Building A ‘Bug’ House

June 13, 2020

Bug House 1

Today, we built a Bug House! This is a fun activity to do with kids of all ages that requires just a little bit of prep. We’re looking forward to seeing what types of bugs decide to stay in our humble abode! And even though we named it Bug House, it’s not just for bugs, of course, but also insects, isopods, arachnids, and anything else that would like to move in! 


Our Bug House will become a reoccurring observation and discussion activity. Every couple of days, we’ll go out and check on the Bug House, see what’s moved in, and attempt to identify what we see. We’ll report back with our findings!


Here’s how we did it:


Step 1: Collect recyclables


For about a week before we built our Bug House, we set some recyclables aside for the project, like egg cartons, cardboard tubes, and other cardboard product packaging.

Bug House 2
Steps 1-2: Collect recyclables and natural materials.

Step 2: Collect natural materials


To make our Bug House guests feel at home, we collected dried leaves, pieces of bark, and other natural materials from our backyard and on a walk around the block. We also saved some wood shavings from a building project our family is working on. 


Step 3: Build 


Take a look at what you have available to use as building materials and decide which recycled item you’d like to use as your house “frame.” Use smaller items like cardboard tubes and anything that can be turned into a tray to create compartments that fit inside the frame (like rooms of a house). Fill each compartment with natural materials (like furniture) that critters can burrow into. There’s no right or wrong way to do this … have fun and be creative.


For reference, here’s what we did! 

  • We cut the flaps off a rectangular cardboard box (that once held instant oatmeal packets) and used it as our frame for the Bug House. 
  • As our compartments/rooms, we placed two toilet-paper tubes inside a cardboard tray on one side of the oatmeal box and half of an egg carton on the other side.
  • We filled both tubes and the egg carton with our natural materials/furniture.
  • As decoration, we glued a piece of white recycled cardboard on the top of our Bug House, wrote “Bug House” with a marker, and glued on some leaves and sticks. (This step was purely for fun.)
Bug House 3
Bug House 4
Bug House 5
Step 3: Build!

Step 4: Place your Bug House outside


Finally, place your Bug House in a spot outside that’s likely to attract the most creepy-crawlies. We plan to first try placing our Bug House at the base of the tree in our backyard. We may move it somewhere else in a few days.

Bug House 6
Step 4: Find a spot outside for your Bug House.

Step 5: Observe


Revisit your Bug House every couple of days to see what’s moved in!


About the Author

Bethanie Hestermann writes animal-science books for kids. She and her husband Josh have co-authored Zoology for Kids, Marine Science for Kids, and they have two more books coming soon.

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