7 DIY Bug Discovery Dig Ideas
7 Ideas for Making Bug Discovery Dig Kits at Home
DIY Bug Discovery Dig #1: Make a Bug Dig Kit
- Plaster of Paris
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups
- Excavation tools. Wooden dowels and other blunt instruments work well. Sharp tools are unsafe and not necessary as the excavations are reasonably brittle and excavate easily.
- Safety goggles
- Small brush
- Little plastic bugs. There are seemingly endless options available for purchase online at a very inexpensive price. There are really nice assortments of bugs filled with all kinds of different insects that work great for the DIY Bug Discovery Dig.
- Container - Any plastic container will do. I saw some cute dragonfly and butterfly soap molds online that would make really cute little bug shaped excavations.
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- Put one cup of sand in your mixing bowl.
- Add one-third cup Plaster of Paris.
- Use the wooden spoon to mix the sand and Plaster of Paris.
- Add one-third cup of water and mix.
- Keep adding small amounts of water until you reach a pancake like batter consistency.
- Add the bugs and insects to the container.
- Pour a layer of the mixture into the container to cover the bugs.
- Gently tap the sides of the container to remove any air bubbles. This will also allow a little mixture under and around the bugs. The plastic creatures may try and float to the surface. You can push them back under as the mixture stiffens.
- Optional - Leave a few insects partially exposed on the surface of the excavation.
- Set the bug discovery dig in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight. I like to put the excavation in front of a fan.
- Optional - Gather some bark, leaves, rocks, sticks and other natural materials to decorate the surface of the excavation.
If you love making educational dig kits and excavation activities at home, then be sure to explore the Excavating Adventures blog. Our blog is loaded with an ever growing list of DIY digs kits you can load with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more. These unique and creative dig kit ideas are designed to be not only fun, but educational.
Pro tip: Take a little time online and put together an identification sheet for the bugs you include in your excavation. Once your excavating adventurer discovers all the bugs, encourage them to use the sheet to identify and learn a little information about the bugs.
Now that the bug discover dig is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up, distribute the safety goggles, excavation tools, and let the excavating begin.
Pro tip: For younger excavating adventurers, grow a batch of water beads (Orbeez). You can use clear or colored water beads. Explore the full tutorial Orbeez Ghost Eye Excavation to learn about an awesome little surprise you can include in this exciting activity to add a whole other level of excitement.
Once the water beads are ready, strain off any excess water, pour them into a bin or tray, hide the little plastic bugs and insects, and let your child dig in and start discovering the little treasures.
This is a great sensory activity and a ton of fun. Once all the bugs have been discovered, you can encourage your little one to sort the discoveries by shape, type, or color to encourage thinking skills and problem solving abilities.
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Our kits include rare and unique specimens you won't find in standard store-bought dig kits, and with over 120 different specimens and trading cards to collect, there's always something new to learn and discover. Plus, our live sessions with Excavating Adventures guides provide personalized support and engagement for an even more enriching experience. Join the adventure today and give your child the gift of discovery and STEM learning with Excavating Adventures!
DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #2: DIY Real Bug Dig Kit
For this activity you will need some real bugs that have been preserved in clear resin. These are readily available online. While these are significantly more expensive than the plastic toy bugs, you can still get an assortment of real bugs in resin for a decent price if you shop around a little.
In my opinion, if you're ever going to invest a little extra money in a DIY dig kit, then this is the time. The real bugs in resin are amazing specimens and are an awesome addition to an excavation activity. Make sure you provide a magnifying glass so your child can really see all the amazing details on the insects they find.
Once you have your real bugs in resin, simple follow the instructions above, but use the real bugs in resin as opposed to the little plastic bugs.
Gem mining is a fascinating hobby that allows you to discover beautiful stones and minerals from the earth. But why go to a commercial gem mining site when you can create your own gem mining kit right at home?
Learn how to make your own kit with this DIY gem mining tutorial. You'll be able to unearth treasures and expand your rock collection from the comfort of your own backyard!
DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #3: Homemade Scorpion Dig Kit
Like the real bug dig kit we just discussed, you can also buy scorpions that have been preserved in resin. These are also amazing collectible specimens that are worth every penny.
Pro tip: Buy a large plastic scorpion and make a Mega Homemade Scorpion Dig.
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DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #4: Make a Spider Dig Kit
To make a spider dig kit, simply add a bunch of plastic toy spiders, or buy some spiders in resin. There are some really nice realistic looking assorted spider plastic toys available online. These work great in the make a spider dig kit. You can even use the plastic spider rings that you see around Halloween.
Pro tip: Speaking of Halloween, look for clearance sales after Halloween is over. A lot of times you can find toy spiders, bugs, scorpions, and insects for extremely low prices. Be sure to grab these up and use them in some of your bug discovery digs.
Pro tip: Don't limit yourself to just adding bugs to dig kits. Check out some other ways to make awesome DIY Gem Mining kits.
DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #5: DIY Glow Bugs Dig In The Dark Activity
This activity is a lot of fun and is just another little spin on our original bug discovery dig idea. Simply shop online for an assorted bag of plastic glow in the dark bugs. I think the bag I purchase had 144 glowing bugs and insects for five or six bucks.
Make your dig kit using the glow bugs.
Once the kit has dried, take it outside in the dark or into a dark room.
Provide your Excavating Adventurer with tools, safety goggles, and a headlamp and let the fun begin!
Be sure to check out how to make a Glow Dino Dig for another DIY Excavating Adventure you can enjoy in the dark.
Pro tip: Provide a black light if you have one available as this makes the bugs glow even brighter. You can even sprinkle some glow in the dark powder across the surface of the excavation just before it dries for some extra GID fun.
Fun Fact: Many insects really do glow. Fireflies produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up. This type of light production is called bioluminescence. The DIY Glow Bugs Dig In The Dark is a great activity to use to introduce and discuss bioluminescent insects.
DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #6: Easy Classroom Bug Dig Kits
Like all of our other bug discovery dig ideas, the easy classroom bug dig kits will use the same recipe as our original tutorial. But for this idea, we will be making a whole lot of small bug discovery digs so we have an idividual kit for each student.
First, get some small 2 oz condiment cups or some other containers of similar shape and size.
Make your plaster and sand mixture.
Fill each cup about halfway with the mixture and allow it to set for a couple minutes. Once the mixture has began to set but is still tacky, press an insect down into the mixture in each cup.
Allow the mixture to dry another minute or two. The plastic bugs will float to the surface in the mixture so we are trying to get them to stick before we complete the final pour.
Now, make another batch of mixture and top off the condiment cups. If a few insects float to the surface, simply push them back under once the mixture starts to set.
When it is time to excavate, distribute a paper plate (to help contain the mess), a bug discovery dig, excavation tools (popsicle sticks and water color brushes work great), a set of safety goggles to each student, and let the digging begin.
Pro tip: Try to borrow a set of safety goggle from a shop class, or a STEM or science lab at your school.
DIY Bug Discovery Dig Idea #7: Make Birthday Party Bug Digs
These birthday party bug digs are a great addition to any science themed birthday party for kids.
For this bug discovery idea, simply follow the instructions for the easy classroom bug dig kits, making sure that you use 2 oz condiment cups.
Once the excavations have dried, put a lid on the condiment cup and maybe decorate it with some cool insect stickers.
Slide the bug dig into a little cloth drawstring bag.
Be sure to include some excavation tools and maybe even a fun little novelty magnifying glass.
Then, print out some nice little thank you notes, being sure to describe the activity and highlight the need for adult supervision and safety goggles.
You now have an awesome set of DIY party favors to send home with your science birthday party guests!
Crawling Through the Geological Web: Exploring the Impact of Insects and Bugs on Earth's Geology
Here are some facts that relate insects and bugs with geology and their impact on geology:
Insects and bugs play a role in the weathering of rocks and minerals. By burrowing, tunneling, and creating nests, they contribute to the physical breakdown of rocks, which is an important step in the formation of soil.
Insects like ants and termites can cause significant changes to the landscape. Their excavations and mound-building activities can alter the topography, leading to the formation of small hills, mounds, or even large-scale formations such as anthills.
Some insects, such as beetles, feed on decaying plant matter and contribute to the decomposition process. By breaking down organic material, they help release nutrients into the soil, which can influence soil composition and fertility.
Insects that burrow into the ground, such as burrowing bees or beetles, can create tunnels that extend several centimeters below the surface. Over time, these activities can contribute to the mixing of soil layers, affecting soil structure and composition.
Insects like earthworms help in the formation of soil aggregates. Their movement through the soil creates channels that promote the circulation of air and water, which can enhance soil drainage and nutrient availability.
Insects are important contributors to the formation of humus, a dark, organic-rich layer in soil. Their feeding activities and waste products contribute to the accumulation of organic matter, which is an essential component of fertile soil.
Insect fossils provide valuable information about ancient environments and geological conditions. Preserved insect remains found in sedimentary rocks can indicate past climates, ecological interactions, and the presence of specific plant species.
Insects are closely linked to the pollination of plants, including flowering trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. Pollination is crucial for the reproduction and survival of many plant species, and it contributes to the formation and maintenance of diverse ecosystems.
Insects can indirectly impact the erosion and sedimentation processes. For example, the removal of vegetation by insect herbivory can lead to increased soil erosion, altering the sediment transport dynamics within a landscape.
The presence or absence of certain insect species can indicate the health and stability of ecosystems. Changes in insect populations can be indicators of environmental disturbances, such as pollution, habitat degradation, or climate change, which can have geological implications.
These facts highlight the interconnectedness between insects, bugs, and geology, emphasizing how their activities and interactions contribute to the formation, composition, and dynamics of the Earth's geological systems.
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