There is a misconception that bugs and other science themes will not interest girls, but that is simply not true. Women have always been a part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). More and more women are joining STEM fields, and it is important to encourage young women and girls to pursue their love of these fields.
Bug themes are usually geared towards boys because boys are (traditionally) supposed to like creepy, crawly things. If we give girls the chance to explore and grow a love for bugs, maybe they would like creepy, crawly things just as much as the boys do. I personally do not like bugs or other insects that much, but I make sure that I hide my dislike when the children are around.
The children and I find many different kind of bugs playing on the playground–ladybugs, worms, bees, and beetles to name a few. The children run up to me saying, “Ms. Meliya! We found a bug!” I love to see the joy on their faces. I ask questions like, “Where do you think the bug will go when we let it go?” and “What do they eat?” to get them even more curious about the bugs.
Here’s a list of fun things to do with boys and girls to get them excited about bugs and other insects:
- Go on a bug hunt to see if and which kind of bugs you and your child can find.
- Use a computer, tablet, or phone to find more information about bugs and insects you have seen together.
- Paint using plastic bugs or insects–this is a fun art project and sensory experience!
- Observe an ant or worm farm.
- Read a book about bugs. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth is one that incorporates bugs and math.
By telling young women and girls that it is okay and fun to like bugs, we are breaking down gender expectations which help both boys and girls enjoy science.