We decided to be responsible and reuse materials in our construction project, so the first step was to dismantle an old pallet that had been donated. We then used old donated bricks and collected heaps of sticks, leaves, pinecones, etc. to fill it up and make cozy little niches where bugs could curl up and feel safe.
Our Bug Hotel was a success from the beginning. It only took a day to build, and then it was ready for our many-legged visitors.
The children bring over the bugs that they find, and tell them, "Welcome to the Bug Hotel!" Often the bugs will sit for a bit out on the edge of the board, where we can observe them. Then they climb back into brick or between the sticks to find a place to stay.
It didn't take long for us to realize that the wind (and some enthusiastic exploring by children) quickly depleted the store of sticks and leaves, so we all work together to keep replenishing it over time.
We also added bamboo when we came across some later, as the tiny holes are perfect for our visitors, especially in winter.
Our children started spending more time than ever finding, observing, and learning about bugs.
So... we built a special earthworm wing of the Bug Hotel!
Our earthworm wing is walled in by bricks, with lovely, moist soil inside. It is great for digging for worms and for burying worms that we find elsewhere. It has a lid that we made at the carpentry table to keep it nice and moist, as well as to protect the worms from the inevitable feet that will step there on the way to the rest of the Bug Hotel. Plus, it is exciting to lift up the lid to peak into the earthworm wing. Our earthworm guest are now happy and comfortable when they come to stay.
We recently planted some bug-friendly plants around the Bug Hotel, but there is so much foot-traffic, they are having a bit of a hard time growing. We've added a brick path to encourage the children to walk on it instead of the plants, but that's still a work in progress. We'll continue to expand and explore our use of this area, but we are loving it so far!
If anyone has suggestions or ideas for improving our Bug Hotel, especially with regard to growing bug-friendly plants, we'd love to hear them!