Minibeast hunt - outdoor activities

A minibeast hunt is probably one of the easiest outdoor activities to organise for children as long as you have an outdoor area, preferably with some different habitats to explore. It is a great way for children to explore and discover the world as well as developing a range of skills when finding, collecting, identifying, recording, drawing and discussing minibeasts.

Where to find minibeasts?

Woodlands are great places for looking for minibeasts but if you don’t have one nearby a garden area is also good. Actually you can find minibeasts in all sorts of places from grass verges to window sills, here are a few possibilities:

minibeast hunt- outdoor learning

  • Worms – water a grassy area and stamp feet to bring worms to the surface
  • Woodlice, earwigs, beetles, centipedes and millipedes – look under stones, under or in dead wood, in damp shaded areas, around the base of trees
  • Dragonflies – try looking near ponds, rivers or water
  • Bees, hoverflies and butterflies – on and around flowers, bushes and shrubs
  • Spiders – you can find these everywhere and anywhere, also look out for their webs in the mornings if there is a dew.
  • Slugs and snails – look in damp, shaded areas surfaces particularly after rain or at night, or just follow the trails
  • Ladybirds – they are often found on plants and sometimes trees

You could also try placing a white sheet under a bush and shake the bush or tap with a stick to see what falls out. You could also sink small pots into the ground the day before to see what crawls into them.

Mini beast hunt- Outdoor play
Our mini beast hunters found lots of woodlice, earwigs and ladybirds when they pulled back the grass around the base of a tree trunk.
EYFS Activities - Minibeast hunt
For identifying and recording minibeasts, printable sheets can be found on the Woodland Trust and Twinkl.

Minibeast hunt - EYFS
The younger children were fascinated by the minibeasts and loved holding the magnifying glasses to their eyes and discovering how they make things look bigger. Collecting some ladybirds in bug jars gave the children the chance to have a really good look at them and count how many spots they had. Of course they were all released back into the wild afterwards.

minibeasts
Our minibeast hunters found a centipede. Using a magnifying glass, they tried to count how many legs it had.
Mini beast hunt
Finding and collecting minibeasts proved to be a great team activity. The children enjoyed working together to get them into a bug hut quickly before they wriggled away.

A Minibeast hunt can cover a number of EYFS goals

Communication and Language

  • Listening to and following instructions on where to look for minibeasts
  • Answering questions about the minibeasts that they have found including describing what they look like and where they live.
  • Talking about their mini beast hunt with other children and adults afterwards.

Physical Development

  • Negotiating space and practicing balance by moving around to get the best view of mini beasts.
  • Handling equipment and tools effectively using magnifying glasses, bug pots and bug tongs (and fingers) to collect and view minibeasts.
  • Health and self-care – discussing the importance of washing hands after playing outdoors.

PSED

    • Developing self confidence by choosing which pots/ magnifying glasses etc that they would like to use for the mini beast hunt and which habitat they would like to look at.
    • Making relationships working in pairs or larger groups to find, identify and talk about minibeasts, sharing equipment and helping each other.

Literacy

  • Reading mini beast names and when using guides to identify insects.
  • Writing names of minibeasts or simple sentences about the minibeasts that they have found.

Maths

  • Counting the minibeasts that they find and how many legs they have.
  • Recording minibeasts which are found in a table, adding together numbers to work out the total number of minibeasts found.

Understanding the World

  • Learning about and discovering the similarities and differences of minibeasts e.g how they move, colouring for camouflage/ warning, food, habits.
  • Observing animals and plants and identifying them by describing different features, parts of the body, how many legs.

Art and design

  • Creating pictures of mini beasts. Choosing which medium to use.

Have you been on a minibeast hunt with your children? What did you find?

Visit more minibeast posts or follow us on Pinterest for more activity ideas.

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