Insects and other bugs are easy to find almost anywhere or you may find evidence such as a silvery snail trail, a web, a mined trail in bark, insect shells or a leaf chew.
One way to focus on smaller animals with children is to place a hoop, old picture frame or circle of rope on the ground. Then lie down on your tummies together to examine in detail the enclosed space.
A magnifier might be helpful, but do use outdoors with care on sunny days as they focus sunlight and can cause ignition.
Depending on the age of the child picking up small insects can be tricky and we don’t want the insects/bugs squashed in the process. Think about do you need to touch them at all, or can you just observe. Maybe tweezers or a piece of card could be used to pick up the insect/bug and place in a temporary clear plastic container to observe more closely.
You are likely to find ants, worms, slaters (or butchy boys!), millipedes, centipedes, snails, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs, beetles, ladybirds etc. Again, pose questions and find out, what does it eat, where does it live, what body parts can you see……there are many online guides to help.
Another option is to explore the Atlas of Living Australia online, where you can search insects and bugs identified and mapped within our local Armidale area.
Also home projects such as establishing a worm farm, planting a butterfly garden or building an insect hotel are possible.
If you are planting a butterfly garden, then the Sprung 2016 Armidale Tree Group newsletter has a list of butterflies around Armidale and what plants their larvae/caterpillars need to eat. This is a very comprehensive guide for attracting local butterflies to your garden.