The best way to learn about something is to watch it. Scientists do a lot of watching, or observing, to learn about things, especially insects like ladybugs. In this project, you will get to look for ladybugs and then watch them to learn about them, just like a real scientist! Make sure you get permission from an adult before you start this project.
If you want to keep your ladybugs for a couple days to watch them some more, you will need to give them something to eat. Soak two raisins in water for 15 minutes. Cut the raisins in half, then put them in the bottom of the ladybug jar. Even though your ladybugs have food and water now, they will still be happier in their natural home. After observing them for 2 or 3 days, make sure you let them go in the place where you found them so they can get back to their normal life of hunting aphids and laying eggs to make more ladybugs!
Here are several fun ladybug activities you can do this summer!
Activity 1: Find Ladybug Larvae
A ladybug larva is a baby ladybug. Ladybugs go through different stages, and for most of their lives they don't even look like the pretty red and black ones we are used to seeing! Your parent or teacher can tell you more about the different stages of a ladybug's life cycle. Try to find ladybug larvae (that means more than one, larva means one) by looking in the same types of places as you did in the Ladybug Investigation project. A great place to find ladybug larvae is on a rose bush. Aphids love to eat rose plants and since ladybugs love to eat aphids, many ladybugs will lay their eggs on the leaves of rose bushes so that when the larvae hatch out of the eggs, they will have plenty of food waiting for them! If you can find some larvae and some aphids, you can collect them in a container and watch the ladybug larvae change into adult ladybugs! Just be sure to provide them with plenty of aphids and other small insects to eat. They will also need air holes and water. Put a wet cotton ball or paper towel in the bottom of the container to give them water. Note: Instead of using a jar, a Pop-Up Insect Habitat also makes a great home for your insects!
Activity 2: Make Ladybug Prints
You'll need a potato (cut in half), paint in ladybug colors (red, orange, or yellow), a paper plate, art paper, a black marker, and a black ink pad. Put some of the paint on the paper plate and dip the round, cut end of one half of the potato into the paint, then press it firmly onto your paper like a stamp to make a ladybug's body. Stamp as many ladybugs onto your paper as you want. Once the paint dries, you can finish your picture by using your thumbprint in the black ink to make a head and your pinky finger to make spots. Use the marker to give your ladybugs wings, legs, and antennae. You might want to use other paints or markers to draw leaves, aphids, and larvae on your picture also.
Activity 3: Act Like A Ladybug
Make antennae like a ladybug's by attaching two black pipe-cleaners to a headband (or you can make a headband by attaching pieces of string to a strip of cardboard and tying the string behind your head). Stick a small Styrofoam ball onto the end of each pipe-cleaner. Paint the balls and the headband black. Once it is dry, put the antennae on and imagine what it would be like to only be able to feel and smell through your feet and those antennae, the way a ladybug does! Can you think of anything else you could do like a ladybug?
Activity 4: How Much Do You Know?
Write your own science book about ladybugs! Include everything you know about them. One way to do it is to make one page for each thing you know about ladybugs, and then either draw pictures for each page, or find pictures that you can cut out of magazines or print from the internet. Make sure you get permission before cutting anything up or searching on the internet! Another idea is to ask an adult to help you take pictures of real ladybugs that you find. When you have all the pages ready, make a nice cover for your book, and punch holes in the same places in all of the pages, then use string to tie them together, or put them in a three-ring binder. You can use this book to share what you have learned about ladybugs with your siblings and friends.