In our home, we have a thing for bugs, spiders, and the like. I don’t mind them and all, but my kids LOVE them. It’s almost disturbing how my daughter can have seven worms climbing up her arms simultaneously. She giggles as I gasp…. Yuck!
Though you would never catch me covered with creepy crawlers, I would have to agree that they’re fascinating. Consider the cockroach. If it happens to lose its head (unfortunate, I know), it will continue to live and respond for twelve hours afterwards. Then you have the flea, which jumps two hundred times the length of its body. Not to be outdone by the flea is the male giant water bug. This dad carries over one hundred eggs on its back for a week until his children hatch. Wow! That has to be uncomfortable!
The Bible is a strange place to find bugs, but it is teeming with them. There are the plagues of the locusts and lice, the reserved manna turning into maggots, and multiple other references to beetles, moths, spiders, and yes… even canker worms. Since children have a natural affinity for bugs anyway, why not explore the world of bugs and learn what Scripture has to say about them?
Here are some family devotional ideas that you can utilize in your home. Please adapt this material to meet the developmental needs of your children. Be prepared to be both creeped out and amazed at God’s creativity and design! Have fun!
Creepy Crawly Family Devotional Ideas
Caterpillars and Butterflies: Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Read the Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Discuss how different the caterpillar is from the butterfly. The butterfly never goes back to being a caterpillar. “The old has gone, the new has come.” Trusting in Jesus is much the same. We become new people when we invite Jesus into our lives.
Raise your own butterfly through a kit. Observe the transformations the caterpillar makes. What kind of changes do we need to make as followers of Christ?
Make a butterfly craft with coffee filters, markers, and a spray bottle. Have your children decorate the filter, spray with water, and bunch the filter in the middle with a clothespin. You may also want to attach pipe cleaners for antennae.
Whip up a caterpillar snack with any type of round food you have available. Bananas can be sliced and arranged lengthwise with peanut butter. Also use cucumbers and cream cheese, crackers with hummus or cheese, or anything else that is circular!
Have your children pretend that they are caterpillars emerging as butterflies. They can pretend to eat, climb through a tunnel or box, sleep in their cocoon, and fly around with pretend wings.
Ants: Read Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
Read Proverbs 30:24-25, “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.”
Observe ants at work either in the dirt or sand. Invite them to an ant picnic and leave out your scraps intentionally. Consider having an ant farm to watch their working habits on a long term basis. Discuss how productive ants are and how much they save their food instead of eating it on the spot.
Have a conversation about hard work and responsibility. Discuss working together towards a goal. How can it be achieved individually and collectively? Discuss simple financial practices such as saving money, allotting a portion for God, spending, and giving. Do we have a tendency towards laziness? Talk about how we can best use our time.
Sing the children’s song, “The Ants Go Marching One by One.” Act out the coordinating motions.
Enjoy eating ants on a log. Place peanut butter on celery sticks and place raisins (ants) on top.
Bees: Read Psalm 19: 9-10, “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.”
Read Psalm 119: 103-104, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”
In these passages, the Word of God is described as “sweeter than honey.” What does that mean? How can God’s Word be sweet? The first passage says that God’s Word is more precious than gold (or anything else of great value.) Do we treat the Bible as a treasure? If not, how can that attitude change? How does God’s word give us understanding? Can it show us the right way and the wrong way to go?
Read Proverbs 16:23-25, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Discuss how we can use our mouths for good or for evil. What kind of words come out of our mouths? Are they sweet or sour? Do they hurt or heal? How can we work on changing that? Pray with your children. Practice using your words to spread kindness. Encourage your children as you hear them speaking in love.
Since bees communicate by dancing, move to a praise song. Periodically turn the music off and have your children freeze! In the silence, encourage them to buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Read the picture book Buzz Buzz Busy Bees, by Dawn Bentley.
Sing the song, “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee” with the accompanying hand motions.
Investigate a hive. Discuss how bees work together to accomplish the honey. It takes about 556 workers to gather one pound of honey from approximately two million flowers. That’s a lot of work!
For a craft, make a Honey Nut Cheerio necklace. You can also snack on Honey Graham Crackers or Honey Teddy Grahams.
Conduct a sweet and sour taste test. With your children blindfolded, have them taste various foods and drinks and determine if they are sweet or sour. As they think about the taste of the food, have them think of an example of sweet and sour speech. (Sweet speech may be, “Thank you for working hard for our family Dad.” Sour speech may be, “Why do I have to clean my room. Ughhh!”) Items to use for the test could include: vinegar, lemons, limes, pickles, candy, marshmallows, juice, chocolate, or whatever you have available.