Fall | Critters: Infants & Toddlers

Slugs & Bugs: Over and Under 

Summary: Bugs are a natural part of our garden. Some live under ground where it is damp and dark, the perfect environment for them to thrive.  Other bugs live above ground on the leaves of plants where they can rest in the nice, warm sun. 

Before Visiting the Garden: 

Gather: Gardening Gloves, Magnifying Glass, Shovel 

Explore: “Capaneus, 2012” by Damien Hirst

Read: 1 2 3 Little Bugs: A Cool Counting Book by Puck 

In the Garden: 

Every garden has critters and it is our job as gardeners to learn which bugs help and which bugs hurt our plants. The first step to managing the bugs in the garden is to learn where they live. Let’s observe the bugs using our magnifying glasses in our garden as we practice opposites—over and under! We are going on a bug hunt. 

Questions to Explore:

Did you see bugs above ground? Can you describe what they look, feel, and move like?

Did any fly over the top of your head while you were exploring? 

When you used your shovel to look under ground, what did you find?

What kinds of bugs live under the soil? What do you see the bugs doing? 


  1. Practice your new vocabulary of “over and under” by helping your tiny gardener jump over and crawl under obstacles. 
  2. Pick your favorite bug from today’s hunt and create a story about that bug’s life, have your tiny gardener act it out. 
  3. Bugs are a part of our everyday life, the more our little people can learn about the bugs around us the less frightened they will be these critters.

Beyond the Garden | Exploring Your Ecosystem:

Bugs are an important part of your neighborhood ecosystem, but there are many other members too. Spend the next few days exploring and identifying other critters in the area. You can create a map with your tiny gardener of the different animals you see. Cut out magazine pictures (or print off pictures) of rabbits and/or other creatures you find in your neighborhood and glue them to a large piece of paper or recycled box to trace and track their routes around your ecosystem.

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials:

Insect identification for kids: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/insects/

Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.