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The Best Bug Toys for Budding Scientists in 2021


While most adults agree that bugs are a little creepy, children are fascinated by the creepy crawlies. Why exactly is this? Some entomologists speculate it is because bugs are an accessible part of nature for kids. They can capture insects and observe them, unlike other creatures like birds or deer. In this list, we have captured the best bug toys we could find and have placed them under a magnifying glass just for you. Try not to let any of them escape!

Best Bug Toys Overall: Outdoor Explorer Kit
Best Bug Toy for Toddlers: Coogam Bee to Hive Matching Game
Best Educational Insect Toy: National Geographic Real Bug Dig Kit
Best Kids Bug Catcher: Nature Bound Bug Catcher Vacuum
Best Bugs Game: Ravensburger Bugs in the Kitchen
Best Bug Book: The Backyard Bug Book for Kids

Best Bug Toys 

Outdoor Explorer Kit & Bug Toys & Catcher Kit

ESSENSON Outdoor Explorer Kit & Bug Catcher Kit with Binoculars, Compass, Magnifying Glass, Critter Case and Butterfly Net Great Toys Kids Gift for Boys & Girls Age 3-12 Year Old Camping Hiking
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The Outdoor Explorer Kit & Bug Toys & Catcher Kit is a total package of a bag-catching kit!

On a list of bug toys, you’ll probably be waiting to see a bug-catching kit. I get it; we all want to get the kids outside sometimes! Encourage some outdoor play with this comprehensive bug catcher kit.

Inside, you’ll find everything your little bug hunter will need. Of course, there’s the mandatory bug cage for housing the critters, along with a net and tweezers to capture them in the first place. If your kid isn’t feeling up to capturing something alive, the kit also includes fake bug toys for examining.

In this kit, you’ll also get a set of binoculars, a whistle, a compass, and a flashlight. Thanks to those, and the included knapsack, this kit is a must-have on your next family hiking or camping trip. Plus, the complimentary sun hat will come in handy then, too.

Looking for more information on those binoculars? They are 8×21 lenses, meaning they can magnify objects up to 8 times. The binoculars have soft eyecups, hang on a breakaway safety lanyard, and have their own carrying case.

This is a perfect gift for your little bug-lover, but it can also be a great tool for a little one to overcome their fear of insects. 

PROS

  • Includes everything a bug hunter needs
  • Encourages outdoor play

CONS

  • Pricey

kockuu 43 Pack of Realistic Bug Toys

43 Pack Fake Bugs Mini Realistic Insects Toys for Kids Toddler Children's Birthday Gift Halloween Treats Bugs Insects Goody Bag Filler
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The kockuu 43 Pack of Realistic Bug Toys is a huge pack of detailed bug toys!

In terms of value, you can’t get much better than this for bug toys. In this value pack, you receive 43 different bug toys, with a guarantee of no duplicates. You’ll get all the favorites, including grasshoppers, butterflies, and spiders. Oddly enough, this pack also includes some bats, lizards, and snakes, but I’ll let that slide. 

Detail-wise, these things are pretty intricate for little plastic insects. They are great for educational purposes because of it. However, the sizes leave something to be desired since they aren’t exactly proportional. 

What’s wrong with the sizes? Well, if you glance at the included photo, you’ll notice that, for some reason, the ant is double the size of the frog or lizard. For educational exercises, it’s probably best to keep such discrepancies separate.

These little insects are great for just normal playtime. I’d recommend using some in a fun exploratory sensory bin. Oh, and if you’re planning on throwing an insect-themed party for your future entomologist? Grab a pack of these and you have the party favors all set.

PROS

  • Realistic bug toys
  • Make easy party favors

CONS

  • Not size-proportionate

Hexbug Spider

Hexbug Spider, Random Color
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The Hexbug Spider is about to be your child’s first robot!

When I was growing up, remote-controlled cars were must-have toys, especially for the boys. Well, these days, those are out. On the other hand, remote-controlled robots are topping the toy charts now.

It’s a good idea to introduce your child to the concept of robotics. These helpful machines are only going to become more prevalent as he or she grows up. Years from now, your child could become a programmer thanks to you exposing them to robots so early!

STEM concepts are on full display with this robot. As it moves, your child can observe the internal mechanisms churning, including the LED eye and the infrared remote control sensors.

All that aside, this Hexbug is really cool to play around with. The Hexbug is simple to use, as it is controlled by the two toggle switches on the included remote control. Your child sends the robot forward, backward, right, or left by the press of a button.

The Hexbug moves just like an arachnid, clicking along on its spidery legs. In fact, watching it move for the first time gave me a slight chill at how spider-like it was! 

You’ll be thrilled with the durability of this tiny robot. Customers proudly report that their kids are still playing with their Hexbug spider a year or two after the purchase date! Clearly, this robotic bug can take a tumble or two. 

PROS

  • Introduces children to STEM concepts and robotics
  • Simple to use

CONS

  • Color selection is random

Wild Republic Bug Toys Polybag

Wild Republic Insect Polybag, Kids Gifts, Educational Toy, Party Favors, 10 Pieces
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The Wild Republic Insect Polybag is a pack of surprisingly large and detailed bug toys.

First, these bugs are not small by any means. Upon receipts, many customers find themselves shocked at just how large these bugs were. Each insect is about the size of an adult’s hand! Still, this larger size makes it easier for little hands to play.

Second, the detail on these toy bugs is far better than most would expect. Because of this, these bugs are handy tools for lessons and educational opportunities. If you are homeschooling, get yourself this valuable bag of bugs. For instance, take the beetle. With the large details, you can point out parts for your children, like the mandibles, antennae, and the pronotum.

For educational purposes, it’d be ideal if this pack included a guide book or identification pamphlet. Unfortunately, it does not, but at least we live in a world where the internet exists so Google can become the teacher for the day!

Third and lastly, these bugs are just plain fun! Your child will entertain themselves by hopping grasshoppers around the room or flying butterflies in the air. Feel free to join in!

PROS

  • Large and detailed bug toys
  • Includes 10 insects

CONS

  • A tad pricey for what you get

Creativity for Kids Make Your Own Firefly Light Craft Kit

Creativity for Kids Make Your Own Firefly Light Craft Kit - Build a Play and Pretend Shrink Fun Indoor Lightning Bug Jar, Multi
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The Creativity for Kids Make Your Own Firefly Light Craft Kid is an all-inclusive craft kit that is perfect for killing an afternoon.

Since current events have us staying home more, I strived to incorporate more crafting in our days. Pinterest was full of adorable ideas and I dove in headfirst. It was all fun and games until the cost of the materials started to add up. Yikes.

Crafting kits like these are a one-and-done kind of deal. It isn’t just a cute idea and then you have to buy $50 worth of materials. Everything you need for this project is included in the box. Specifically, you get a jar, firefly string lights, shrink film fireflies, faux grass, and stickers. Even the colored pencils and a pencil sharpener are included!

Shrink film needs to go into the oven to shrink. This means, after your kids have colored them, you’ll have to work the oven for them. Still, the rest of the project is pretty self-explanatory, so you can use the opportunity to drink your coffee.

The only foreseeable problem is that the kit only creates one firefly light. While multiple kids can color the lightning bugs and put together the lamp, only one can have the light in their room. You may need to negotiate a custody agreement or buy more than one kit. 

PROS

  • All necessary materials included
  • Encourages creativity
  • Creates a usable lamp

CONS

  • Only makes one light and might be an issue with multiple children

Best Bug Toys for Toddlers

Coogam Wooden Bee to Hive Matching Game

Coogam Toddler Fine Motor Skill Toy, Clamp Bee to Hive Matching Game, Montessori Wooden Color Sorting Puzzle, Early Learning Preschool Educational Gift Toy for 3 4 5 Years Old Kids
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The Coogam Wooden Bee to Hive Matching Game is a fun way to bug out and develop those fine motor skills!

If you are the mother of a toddler like me, you’re probably interested in toys and games that focus on developing things like fine motor skills. My son isn’t exactly killing it in that category just yet.

That’s why I liked this buggy little game. It’s a game with layers. While my toddler and I play with it, he develops stronger fine motor skills and we can also review colors and matching.

The board is a small wooden box with color-designated honeycombs. The objective is for your child to pick up the bees either by the body or wings by using the included plastic tweezers. It’s a bit like a reverse game of Operation!

By the way, this adorable little bee game makes a perfect gift for the next toddler’s birthday party on your calendar! We’ve got more ideas, too, so you can be sure to grab that 3-year-old boy or 3-year-old girl a killer gift. 

PROS

  • Develops fine motor skills
  • Teaches colors and sorting
  • Giftable

CONS

  • Bees are a choking hazard for children under 3 years old

Folkmanis Mini Roly Poly Finger Puppet

Folkmanis Mini Roly Poly Finger Puppet, Gray
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The Folkmanis Mini Roly Poly Bug Toy is an adorable plush rendition of a bug we all know.

You might be surprised to see a Roly-Poly bug on this list. While we all can recognize these clever little bugs, they aren’t one of the ones that come to mind first. Spiders and ants probably have that honor.

Even so, don’t we all secretly kind of like Roly-Poly bugs? Whether you call them Roly-Poly bugs, potato bugs, or pillbugs, they’re the same tiny little isopod. They can easily beat out ladybugs for the world’s cutest insects.

If you don’t find yourself in agreement on the point, maybe you’ll change your mind after seeing this insect finger puppet. What better way to teach your young child about insects than with a cute finger puppet?

With this finger puppet, you can create and animate an entire world for your child. Name your little Roly-Poly bug and describe his day to your kid. “You can find me rummaging around dead plant matter but only at night. I don’t bite or sting, but if I get startled, I curl up into a ball!”

Folkmannis is a company known for its high-quality and beautiful animal puppets. Thanks to the craftsmanship and attention to detail, these puppets can delight your children for years!

PROS

  • Finger puppet makes learning interactive
  • Made of high-quality materials

CONS

  • Doesn’t include any informational guides about the creature

Educational Insights Bright Basics Peg Garden

Educational Insights Bright Basics Peg Garden, Stacking, Matching, Fine Motor Skills, Toddler Toys, Ages 2+
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The Educational Insights Bright Basics Peg Garden is a whimsical little garden toy that will help your child grow.

Educational Insights is a company that aims to take toys with traditional aspects and give them educational twists. For example, this peg garden appears to be a simple staking activity, but it’s so much more than that.

Most significantly, this whimsical peg garden gives your little one practice using his or her fine motor skills. To accurately place the pegs into the board and then the bugs into the flower pegs, children have to have control of those motor skills. This toy helps strengthen the fine motor skills used during writing specifically.

Still, it’s more than learning to steady hands. Your child can sort these flower pegs and bugs and create their own patterns. Maybe they line up alternating yellow and pink flowers or every third flower gets a bee. Believe it or not, this is setting the foundation for mathematical concepts!

On the contrary, it isn’t all about learning. After all, there is so much value in imaginative play! With an entire tiny garden at their disposal, your child can weave an entire world and immerse themselves in it! While they play, ask your child to tell you a story about the insects in the garden to encourage them.

PROS

  • Develops fine motor skills
  • Introduces mathematical concepts
  • Encourages imaginative play

CONS

  • Underwhelming for older kids

Melissa and Doug Bug-Catching Magnetic Puzzle Game

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wooden Bug-Catching Puzzle Game (10 pcs)
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The Melissa and Doug Bug-Catching Magnetic Puzzle Game is a little bit of creative bug-catching, minus the real bugs.

Melissa and Doug, again! This time, they’re hitting the list with a wooden puzzle with a twist. Each of the ten puzzle pieces on this board is magnetic and can be “caught” with the included magnetic bug net!

The puzzle itself is adorable. The sweet little illustrations of insects include a butterfly, a bee, a dragonfly, and more. Of course, the puzzle can be used as just a puzzle while your child is younger if you’d like.

Later, when your child is working on their developing motor skills, bring out the little bug net. Your child will dangle the net and “catch” each of the ten bugs. It’s not as easy as it sounds!

An activity like this is a creative way to strengthen eye-hand coordination and develop fine motor skills. Plus, it’s a great way to kill some time, since it’s quick and easy to return the pieces to the board and do it all over again!

Additionally, you can use this puzzle board to introduce your child to the insects included. You can point out the caterpillar and explain how it later will become a butterfly. Likewise, bring your child’s attention to the spider’s web and explain how it uses it to trap its prey!

PROS

  • Develops eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills
  • Bright and cheery insect illustrations

CONS

  • No guide images under puzzle pieces

Best Educational Insect Toys

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Real Bug Dig Kit

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Real Bug Dig Kit - Dig up 3 Real Insects including Spider, Fortune Beetle and Scorpion - Great STEM Science gift
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The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Real Bug Dig Kit is a cool educational kit where your kid gets to dig up their own bugs!

These are genuine bug specimens. If you’re like me, you assumed that means they were just very realistic. No, these are 100% real bugs encased in resin. They are deceased, of course, so you’ll have to squash your child’s hopes of having a pet beetle at the end of this. 

If the idea of real insects makes you a bit squeamish, National Geographic does assure customers that their specimens are ethically sourced. So, there’s that!

The kit includes one digging brick with three insect specimens inside, digging tools, and a guidebook. After digging up their bugs, your child can learn all about different insects in the full-color guidebook. 

Homeschoolers find this is a great addition to the science curriculum, but every family can have fun with and benefit from this dig kit. Besides, it has been a rough year in terms of surprise homeschooling, so maybe you should a grab kit just in case.

Surprisingly, many customer reviews included complaints that the kit’s insects were too small. To them, I have one question: how big do you think bugs are? I suppose I offer this as a warning to tamper with your expectations: the bugs are bug-sized. 

PROS

  • Includes 3 real insect specimens
  • Hands-on educational toy

CONS

  • Customer complaints of specimens being too small

Learning Resources Backyard Bugs Counters

Learning Resources Backyard Bugs Counters, Educational Counting and Sorting Toy, Set of 72
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The Learning Resources Backyard Bugs Counters are a colorful way to teach math concepts!

If your toddler is anything like mine, then he or she spends half the day counting. My son will count anything and everything. He’ll count his toys, his toes, and even how many mommies are in the room (one, in case you were curious, minus any ghosts).

Counters like these backyard bugs are a great way to funnel that counting passion into a tangible activity. Teachers love using counters for elementary math lessons because it gives a visualization of concepts like addition and subtraction.

If you want to channel your inner math teacher, set up a lesson with these colorful bug counters. For beginners, ask them to count a certain group of the bugs or ask them to count out a specific number of counters.

If your child is old enough, try introducing addition and subtraction. For example, place two dragonflies on the table, then add a caterpillar. Then, ask your child how many bugs are there in total. Conversely, you pull out 3 spiders and then take away and ask your child how many remain.

In this tub, you’ll receive 72 counters in either yellow, red, orange, green, blue, or purple. These colors make it a great sorting activity as well, for toddlers learning the different colors.

The bugs are made a soft rubber and not hard plastic. They are easy to clean and sanitize though, which is especially important nowadays.

PROS

  • Teaches math concepts
  • Detailed and colorful counters
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • Not ideal for teaching specifics about different insects

Skoolzy Rainbow Butterfly Counting and Sorting Game

Skoolzy Butterfly Educational Toys for Toddlers - Color Sorting Toys, Counting Toddler Learning Activities & Math Games for Kindergarten - Montessori Preschool - Ages 2 3 4 5 Year Old - 75 pcs
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The Skoolzy Rainbow Butterfly Counting and Sorting Game is an interactive and educational game starring colorful butterflies.

While observing bugs out in nature has its host of benefits, it doesn’t hit on the more basic skills like numbers and colors.  As moms, we want our toys to pull double-duty. They need to be fun and educational. 

Sorting is often used as a developmental benchmark. 2-year-olds should understand the concept of sorting. Moving forward, 4-year-olds should be able to identify colors and sort by them. If your child is somewhere between the two ages, or you’d like to help your 4-year-old master sorting, this delightfully simple game is for you.

With this award-winning game, younger preschoolers will start out sorting by color. For example, they will sort all the pink butterflies into the pink petal. If they are still fine-tuning those fine motor skills, they can use the included tongs to pick up and move the butterfly pieces.

As their cognitive abilities grow, they can try some counting activities. You can set up the number labels and ask your child to place the corresponding number of butterflies inside. Even later on, you can work with them on patterns and sequencing with the shapes of the butterflies themselves (there are 8 different butterfly shapes)!

Once the play is done, this game comes with a backpack for no-hassle storage and travel. I like how the backpack is just made of clear plastic, making it simple and easy to clean.

PROS

  • Great practice for concepts like colors and counting
  • Includes a backpack for travel and storage

CONS

  • Customer complaints of butterfly bodies detaching from wings

Best Kids Bug Catchers

Nature Bound Bug Hunter Set

Nature Bound NB508 Bug Catcher Vacuum with Light Up Critter Habitat Case for Backyard Exploration - Complete kit for Kids
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The Nature Bound Bug Hunter Set is some next-level bug catching!

If you aren’t ready to buy this set because of the bug vacuum alone, we might be very different people. Oh yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a small handheld vacuum that harmlessly sucks up the bug into a special chamber, meaning a touch-free bug capture!

Once your child has a bug in the vacuum’s chamber, they can twist it off and attach it to the top of the bug case. With the little lever on the side, the bottom panel of the chamber opens up and allows the insect to enter the bughouse. Again, all this without anyone actually touching the bug itself.

Did I mention that the bug vacuum also has an LED light? This means your child can bug hunt day or night. I’d think this would come in handy for catching some lightning bugs.

The habitat or “critter barn” also has a light to allow for easy bug viewing. Surprisingly, this habitat can also double as an aquarium if your child suddenly outgrows insects and moves on to fish! It can also accommodate frogs or small rodents.

This handy little bug-catching kit carries recommendations and seals of approval from the Parents’ Choice Foundation and The National Parenting Center.

PROS

  • Includes special bug vacuum
  • Vacuum and habitat include lights

CONS

  • Pricey

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars: Kids Outdoor Toys, Bug Container To Catch & Observe, Outdoor Play For Ages 3+
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The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars lets kids get up close and personal with insects!

This simple bug habitat from Educational Insights is a combination of a magnifying glass, a pair of binoculars, and a bug habitat. It’s all an amateur bug catcher truly needs!

This bug jar was created with hopes of fostering a lifelong love of learning in your child. To start, your child utilizes their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. When they step into the backyard, the gears in their brain start turning as they consider the best spots to examine for insects.

Once that perfect bug is acquired and placed in the jar next to some foliage and dirt, your child will excitedly place their face to the padded eyecups of the lid and will be rewarded with 3x magnification. On the side, there are two 2x lenses.

This mighty little bug jar does contain air holes, so your child’s new bug buddies will be safe and healthy inside. Conversely, despite the air holes, this jar is also water-tight (how I cannot understand) and can also make a nice home for tadpoles or even fish.

PROS

  • Combination of bug habitat, binoculars, and magnifying glass
  • Encourages outdoor exploration
  • Easy-to-carry handle

CONS

  • Doesn’t include any bug-catching tools

Nature Bound Pop-Up Critter Catcher

Nature Bound NB528 Pop Up Critter Catcher Habitat Kit with Carabiner Clip & Zipper Lid, One Size, Green
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The Nature Bound Pop-Up Critter Catcher is a handy and convenient bug-housing system!

While this bug cage looks very similar to a laundry hamper, it’s for housing insects and definitely not dirty laundry. Actually, the pop-up design of this bughouse makes it incredibly convenient. When not in use, it flattens and is easy to stash away. This space-saving tactic makes it great for travel as well.

While this critter catcher is up to housing just about any critter, it especially shines with flying insects, particularly butterflies. The airy mesh and vertical height make it a great container for observing butterflies up close. On the other hand, it’s probably not great at keeping little insects in, like ants.

The mesh habitat includes a carabiner clip, making it a snap to attach the critter catcher to a belt loop or backpack. Your child will have it always at the ready when a perfect bug makes its appearance!

I feel it is important to point out that this listing is only for the critter catcher. There are no included bug-catching tools, so that might mean another purchase. The Nature Bound brand does sell such kits, including the one with the bug vacuum, found several entries above.

PROS

  • Mesh bug house ideal for butterflies and other flying insects
  • Folds flat for easy travel and storage
  • Has carabiner clip for attaching cage to belt loops or bags

CONS

  • Doesn’t include any bug-catching tools

SmartLab Toys Bug Playground

SmartLab Toys Bug Playground
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The SmartLab Toys Bug Playground is a new twist on the classic bug cage!

This quirky toy is a mashup of an ant farm and a bug-catching kit. Though, instead of ants, this bug playground is open for all types!

Using the included bug-catching tool, your child will inspect your backyard for his specimens. With any luck, he’ll find a varied group of buggy playmates. Once captured, these bugs will then be introduced to the bug playground.

You can consider this a Six Flags for insects. Inside the bug cage, there is a slide, a jungle gym, and even a pool. Your kids will have a front-seat view of a tiny bug party!

Of course, the amount of entertainment your child gets from this insect playground depends on the captured bugs. You hope you’ve caught a bug or two that is itching to go down a slide, but you may end up with one that’s simply content to sit in the corner. If your child finds himself with some “boring” bugs, there’s always more to find outside!

Your kids will love this playground because it’s the right mixture of silly and fascination. On the other hand, you’ll love it because it encourages an interest in nature and being outdoors. Plus, it can definitely kill an afternoon or two!

PROS

  • Fun bug playground cage
  • Includes bug-catching tool

CONS

  • Smaller than expected

Kidz Xplore Outdoor Explorer Set

Kidz Xplore Outdoor Explorer Set - Bug Catching Kit Nature Exploration Children Outdoor Games Mini Binoculars Kids, Compass, Whistle, Magnifying Glass, Adventure, Hunting, Hiking Educational Toy
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The Kidz Xplore Outdoor Explorer Set is a fun excuse to get outside!

Screentime is so tempting. I know firsthand that it’s an easy solution for some peace and quiet. Still, we all know our kids have too much screen time. Why not buy a bug-catching kit and get your kid outside?

With this kit, your child won’t need anything else to start observing some creepy crawlies. While this kit includes 10 pretend bugs, this kit is more than equipped to handle the real thing.

If your kid is new to capturing bugs and maybe a little wary, this kit includes a couple of touch-free options. There is a pair of tweezers for delicately lifting insects and a bug net for swiping at flying bugs. Your kid will probably prefer the transfer capsule, which has a plastic ball at the end for capturing and relocating bugs to the habitat.

With the bug habitat or other two included containers acting as a barrier, your child can observe their new bug friend through a magnifying lens. Of course, if your child needs some practice first, the kit includes a set of colorful plastic insect toys.

If your a family of campers, bring this kit on your next trip! Everything will fit snugly in the included backpack. The kit also includes binoculars (bird-watching, anyone?), a whistle, and a compass.

PROS

  • Includes 20 tools for nature exploration
  • Encourages outdoor play

CONS

  • Pricey

Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool

Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier for Children and Adults
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The Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool is an easy and humane way to catch insects!

This quick-release bug catching tool is so simple, it is genius. When your child finds a bug, they use a small plastic case to trap it. Once the bug is inside, they use the thumb tracking slider to close the bottom of the case, leaving the bug inside. Honestly, I’m a little mad I didn’t think of this myself.

On top of the clear box, there is a 5-times acrylic magnifying lens. This makes it easy to check out all the fine details of the insect. Plus, your child can check out the critter from three other angles as well.

Once your child is done, releasing the bug is simply a matter of pulling back the thumb tracking slider and letting the bug walk away. It’s humane, touch-free, and easy to use!

If your child has a bug habitat they want to transfer the insect into, it is the same simple process. This product does not include any additional bug-catching tools or a habitat, however.

This bug catcher only needs one hand to operate and requires no batteries. While it’s not pocket-sized, it’s still easy to carry around and can slip into larger pockets.

PROS

  • Easy-to-use
  • Lightweight
  • Includes an acrylic magnifying lens

CONS

  • Difficult for younger children to handle

Melissa & Doug Giddy Buggy Bug House

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Bug House Toy With Carrying Handle and Easy-Access Door
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The Melissa & Doug Giddy Buggy Bug House is a bright and cheerful bughouse!

As I add this little bug house to my Amazon cart, I start to wonder if I would buy anything if it was stamped with the Melissa & Doug name. I honestly think I might. Luckily for me, this brand always places an emphasis on educational and screen-free play, such as this bright and cheery bughouse.

The cage is made of a sturdy wire mesh that also keeps the house lightweight and easy to carry. Once your children have captured their insect specimens, they can safely observe the bugs through the wire mesh. 

On the side, you’ll find the bright and cheerful face of the Giddy Bug. This is actually a push-aside door. It’s so easy to open and close so it won’t frustrate even the younger kids.

This sweet little bughouse doesn’t include any bug-catching tools, so this isn’t ideal for kids who are too squeamish to touch an insect themselves. On the other hand, though, Melissa and Doug sell an entire range of Giddy Bug merchandise if you want other toys to coordinate with this bughouse! The Giddy Bug line does include a bug-catching net (sold separately).

This bughouse is smaller than some customers expected. This product measures 3.5″ x 5.5″ x 7.5″. At this size, it may be best suited to smaller hands.

PROS

  • Bright and cheery bughouse
  • Easy-to-use push-aside door
  • Sturdy construction

CONS

  • Doesn’t include bug-catching tools

Best Bugs Games

Ravensburger Bugs in the Kitchen 

Bugs in the Kitchen - Children's Board Game, Standard
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If your child loves bugs and boardgames, they need the Bugs in the Kitchen.

It’s a fun way to share his love of bugs with friends as they race to chase a Hexbug around a toy kitchen. 

The objective of this action game is to create a path, trap the bug, and then catch the bug. Not only is the game a ton of fun but it also plays quickly and it’s perfect for playdates. Play over and over again with tons of different ways to reset up the board. Also, it only takes about 15 minutes to play for 2-4 players.

This game is recommended for ages 6 years and older. It contains one Hexbug Nano, 3D board game, 18 bug tokens, 1 die, 4 trap doors, and instructions

PROS

  • Great for keeping groups of kids entertained
  • Simple instructions and objective

CONS

  • Probably too easy for older children to enjoy playing

Peaceable Kingdom Snug as a Bug in a Rug Game

Peaceable Kingdom Snug as a Bug in a Rug Award Winning Preschool Skills Builder Game for Kids
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The Peaceable Kingdom Snug as a Bug in a Rug Game is a fun game that teaches concepts like cooperation, counting, colors, and shapes!

This adorable board game is a cooperative game, meaning that the players aren’t competing against one another but are working towards a common goal. To this, I say “bravo!” because no mom needs another night of arguing due to a board game.

The objective is to get all the “good” bugs under the rug safely before the three stinkbugs are released and they unleash their nefarious odor. Before starting, a dice roll dictates what type of game will be played. Will you be working with shapes or colors or even eye size?

During each turn, players spin the wheel on the board to find out what bug they’ll be looking for. For example, if the spinner lands on the yellow space during a color round, then the player has to find a yellow bug and sneak it under the rug (board).

As children grow, the game grows with them. They can start playing with more complicated rules. Instead of just trying to find a yellow bug, they’ll have to find a bug that yellow, has two shapes on its back, and has large eyes. This keeps the game interesting even after multiple plays!

This game is recommended for ages 3 years and older. The game takes about 15 minutes to complete and can be played with 2 to 4 players.

PROS

  • Teaches concepts like colors, shapes, and counting
  • Game is cooperative, not competitive 
  • The game grows with your child

CONS

  • Customer complaints of spinner wheel sticking

Best Bugs Books

The Backyard Bug Book for Kids

The Backyard Bug Book for Kids: Storybook, Insect Facts, and Activities (Let's Learn About Bugs and Animals)
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The Backyard Bug Book for Kids is an adorable book that teaches readers all about their favorite creepy crawlies.

Did you know that caterpillars hatch from their eggs, they turn the shell into their first snack? I certainly didn’t, but this book taught me so. Am I better off knowing that fact? I’m not sure, dear readers.

While I now look at caterpillars differently, my son and I did enjoy learning more about ladybugs, dragonflies, and even spiders. This book doesn’t rely on childish artwork. Instead, its fun facts are accompanied by actual high-resolution photographs. 

Plus, this is reputable information. This book is written by Lauren Davidson, a real entomologist. Still, she prefers the title “Bug Nerd.” Basically, she knows what she is talking about!

The first half of the book is jam-packed with full-color photos and fascinating bug knowledge. The second half of the book is a cute little workbook of bug-related activities. These pages include counting spots on ladybugs, weaving through a spider’s web maze, and matching games of photographs and its corresponding stage of the butterfly life cycle.

This book is best suited for younger readers aged 3 to 5 years old, but I’ll be honest, I found it charming and fun to read as a grown adult. The age recommendation is mostly due to the workbook though. Because of these pages, it isn’t really appropriate for anyone younger than 3 years old.

PROS

  • Written by a real entomologist
  • Includes workbook pages and photographs

CONS

  • Short book

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies

Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy-Crawlies
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The Bugs: A Stunning Pop-up Look book is the most informative and beautiful guide on books you’ll find!

If your little bug catcher is about to embark on a hunt, they better be educated on their targets! Of all the educational insect books, this one, in particular, is heads above the rest. The illustrations are gorgeous and detailed while the written content leaves nothing out while remaining interesting.

Through larger-than-life pop-ups, your child will learn everything they ever wanted to know about practically every insect. The content is easy to digest and leaves your child with fun trivia. Did you know a bombardier beetle shoots a burning hot chemical at enemies? Brutal.

While children of every age can delight in fun pop-ups, this book’s pages and its 3D features are more delicate than the average kiddie’s board book. I wouldn’t leave a young one unattended with this book unless you want to come back to a torn beetle page!

PROS

  • Chockful of fascination insect information
  • Beautiful and intricately detailed illustrations

CONS

  • Pop-up features are delicate

Comparing the Best Bug Toys

Buying Criteria

Purpose

Before buying a bug toy, consider what you hope your child will gain from it. Are you looking for a hands-on kit that gets your kid outdoors, catching bugs? Maybe you’re just looking for an educational activity for a rainy day. 

There’s no wrong reason for buying a bug toy. Even so, not every bug toy fits every purpose. For instance, the board games (i.e. Ryan’s World Springin’ Spiders game) included on this list make for awesome family game nights, but won’t teach your child much about insects. 

Likewise, if you’re looking to entertain a small group of children at a playdate, the National Geographic dig kit doesn’t accommodate more than one child. It’s an incredibly educational tool, but not very useful in a group setting.

Child’s Age

As with any toy, your child’s age determines how appropriate a toy is for them. The recommended manufacturer’s age ranges give you the best idea of what kind of skills are necessary for a toy.

The sweet little peg garden activity is perfect for entertaining toddlers. Meanwhile, it will bore a 9-year-old to tears. Likewise, your toddler will only be left frustrated by the firefly lamp craft kit.

Before purchasing any bug toy, check the recommended age range and you’ll be good to go!

Durability

As your kid grows, you probably hope at least some of his or her toys will grow with them. Bug-catching is a fun activity for younger kids and older ones too. Understandably, you’ll hope to find a bug-catching kit that lasts. 

For longevity’s sake, this list only contains products we have found can hold up to the rough treatment of children. When it doubt, go with durability!

FAQs – Bug Toys

Why do kids like bugs?

Excellent question. Studies have shown that we are born with an instinctual fear of spiders, but other bugs don’t seem to have the same effect. It certainly hasn’t stopped children the world over from grabbing earthworms or chasing after butterflies.

Children are natural-born explorers. They want to interact with nature. After all, just recently, I watched my toddler run after deer to play with them.

Thanks to their tiny size and mostly harmless nature, insects are an accessible piece of nature for children. They can touch them and observe them. Learning about insects makes children consider their place in the larger ecosystem, making kids part of something bigger than themselves.

Plus, some bugs are just really cool to watch. Hello, ant farms!

What are the benefits of playing with bug toys?

The biggest benefit of bug toys, in my humble opinion, is that they teach children to not fear insects. Entomophobia, or the fear of insects, is a very real problem for many adults. If the fear is bad enough, a phobic can find themselves avoiding situations with a possibility of bugs, like outdoor gatherings.

Early and regular contact with insects help foster a healthy relationship with insects. Be sure to further educate your child on the beneficial nature of insects. For example, spiders catch and eat household pests for us!

Additionally, studying insects is a STEM activity. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Insects, of course, fall under the science category.

STEM toys are important because they make learning fun, especially in subjects that people tend to lose interest in as they grow. As a parent, you should want to encourage any scientific interest!

Why though? STEM, and science specifically, help develop critical thinking skills and promote spatial skills. Plus, they still encourage imaginative play and creativity!

Are there benefits for parents? Absolutely. Here’s the best one: your kid probably wants a pet, right? If aren’t ready to commit to a dog, tell your kid to take their bug catching kit and capture their own pet from the backyard. You may end up with a caged spider in your house but just be sure to tell your child to make sure that the door stays closed!

Is bug-catching with bug toys dangerous?

In general, no. After all, most parents can share a tale of their kids eating a bug and surviving. Holding most bugs in their hands won’t hurt children.

Are their exceptions to this though? There are always exceptions! The most obvious being bees or wasps. For most, the worse outcome with an encounter with a bee is a small sting, but some kids do have extreme allergic reactions to bees.

If your child wants to catch an ant or two, make sure they’re sticking to black ones. Just like with stoplights, when it comes to ants red means “stop.” Fire ants are known for their painful bites.

Likewise, caterpillars are usually docile insects. Still, some do have spines or hairs that can cause a rash. If your child finds one of those caterpillars and experiences irritation, place a piece of tape on the affected area to lift out the spines.

Wrap Up

While every toy on this list has its own merits in terms of bugging out, the best bug catching kit this year is the Outdoor Explorer Kit & Bug Toys & Catcher Kit.

This bug-catching kit leaves nothing out. It has everything your child needs to get outside and get exploring! They’ll especially love the extras, like the compass and the binoculars. With one kit, your child is ready for any adventure!

Whatever bug toy you decide to go with, be sure to join your child in their explorations. Bug toys are an amazing opportunity to introduce your child to the huge world all around them!


Marissa Phillips

Marissa is just a mom trying to raise a toddler without pulling out her hair. She's a freelance writer who specializes in baby and parenting content. When she's not writing, Marissa is a stay-at-home mom who has been happily married since 2016.



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