Activity: Insect Scavenger Hunt

Continuing our week-long debut of the Young Explorers section, this is the first piece for our “Activities & Lesson Plans” column. This column will feature two types of pieces: activities for young explorers to complete on their own and lesson plans for teachers to use in a classroom setting.

Title: Insect Scavenger Hunt

Grade: 1st-3rd 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Safely pick up, examine, and return insects in your community.
  • Explain the differences between insects living in one area.
  • Describe how different types of insects have different habitats and behaviors.


  1. Piece of white paper
  2. Stick
  3. Notebook
  4. Pencil or pen
  5. Crayons or colored pencils (optional)
  6. Magnifying glass (optional)

Note: When handling insects, be gentle! If you want to pick up and move an insect, place the piece of paper or stick gently in front of the insect and wait for the insect to crawl onto it.

Background Information:

An insect is a small animal that has 6 legs and whose body is divided into three parts. All insects are arthropods, which means they do not have a spine. Instead, they have a hard outer skeleton that protects them. Insects are important members of our community. Insects keep the soil full of nutrients, spread seeds and pollen to help plants grow, and are an important food source for many other animals. 


Go outside to your yard, a nearby park, or other outdoor space. (Make sure you check with your parents before leaving the house.) Look around you and find as many insects as you can!  

To find insects, bend down and look closely at the grass/dirt, search on trees and bushes, or flip over small rocks to look underneath them. Once you’ve found one, allow the insect to crawl onto your stick or piece of paper so that you can take a better look.

You can keep track of the different kinds of insects you find. Draw a picture of each type of insect, or write a description of its color, shape, size, etc.

Optional: Write down notes about where you found the insect and what it was doing. For example, do you find ladybugs more often on the ground or in trees? Did you see more ants in the morning or the afternoon? Was the insect resting, eating, spinning a web, or flying?


  1. How many different types of insects did you find in your yard (or wherever you searched)?
  2. Did you find different types of insects in the same area or different spots?
  3. If you went outside to search for insects at a different time of day, do you think you would find the same or different insects?  (Go ahead and try this if you can!)
  4. What kind of habitat did you find the insect in? (Was the spot hot, sunny, shady, wet, etc.?)
  5. If you moved them to a different spot, did they stay in that spot or move to a different one? If they moved, where did they move to?

If you would like to view or print out a pdf version of this activity, click the Download button below.

Source for main image

[Written and edited by Allison Lau, Jessica Schaefer, and Nicole Korzeniecki]

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