Most children, especially boys, love playing with insects such as crickets. Why not make learning fun and let them play while also learning a thing or two at the same time? These easy science experiments are both fun and educational too.
How to Find a Cricket
Half of the fun of playing with crickets is catching them. If you are lucky enough to have crickets in your yard, then let your children have fun catching as many as they can. Look in tight shady spots such as under logs, paver stones, or the north side of the house. Or better, you can wait til they start coming out in the evening after dusk. If you can't find any crickets, then you can easily buy some at your local pet store.
Taking Care of Crickets
You will need to find a home for your crickets to live in while your children are observing them. You will need some sort of terrarium that you can buy to house pets like small lizards. If you don't want to buy a new one, check Craigslist or ask friends or family members. Someone is bound to have one.
Pour an inch or two of clean sand into the bottom of the container, and then put the crickets in the container. Make sure you have a tight fitting lid of some sort to keep the crickets in.
Make sure to feed your crickets to keep them alive while you are observing them. They enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, potatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, etc.
Place a small, shallow container of water in the terrarium to keep the crickets hydrated.
Science Experiment #1
Now for the experiments. Talk to your child about the scientific method, and have them first write down a question such as "Do crickets prefer wet sand or dry sand?"
Next have them write down a hypothesis such as "I think the crickets will prefer wet sand."
Have your child pour a small cup of water over the sand at one end of the terrarium to get the sand good and wet.
Let the crickets run around for a couple of hours and then have your child observe the positions of the crickets.
Have your child write down the result of the experiment, such as "Three crickets preferred dry sand, and eight crickets preferred wet sand."
Next have your child write down a conclusion such as "The crickets preferred wet sand so that they could stay hydrated."
Science Experiment #2
You can make little "houses" for the crickets out of toilet paper tubes. Cut a toilet paper tube in half to make two houses. For the second science experiment place two toilet paper tube "houses" in the terrarium.
Have your child write down the question "Do crickets prefer to live by themselves or do they prefer to live in groups?"
Next have them write the hypothesis "I think the crickets will prefer to live ____________."
After a couple of hours have your child record the results of the experiment, and then their conclusion(s).
In addition to the experiments, search Google for information about crickets, or take your child to the public library to check out books about crickets. There are many interesting facts for your child to learn about the habits of these interesting insects.
Help make learning fun for your children by doing some educational science experiments. Not only will your child be learning, you will also be spending quality time together at the same time.
About the author: Sharon Owen is a professional blogger that shares advice on early childhood education and development. She writes for The Learning Experience, child development centers located nationwide that offer child care, day care, kindergarten and preschool.