matter how small your garden, it is teeming with life. Most children are fascinated by insects and creepy crawlies and it is important as parents and guardians to communicate the vital role that these amazing creatures play in the world around us – they are not all pests!

Encourage your children to understand the value of minibeasts and creepy crawlies and to get excited about finding them in the garden when digging in the soil, lifting mulch or leaf litter or searching a rotten log.

Help them to create a worm farm or get them involved in composting at home. Check out www. wormsrus.co.nz for information on different types of worm farms you can make yourself or buy.

Take a garden insect census

Insect pitfall trap.
Insect pitfall trap

The number and diversity of invertebrates in your garden is a good indicator of the health of your garden. The more the better! As well as being food for the birds, just think about pollination and decomposition for a moment - we wouldn't get very far without them would we?

Make a simple insect pitfall trap and take an insect census

What is this bug? on the Landcare Research website

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