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Insectival offers educational summer fun

SOLOMONS, MD -- Being able to have a place to go during the summer that is fun and educational is a good thing, as one parent said as I was walking through the door.

At first I was apprehensive about going to Insectival, hosted at AnnMarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center July 31. I have never been able to appreciate insects for their contributions to nature, avoiding them especially if they buzzed. 

Designed for younger children, I couldn't help but let out the little kid in me as I crossed the threshold of the museum. With a small fee, there was plenty to look at and explore.

Small ants made from portions of egg cartons dotted the walls. A museum volunteer was wearing a harness to the biggest praying mantis I had ever set eyes on. She was waving spindly insect arms around, enticing children closer. 

With various displays set up to inform and educate, bugs of all shapes and sizes had been collected and curated. Multiple kinds of beetles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, and other kinds of creepy-crawly creatures were on site to inspire children's curiosity.

I continued to wander around the event. Children had the chance to learn about mosquitoes and beekeeping within the state. They were figuratively buzzing at the sight of non-insect creatures that were also on site. I had the opportunity to hold a gentle tarantula and pet a docile alligator. I was warned about the animals and how to observe and touch them if possible. 

I continued to the upstairs portion of the museum to the 'Insect Make N Takes' station, where children had the chance to make bee hive mobiles. Using painted yogurt cups, event goers could use packing peanuts, yarn and glue to create bees buzzing around a home hive.

With permission from one of the volunteers, I dived into my own Make N Take hive. The activity was a creative exercise of teamwork as we shared tools to accomplish our artwork goals.

Other hands-on activities at the event included creating insect headgear, using LEGOs to build bugs, exploring bug habits through sensory pretend play, story time with Cindy Freland.

Children also had the chance to participate in carnival and recess games, with creative titles such as Beetle Bottle bowling, Stinger ring toss, Dragonfly fling, Pollinator Ping-Pong Plunk, Mosquito tag, Insect yoga, Dung Beetle Relays, and more.

For more information about the event, check out the art center's Facebook page

Contact Jacqui Atkielski at j.atkielski@thebaynet.com

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