What are mini-beasts and how do you study them during nature study with kids? Mini-beasts do not have a backbone and are called invertebrates. Insects, arachnids, molluscs are just some of the different mini-beasts you might find in your “sit spot” this time of year. September is the perfect time to record and observe the changes happening in your special nature spot.
Nature walk activity for studying Mini-Beasts
Start in your “sit spot” and hunt for mini-beasts. If you don’t see any then go somewhere that you can look under stones, dead wood, grasses, or plants. Take your magnifying glass and see if you can collect a few! Discuss the differences with your child and ask them to count the legs, the body parts, or to see if they have any antennae. I love this Insects book as a mini-beasts resource.
Make sure your child uses a tool to collect the creatures so they don’t get stung or hurt the animal.
Mini-Beasts with No Legs:
- Annelids: worms
- Molluscs: slugs and snails-gastropods (muscular foot)
Mini-Beasts with Six legs & three body parts:
- Insects: beetles, wasps, flies, butterflies, etc.
Mini-Beasts with Eight Legs:
- Arachnids: Spiders (two body parts; a fused head-thorax and abdomen, two fangs, and produce silk)
- Harvestmen/Daddy Long Legs (one body part, have no fangs, and do not produce silk)
Mini-Beasts with 14 Legs & segmented exoskeletons:
- Isopods: woodlice, slaters, roly polies, and pill bugs.
Mini-Beasts with More than 14 legs:
Extension activities for studying Mini-Beasts during Nature Study:
- Diagram a table in your nature journal to show where you found the creatures.
- Make a model of your mini-beasts with clay or play dough. Make sure to include all the correct body parts.
- Look for signs of insects: cocoon, nests, nibbled fruits or vegetables
- Hunt for a garden spider’s web. Garden spiders build a new web each day.
- Write an acrostic poem about your favorite mini-beast.