Come rain or shine - if your little one loves getting in the garden and playing in the mud to find bugs crawling in the dirt or flowers, then you should introduce a bug hotel into your outdoor space.
On the other end of the scale, if you've tried everything from the best garden games for kids that the whole family will enjoy to fun and inventive garden activities to get your youngsters excited about the great outdoors, then don't give up! Learning about creepy crawlies might just be the answer.
What is a bug hotel?
Bug hotels (or insect hotels as they're more commonly known) are shelters that have been built to provide a temporary space for butterflies, solitary bees, spiders, woodlice and more. This is a place for your children to watch and learn as minibeasts lay eggs, raise their young and live in your new bug hotel.
How we chose the best bug hotels for kids
First of all, you'll be glad to know that you and your minibeasts don't have to be keen gardeners to keep bug hotels. Result!
Here at Mother&Baby, we picked the best bug hotels by choosing options that are made from natural materials, can be personalised for your little one or can be customised as part of rainy day activities.
The best bug hotels for kids
Best build your own bug hotel for kids
Make, paint and design an insect hotel with your older children. Although creating a hotel needs adult supervision at all times, it is a great activity to do together as a family, especially if any little critters enjoy learning about bugs.
Review: "Enjoyed doing this with my granddaughter. She loved it and talking about what bugs and insects are going to live in it. A child would need some assistance because the wooden pegs are a little fiddly. But overall great product."
Best butterfly bug hotel for kids
If your child is obsessed with butterflies, then they're going to fall in love with this wild insect hotel. Designed to bring nature to you, the different natural materials in this structure have been picked to attract bees, butterflies, ladybirds and earwigs. Unlike other options on this list, the roof has been reinforced to ensure that this hotel is weather-resistant, which prevents it from getting wet inside.
Review: "I bought this so we can have it in the garden, will hang it up in spring time so my children can learn more about nature and find out about bugs and insects. They are super excited about this stunning insect hotel. It's big and very well made, it has many different parts and I'm sure we will get lots of different insects that would love to live in here! It has a hook that will make hanging it up super easy and I love that it is pretty to look at. Will most likely buy another for my son's nursery as I'm sure they will love it as much as we do."
Best personalised bug hotel
Are you looking for the perfect gift for nature-loving toddlers? A personalised bug hotel might just be the ticket. Not only is it a one of a kind present for your child, but it also creates curiosity around gardening, flowers and insects. This is your chance to teach them about growing food and the importance of wildlife while playing outside.
Review: "Such a great item, great present and the personalisation makes it even better."
Best bug hotel for kids to paint and decorate
If it's raining cats and dogs outside, the next best thing to do with little ones is arts and crafts on the kitchen table. For your next project, why not try decorating a bug house? The only downside is that this kit doesn't come with paints - make sure you invest in the best craft kits for kids beforehand.
Review: "Bought this for my son's school project wringle and crawls (bug hotel). He absolutely love's it came already assembled and fast delivery."
Best bee hotel for kids
Youngsters will be buzzing to see their bee hotel in action. Although the holes on this hotel are tiny and may need some drilling to fit larger insects, this is a lovely little addition to your garden. We particularly like that it will encourage children to get outside and check if you have any new neighbours.
Review: "Bought two, one for each daughter. They were both thrilled and they now adorn trees in their gardens. Good value and good looking. Have to see how long they last."
Best ladybird hotel for kids
Again this doesn't come with a paint kit, but whether you and the children decide to decorate is entirely up to you. For the price, you get not one but two little ladybird houses to place in your garden. You'll usually find ladybirds on flowers, weeds, trees, shrubs, grass or crops, so make sure that you and the kids place them carefully to attract their favourite insects.
Review: "This is a fun activity for children to be creative and decorate. My kids love exploring nature in the garden and really enjoyed painting these. The material isn’t completely sturdy. A coat of varnish will hopefully help. Good value for money."
Best bug explorer kit
Now that you've got your youngsters interested in nature, it's time to get hands-on with the creepy crawlies living outdoors thanks to this fun bug explorer kit. This set includes a small pack of mixed flower seeds, paint your own magnifying glass, paint your own bug observation box, six 5ml pots of paint, a paintbrush, six bug stickers, a selection of googly eyes, a clay caterpillar plant marker and instructions.
Review: "Happy parents and children when these were given instead of a party bag, such a lovely idea and worked out less expensive for a much better product. Very pleased with this item, would recommend."