One thing I love about homeschooling is the ability to cut our lessons short and let my kids explore the yard, especially when I feel like they’re getting more learning out of that than they could any other way. The other day I did just that, and it was lucky I did. Look what my eight-year-old found. There were actually two beautiful praying mantises in the yard that day. This is one of them.
My son watched it a long time. Finally he did a little experiment without me knowing! He dangled a daddy longlegs in front of the praying mantis, and he watched it lunge for it and then eat it!
Poor daddy longlegs. Lucky praying mantis.
We’ve been observing a lot of wildlife in our very own yard lately, though I think that’s because I have two inquisitive little boys who have the freedom to explore the yard often. The other day my son was taking stems off our butterfly bush (because someone taught us how to propagate it), and he found something interesting attached to the underside of a leaf. He came to me and said, “I think I found a ladybug pupa.”
I don’t even know where he learned that word, and I wasn’t sure he was right, but silly me, of course he was! I looked up the life cycle of a ladybug on A Life Cycle App. Sure enough, one of the pictures of the pupa stage looked exactly like what my son was holding in his hand. It also said that it takes about one week before the adult ladybug emerges.
So, we put the sprig in a jar with a wee bit of water to keep the leaves alive, and we waited a week. On the seventh day, we could see it moving. On the eighth day, it came out! It’s a yellow ladybug!
We took it back to the place where my son found it and released it.
What wild and wonderful things have you found in your yard?