Teach your child a hands-on version of the scientific process by helping her hatch her own Praying Mantises! This is the perfect springtime outdoor activity, which is the natural time when Praying Mantises hatch. She'll learn the foundations of observation and prediction, while watching the Praying Mantis hatch and grow. She may even end up with up to 200 of her very own baby mantises.
Mantis egg case (from an online biological supply company)
Safe spot outdoors for the Mantises to hatch
Pencil, or markers
What You Do:
Show your child a photo of a Mantis laying her eggs.
To help create interest in the process, make up a story that you can share with your child about how a mother Mantis lays her eggs. It should include how she prepared to lay her eggs by squeezing foam from her body onto the branch of a tree. She then squeezes her eggs into the foam. Once the foam hardened, her little eggs were safe and sound from rain, snow and other hungry animals. The babies grew and, finally, they hatched!
Show her the photo of the Mantis again.
While looking at the egg case, ask her when she thinks the babies will hatch. What will they look like? How many does she predict there will be?
Encourage her to draw a picture of what the babies will look like.
Follow the directions that come with the egg case to prepare a eco-friendly environment for the hatching Mantises. Have your child watch as you follow each of the steps.
Consider keeping a daily journal of the process, discussing differences daily.