Moths are generally considered plain-Janes when compared to their more colourful cousins – but that isn’t always the case.
Butterflies and moths are closely related, both belonging to the order Lepidoptera (meaning ‘scaly wings’).
Avid experts and collectors see the beauty in moths. Because of this, sometimes they capture, kill and pin moths to keep their everlasting bodies on show – though I’m certainly not suggesting you do this with your child! There are many other ways to appreciate the beauty of moths with your kids. Start with these activities:
Moth Activities for Kids
How to attract Moths
There are plenty of ways to observe moths up-close without harming them in any way. Some include:
It is well known that moths are attracted to light.
A portable spotlight or a torch will allow you to study moths even more closely. Hanging a white sheet up with the light shining on it can sometimes make the light more inviting.
Many moth hunters have their own concoctions of sugary goodness to attract moths and it’s super easy to make one of your own.
There are a number of different recipes that can be found online.
A different sugaring method is to soak lengths of rope or chord in a cheap red wine and drape them around foliage in your backyard.
Another easily available moth attractant is rotting fruit.
Make sure you place it somewhere where a moth will feel safe and secure.
Keeping your moth for observation
Don’t forget to use these wonderful suggestions from Butterfly Conservation if you decide to keep a moth for a little while to observe it:
- Avoid touching moths’ wings directly as you can easily damage them.
- Put moths in dry clear plastic or glass containers for close inspection.
- To dislodge moths into containers, give whatever they are resting on a sharp tap, or gently lift each moth from underneath onto a pencil.
- Only put one moth into each container and check that it can move around freely.
- If moths are very active in containers, put them in a fridge or cool box for a short time to calm them.
- Moths can be kept for a day or two in a container in the fridge while you identify them.
- Release moths out of the sight of birds in thick or long vegetation, ideally at dusk.
- To avoid birds learning to come and eat moths where you have attracted or released them:
- Check your trap or lighted area at dawn (or cover the trap with a sheet at dawn);
- Discourage birds by using a plastic snake or owl;
- Regularly change your moth release site. (Butterfly Conservation, July 18)
If you would like to learn more about moths, here are two wonderful links that will help you look the expert when talking about moths with your child.
Better yet, you and your child can research Moth species together too!
I fear this little fellow ate quite a few of our moths. Naughty gecko!
We hope you enjoyed the moth activities for kids and it helps start you and you kids on a fun learning journey.
Sometimes you can find a little beauty in places you didn’t expect and little dusty moths are no exception.
Some may be beastly, but they have an important role to play in nature and still make for a wonderful learning experience.