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When children show an interest in insects, ask if they would like to create an insect home. Assist children with designing and building a bug hotel* for insects of their choice. Adults could help children find out about habitats and could take children outside to collect natural materials. If needed, adults could help children put the materials in the structure. *Even though the structure is called a bug hotel, any kind of insect can live in it.


4 years and up

Time and Place

⚙ Any time of day

⚙ Any time of year when there are insects outside

⚙ Indoor or outdoors


⚙ A structure for the bug hotel (e.g., small wooden box, plastic bottle, or can)  

⚙ Room dividers (e.g., toilet paper rolls, small beverage cans, juice boxes)

 Natural materials for the furnishings (e.g., sticks, leaves, pinecones, stones, flowers) 

⚙ Safety scissors


Optional Materials 

​⚙ Glue

⚙ Tape 



⚙ Supervise children at all times

⚙ Adults should be in charge of cutting when safety scissors are not sufficient

⚙ If a recycled can is used, check for sharp edges


Play-based Context

A child was walking outside with her mom, when she became interested in a butterfly. Seeing how enthusiastic she was, mom (who was already very interested in gardening) suggested they design and construct a butterfly hotel later that day. 

Questions You May Ask 

⚙ What kind of bug would you like to make a hotel for? What can you use to make a hotel for the bug?

⚙ How can we build the structure and the rooms for the hotel?

⚙ What natural materials does the bug need to survive?

⚙ How can you put the natural material in this [wooden box, plastic bottle, can]?

Related Children's Books

Bug Hotel by Clover Robin
Peep Inside Bug Homes by Anna Milbourne
Lift-the-Flap Bugs and Butterflies by Emily Bone

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