We share our world with lots of amazing creatures … unfortunately, or maybe thankfully, you won’t find all the different types of minibeasts from the video in your back garden, but you could be surprised by the number of different plants and animals that live in your garden.
Today we would like you to go on an outdoor adventure and be a ‘Minibeast Detective’! Your job will be to find out if there are any special places where creatures like to live in your garden.
Remember a habitat is a ‘special place’ where a creature can find the food, water and shelter it needs because without those things, they could not survive. Your garden is a type of habitat but in your garden there are lots of micro-habitats. Watch this You Tube clip
Now you don’t live in California so you won’t find any salamanders in your garden, but you might have toads, frogs or newts and they are amphibians too.
The video will have helped you understand more about micro-habitats and how to safely and respectfully explore them
Think about all the different places in your garden where you might find creatures, e.g. under stones, on leaves, in cracks on the wall. Think about how you are going to look at the minibeasts and record what you find.
When you are exploring outside it is important to remember a few simple rules to stay safe and be respectful:
• handle leaves and plants carefully not to break them
• always put the minibeasts back in their special place
• replace anything that you might have moved e.g. stones, plant pots etc
• wash your hands thoroughly afterwards even if you have been wearing gloves
You might find it helpful to put together your own minibeast detective kit:
• A clear plastic container to collect and view any minibeasts you find
• A soft paint brush to help you gently direct any minibeasts into your plastic container
• A magnifying glass (if you have one at home)
• A camera
• A clipboard and pencil (if you don’t have a clipboard you can use a hardback book)
How many different micro-habitats can you find in your back garden and how many different minibeasts can you find? It’s time to explore.
Give your child lots of time to explore and record what they find on the ‘Minibeasts and their special places’ worksheet. They might want to use labelled drawing as well as key words.
Parents ... When your child finds something, even if they are able to correctly name it, encourage them to talk about its features …
Does it have legs? If so how many?
Is it hard or soft?
What colour is it?
How does it move?
Where did you find it?
Asking and answering questions stimulates thinking and observations skills, which are a really important part of your child’s science learning.
Once you have explored all the different or micro-habitats in your garden talk to a grown up about what you have found out. Use the information you have recorded on your worksheet to help you.
Where have you found the mini-beasts?
What were the special places like? Dark, dry, damp?
Were all the special places the same?
How were they similar or different?
Hopefully you found an interesting variety of different minibeasts. Is there anything that is the same/similar about all the mini-beasts found in one habitat? Are they all small? All dark coloured? All wiggly?
Has anything surprised you about what you have found and where you found it?
Ask your child to bend over and feel their backbone, or let them feel your backbone.
Tell them … ‘Lots of animals have a backbone. Some don't. Some have their hard bits on the outside (exoskeleton) and some are just really squishy. We call creatures without a backbone 'mini-beasts’, invertebrates is the special science name for them.
Well done for being a marvellous Minibeast Detective!
If you want to do some more work on Minibeasts, you could try this cut and stick activity and matching game to show what you have already found out about minibeasts .