What Are The Best Bug Toys? – 2019 Edition
Your child loves nature, and they love creepy crawly bugs. You probably don’t know exactly which aspect of bugs they like, however, which can make it hard finding out what the right toy for your child is.
We know the best buy toys from start to finish. In this article, we’ll explain everything you’d want to know about bug toys so that you can pick the most educational and the most fun bug toy for your aspiring entomologist.
Top 8 Bug Toys Reviewed
Our #1 Choice – Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Bag of Bugs
The Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Bag of Bugs is a simple yet fun group of basic bug toys.
- Ten separate bugs
- Bright and cheerful colors
- Two of each bug
- Not very good for education
The patch bag of bugs is an entry-level bug toy set. There are beetles, ladybugs, ants, centipedes, and crickets. Each of these toys has two variants in different colors. None of the colors are physiologically accurate, but they are cheerful and have silly faces.
For a very young child, these toys are a great introduction to the concept of bugs. The toys are distinctly non-threatening, which means that even skittish children should be able to tolerate them.
Where these toys fall a bit short is in the stimulation of curiosity. There isn’t much to be learned from these little figures, nor is there a huge amount of active play potential. Nonetheless, the youngest children will need to be habituated to bugs before they can play with the higher level bug toys, so this is a good start.
Our #2 Choice – Nature Bound Bug Catcher Habitat Bucket 7 Piece Nature Exploration Set
The Nature Bound Bug Catcher Habitat Bucket 7 Piece Nature Exploration Set is an excellent bug toy because it will give your child the tools they need to become an expert bug hunter.
- Complete bug hunting kit for young children
- Contains helpful guide book for identifying and catching bugs
- Multiple specimen storage modalities
- Bug book is of limited educational value
This is the prototypical bug hunting kit. Your child will get a bug guide book, a bucket to store bugs, four different sample containers, a net, magnifying glass, forceps, a pipette, and a specimen transfer scoop.
You won’t need to set your child up with any other bug hunting tools once they have this kit. There is another useful feature of the kit: there is not very much play value to the kit if your child opts to avoid catching and examining bugs.
This may seem like a drawback, but in reality, it will encourage your child to engage with the natural world. When your child catches a bug with this kit, they can look it up in the guide book, store it for safekeeping, and maybe put it on display for later.
The tools in this kit are of decent quality, but they won’t last forever. If your child is overly aggressive with tools like the forceps, they may be asking for a replacement or an upgrade.
Our #3 Choice – Fun Express Insect Finger Puppets 12ct Toy
The Fun Express Insect Finger Puppets 12ct Toy is a basic but effective set of bug toys which has a lot of variety.
- Realistic coloration
- Fun finger puppets
- Lots of variety
- Not very educational
These bug action figures represent nearly all of the bugs your child will come into contact with. The set contains ladybugs, moths, bumblebees, dragonflies, crickets, butterflies, and more. Each of the bugs has several different colors.
The bugs in the kit are of somewhat realistic coloration. This makes them a good preface to your child entering the wild to hunt bugs alone.
The main drawback to this set is that there are not any educational materials provided. While the finger puppet functionality of the set is fun, it isn’t exactly helpful at explaining to your child where to find bugs or how those bugs live.
Our #4 Choice – Geoworld Bug’s World Collection of 10 Real Insects
The Geoworld Bug’s World Collection of 10 Real Insects is a serious display set for children who have shown a predilection for bug hunting.
- Four real bugs encased in plastic
- Magnifying glass provides a close-up view of the bugs
- Great for children already engaged with learning more about bugs
- Bugs are not those that are likely to be in your yard
The most notable feature of this set is that these bugs are real. If your child is disgusted by bugs, they will be very unhappy with this set. Otherwise, they will probably enjoy gawking at the encased creatures.
With the help of the accompanying magnifying glass, your child can closely inspect each of the four bugs. Importantly, they are most likely not going to find these bugs anywhere else. This means that the bugs are museum pieces rather than instructive examples of bugs to catch.
These encased bugs are great for learning about bug morphology, but you’ll have to supply the majority of the learning materials. For all the merits of this set, there are no accompanying educational pamphlets beyond the bare basics.
Our #5 Choice – Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever
The Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever is the best companion to your child’s bug education that you could ever ask for.
- Comprehensive bug guide
- Beautiful full-size pictures
- Many bug catching tips
- Child will need an active play companion to the book
Thanks to the comprehensive nature of this book’s account of bugs, it’s the premiere bug guide for children with a passion for bugs. This book contains information regarding bug habitats, bug aesthetics, bug catching, and bug examination.
Your child may need a nudge to engage deeply with the material on account of its somewhat dense nature. You should probably make sure that your child has an active play toy ready for when they want to apply the information that they have learned.
If your child does not want to apply the information that they have learned in this encyclopedia, they can still look at all of the high definition pictures of bugs. The images are beautiful, and your child will appreciate the effort that went into taking the photographs after they have spent some time trying to capture bugs.
Our #6 Choice – Wild Republic Insect Polybag
For the insect lover who won’t be appeased by anything less than a full set of arthropods, this Wild Republic Insect Polybag has everything that is necessary.
- 10 different insects
- Durable plastic construction
- Mixture of realistic and non-realistic colorations
- No educational materials included
With this set of insect toys, your child will get a butterfly, several beetles, a larger-than-life fly, and a grasshopper, all in the same bag. They’ll love to play with each of the animals individually or in groups with their friends.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any informational or educational materials included with this set. So, you will need to educate your child on the insect world on your own time with the help of outside resources.
Our #7 Choice – Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier for Children and Adults
Bug lovers enjoy ogling the bugs in the yard — and with this BugView magnifier, they’ll be able to catch and closely examine bugs with great efficiency.
- Perfect for catch-and-release in the yard
- Great for peeping on tough-to-find bugs
- Grown-up design makes it appropriate for older kids
- Requires getting close to living bugs
The premise behind this toy is simple: your child can use it to safely trap and examine bugs without having to physically touch them with their fingers, which can be an impediment to some children’s learning experiences and bug-related play.
But, for children who have a bug phobia, this toy probably won’t bridge the gap because it will simply make the bugs look even larger than life.
Our #8 Choice – Backyard Exploration Critter Case
When your child wants to catch a bug, sometimes it can be handy to keep the bug around to observe its behavior for an extended period of time, which is where this Backyard Exploration Critter Case comes in handy.
- Large and safe habitat for observing bugs
- Great for holding several bugs in one spot
- No sharp edges for safe carrying
- Heavy for small children
- Small bugs might be able to escape through holes
When your child catches a bug, they probably want to show it to you. But, they probably also want to hang onto the bug for later. This toy shines because it gives your child the opportunity to keep bugs for extended examination in a safe and stable environment.
Unfortunately, they’ll have to be strong enough to carry the bug cage around. The cage’s heavy-duty construction is a bit overbuilt for its intended purpose, so it is heavier than it should be.
What To Look For In Bug Toys
Bug toys are very complex. Not all children want similar things from their bug toys. Some would prefer the ability to catch bugs whereas others would prefer to simply learn about them from afar. The kind of bug toy that your child want will fall into one of three categories.
The first category is educational bug toys. These bug toys are predominantly concerned with teaching your children about bugs rather than being toys in a traditional sense. These bug toys often have informational pamphlets and instructive diagrams.
If your child wants to play actively with these toys, they can do that too. They will most likely need to fetch the bugs that they have been observing on the page, however.
Catching bugs requires going outside and forgoing the potential for imaginative play to focus on what is real. Nonetheless, there are also a few ways for your child to play with other bug toys which are more imaginative.
These bug toys may be bug action figures or bug plushes. Because of the disconnect between those bug toys and the more educational bug toys, they may be of vastly different quality and focus on vastly different traits.
No matter which kind of bug toy your child prefers, you should know that the main feature you are looking for is compatibility with your child’s play environment. In other words, if you live in an area where it is typically difficult to go outside, you will need to look for a bug toy which lets your child play inside.
On the flip side, if your area has a lot of good weather, getting a bug toy that lets your child go outside will be preferable. The point is to avoid getting your child a bug toy which they will not be able to use for lack of the correct environment.
Use your best judgment, and remember that if you send your child out to catch bugs they may end up bringing them into the house.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Skills Will My Child Learn From Bug Toys?
Bug toys teach your child about the natural world. To play with bug toys, your child must at least somewhat place themselves in the shoes of an entomologist. This roleplaying is only minorly imaginative, however: your child really will be performing the work of a scientist if they have a penchant for curiosity.
While it would be a stretch to say that bug toys help your child to learn the scientific process, the best bug toys may well provide your child with a leg up on the pile when it comes to getting ahead of their scientific training.
Bug toys will encourage your child to ask questions about the bugs in the world, take observations, and then see how their observations compare to other settled pieces of information on the topic.
More imaginative bug toys will also help your child to envision possibilities for future safaris to catch bugs. This will stimulate their realism and critical thinking along the lines of a real scientist.
On a simpler note, your child will also learn the basics of being outdoors from their bug toys. For younger children, first hand unfiltered experience of nature is hard to beat. You shouldn’t be surprised if your children are a bit more independent after they have had time to run around and play with their bug toys.
What Are The Best Bug Toys For Creative Play?
The bug toys that encourage children to start their lines of investigation are the best for creative play. These toys may not present in the same manner as other toys oriented at creative play.
The bug toys which foster creative play will likely have a high-level abstract goal which your child will need to figure out the intermediary steps to accomplish. This could be as simple as catching a certain kind of bug.
The point is that when your child has a goal which is somewhat open ended, they need to fill in the details with regard to implementation as well as define for themselves exactly what success looks like.
The best bug toys for creative play provide your child with breadcrumbs for the first couple of times they are set off into the wild. Afterward, your child is endowed with the curiosity to imagine new possibilities and pursue them alone.
In conclusion, the best bug toys for creative play are those which link your child’s wonder at the natural world to their desire to further their knowledge — a fairly unique approach to creativity as far as toys go.
What Add-Ons Are Best Bug Toys?
The best add-ons for bug toys are those which make it easier for your child to pursue their curiosity without any barriers. Your child may not necessarily know exactly what they need to get the most out of their bug toys, however, so you should not be afraid to be a guiding force.
In particular the best add-ons for bug toys are tools like nets or guide books. Your child will probably already have a net from one of their bug toys, but if they don’t, having one will be very helpful.
Likewise, if your child only has a rudimentary bug guide book, getting them a better book will crank their bug hunting efforts into overtime. Remember, the purpose of the bug toy add-on is to make your child’s bug hunting horizons much larger.
Another useful bug toy add-on might be an article of clothing which allows your child to deal with more hazardous bugs. Children are often afraid of bugs like bees. Providing them with a rudimentary beekeeping veil will help them to study these critical pollinators without being occupied with anxiety.