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We’re buggin’ out over bugs this year! This summer’s bug-stravaganza was kicked off with a cool set of DIY clothespin cicadas, and we’re rounding out the insect play with a free printable bug scavenger hunt.
This invitation to search for actual insects is a great way to get your littles outside to explore the backyard, neighborhood, playground, or park. It encourages looking high and low for mini-beasts of all kinds, and provides a good occasion to talk about being the very best bug pals and protectors – search and observe, but don’t touch or move the insects and be careful and respectful with their habitats.
To go on your own bug scavenger hunt (with a free printable) you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- 1 sheet of 8.5 x 11 heavy cardstock or copy paper
- Our Free Printable Bug Scavenger Hunt PDF
- A Self-laminating pouch (I use this kind from Scotch) or sheet protector
- A hole punch
- A dry-erase marker
DIY Free Printable Bug Scavenger Hunt Instructions:
- Download and print our insect scavenger hunt PDF
Download our Free Printable Bug Scavenger Hunt PDF and print onto cardstock or copy paper (choose borderless printing if you’d like the printing to extend to the edges like ours).
- Laminate or slip into a sheet protector (optional)
To keep your copy clean and ready for repeat bug hunts, you can use a self-laminating sheet or slip it into a sheet protector, then punch a hole in a corner and tie a dry-erase marker on with a colorful ribbon!
- Color, decorate, and add embellishments (optional)
You can color and decorate using fun supplies or craft embellishments like watercolors, feathers, felt, beads, etc. This sheet is a great place to jot down fun bug facts or observations as you find them!
This bug hunt is a good interactive science activity to keep in the car, hanging by the back door, on the porch, near your summer garden, or close to the playground. If you’re DIY’ing your own summer camp this year, this one’s a great ongoing outdoor activity to add to the list.
And you don’t need to find ALL the bugs at once – multiple excursions outside through spring, summer, and fall are a great opportunity to teach your kids about bug life cycles and the symbiosis between seasons, blooming flowers and plants, and (of course!) emerging bugs.
More ways to use our bug scavenger hunt printable
- PRINT OUT PAPER BUGS FOR A BACKYARD BUG HUNT. Excited about exploring entomology with your little ones, but not sure you’ll see many of the bugs on our sheet? The second page of our printable has larger illustrations you can print out on cardstock, color, and hide around your backyard or garden. Tie them onto branches with a piece of ribbon or attach them to a popsicle stick or garden stake and pop them around the yard for a scavenger hunt that guarantees bug-finding success. A wonderful day of outdoor bug play!
- ADOPT A BUG. Invite your kids to pick a favorite bug from our insect scavenger hunt sheet and “adopt” it for the summer. Rather than catching a bug, invite them to observe one type of bug in its natural habitat throughout the season, recording any sightings and changes that may be occurring.
- LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR BUG SEARCH INSECTS. Identification apps can do amazing things these days, and the Picture Insects app is one of my favorites for determining the exact type of bug you’ve found. Beyond identification, books like Ultimate Bugopedia from National Geographic Kids, The Backyard Bug Book for Kids by Lauren Davidson, or Yuval Zommer’s Big Book of Bugs all provide great ways to learn facts about each type of bug through engaging photos and illustrations.
- MAKE A BUG BOX FOR OBSERVATION. You can extend the chance to observe some real live bugs at work with our DIY bug observation box activity. Write down your observations, or make your own illustrated versions of bugs you’ve attracted – I love this insect illustration activity from the Getty Museum.
- TURN YOUR PRINTABLE BUG SEARCH INTO A BUG JOURNAL. Fold and staple half sheets of paper together to make a simple small journal you can use to record your bug findings (you can cut out and paste in the bugs from our insect scavenger hunt printable). OR, for something a bit more “official,” print out multiple copies of our bug tracker pages from our outdoor explorer printable pack. Cut apart, punch holes in the corner of each page, then slide onto a keyring for the perfect insect scavenger hunt accessory!
- COMBINE WITH OTHER OUTDOOR SCAVENGER HUNTS. For a full day of outdoor hunting, you can double up on the search party fun with our more general free printable nature scavenger hunt (great for kids who AREN’T that stoked for insect I-Spy). Or use leaf activity kit free printable to scout out a variety of leaves and learn more about the trees in your area or put together a quick and easy backyard scavenger hunt.
- PUT ON A BUG PUPPET PLAY. You can print out the second page of our sheet with bug illustrations to make your own bug stick puppets. Simply cut out, color, and glue a popsicle stick to the back. Bonus points for making your own recycled cardboard puppet theater!
Loving this bug play activity? Visit our collections of 50 amazing insect learning resources and play activities and 50 gardening activities for kids for more!
For a lovely bug-themed art project, visit our DIY yarn spider web and mobile tutorial. Or use our DIY cardboard play food to make a handmade Very Hungry Caterpillar playset!
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!