Hunting in the backyard

The weather was beautiful this week, so we enjoyed the outdoors as much as possible. Yesterday the kids took their Backyard Explorer kits to the backyard. We got ours at a children’s museum, but basically they’re a lot like this Adventure Kids Bug Catcher Box Set.


Ours are simpler and contain these items:


Ham and Nica took one kit each and ventured forth to capture little creatures. Nica tried the tweezers first, but lost her nerve.



Ham tried the tweezers too.


Nica decided to focus on catching butterflies.


Eventually, she got bored with the butterfly hunt and sought bigger game.
“Mommy, see that tree? It’s a hollow tree. Inside it, there’s a squirrel, three bunnies and a kinda small dragon. That’s how he can fit in there. Dragons are usually huge!”
“How did they all end up in there?”
“They’re all hiding from me, because I am the hunter! I’m going to catch them with this net!”
“Aren’t the squirrel and bunnies scared of the dragon?”
“Yes, but they’re more scared of ME! Grrrrr! Teehee!”


Then there was a magic spell that turned the net into a “gigantihuge” net to catch a mother dragon who came looking for her kinda small dragon baby. But then Nica felt bad for the baby dragon, who was stuck in the tree but saw his mother stuck in the net, so, they were both set free after they promised not to burn people up. Oh, and the squirrel and bunnies were also released and are now living in our yard. I can’t see them because they move so fast. Then it was time to go in for string cheese and crackers.

Hex Bugs: not for the entomophobic

They are robotic insects. We have the Original, Ant, Crab and Nano. The Original is the pokiest of these; Ant is fast and furious; the Crab reacts to light and noise; and the Nano moves exactly like a little cockroach <puke>.

There are other types of bugs available. There is one called Larva, for example. It looks absolutely revolting.

The bugs are intended for ages 8 and up: These are small, delicate robots, with miniature parts that break easily and tiny batteries that run out if you leave the motor on. But with supervision, they make great entertainment for the little ones (little ones that have graduated the put-everything-in-the-mouth stage, that is).

Ham (18 mos) and Nica (4) love the Nano. It’s teeny, it’s fast but not too fast, and it sometimes makes Mommy go “Eek!” What’s not to love. Ham has not yet developed the part of his brain that tells him not to let the bug go into holes, crevices, under appliances.

If this ever happens to you, you might have to build the Nudger:

Two things that are great about the Nudger: 1) it’s very easy to make; 2) you can finally dip into the gigantic stash of takeout supplies that you’ve been hoarding out of environmental consciousness or in case of a global event that leaves you equipped only with one-use chopsticks and ketchup packets.

Two things that suck about the Nudger: 1) you have just made a long stick that your son covets and will try to use to “nudge” everything and everyone he encounters; 2) if you don’t dismantle it properly after use, it will do this:

An added bonus of the Nano recovery exercise is that we’ve found a few items that have been missing.