The Insect House is so beautiful that it will definitely inspire a child (or a grown-up!) to get busy in the garden. The design is simplistic yet aesthetically attractive. The use of natural wood for the frame and a light green mesh for the netting makes it 'blend in' harmoniously with the natural environment. Each end of the Insect House features a leafy decal as a point of interest.
The house measures 18cm x 11cm x 11cm. It also features a strap on one end to make it easier to carry and handle during the bug-hunt!
Searching for bugs is like a natural treasure-hunt. It encourages attention to detail as the eyes attempt to distinguish the tiny creatures hiding amongst the foliage. When a child locates an interesting specimen it can be placed in the Insect House by carefully turning the 'door' to the side to create an opening. When the creatures are safely settled inside - with some of the surrounding flora to create a homely habitat - the door can be closed again to prevent unexpected escapes!
The Insect House is perfect for observing small flying insects, such as ladybugs. The netted section is large enough for a small creature to stretch its wings - or for a cricket to take a few jumps! It is therefore an ideal tool for a child to observe the insect's behaviour. Smaller insect viewers, like our Buggy 3 Way Viewer, are fantastic for observing the insect's physical features but they rarely provide enough room for movement. So the Insect House is ideal for learning more about the insect's mode of transport - whether it crawls, hops or flies!
Older children might like to start keeping a journal of their observations. Pre-schoolers could use illustrations and occasional words to chart the behaviour of the insect. Primary school children can become more scientific - making daily records or charts to show the insect's movements, size, behaviours and perhaps even details like the interactions between insects.
The Insect House is large enough to keep an insect for extended periods without causing it discomfort (or death). It can be comfortably furnished with foliage and there is no shortage of oxygen because the majority of the house is mesh. This makes it a much more humane habitat than plastic containers or smaller observation viewers.
A very eager entomologist might benefit from having both an Insect House and a viewer. The Insect House can be the insect's primary habitat to provide the child with a chance to observe the creature's behaviour over an extended period. The viewer can be used for shorter periods of observation to use the magnification to identify more specific details
It is ideal to think of this more as an Insect Holiday House because 'catch-and-release' is always the ideal option for exploring mini-creatures. Even if the insect stays in the House for a few days it is best to replace it to the garden eventually. The catch-and-release method allows the child the fun of finding and collecting the insects. It also provides the chance for scientific observation and research. It then reinforces the sense of respect for nature that is absolutely fundamental to the Montessori method and vital to inspiring the budding 'eco-warriors' who are the future caretakers of our planet. Returning the creatures to their 'natural habitat' can act as the final stage of this activity.
PS. Thanks to my lovely friend, and 'Montessori mum' to two beautiful children, Alison for finding this beautiful resource and bringing it to my attention!