A minibeast hunt is a brilliant way for children to get up close to nature. It gets them active in the fresh air, encourages them to use their observation skills, and it gives them a chance to get hands-on with wildlife. All in all it’s a great activity for your whole family to do together. So we’ve put together some advice for going on a bug hunt, along with a checklist of creatures you might discover.

Many minibeasts, like butterflies, bees and beetles, are more active in spring and summer. But you’ll find things all year round if you look carefully. And unlike some animals which can be difficult to spot in the wild, you can find creepy crawlies anywhere. So get out into your garden or your local wood and see what you can find!

Minibeast hunt checklist

Our printable minibeast spotter sheet features common creepy crawlies like ladybirds, millipedes and worms. Download it for free and see how many you can tick off.

Where to find minibeasts

Minibeasts live in all sorts of habitats. Many prefer dark, damp spots in gardens and woods, so this is a good place to start your hunt. Encourage children to use their best detective skills to track creatures down.

  • Peek under large stones and logs to find woodlice and millipedes.
  • Peer into cracks in tree bark and deadwood to discover beetles and spiders.
  • Poke your nose into long grass to spot ants and grasshoppers.
  • Look closely at leaves to discover caterpillars and ladybirds.
  • Focus on flowers to see bees and butterflies feasting on nectar.
  • Keep your eyes peeled after rain – can you spot slugs, snails and worms?

Lots of minibeasts live in trees and shrubs. Lay a piece of white cloth, such as an old sheet or pillow case, under a tree or bush and gently shake the branches. You’ll be surprised how many tiny creatures fall out! Don't forget to return them to their home when you've finished investigating.

Bug hunting kit

You don’t need any special equipment to go on a bug hunt, but the items below might help if your children want to get a closer look at the creepy crawlies they find.

  • Bug boxes or clear containers are useful for holding minibeasts while you study them.
  • A spoon or small paintbrush lets you gently scoop up your finds.
  • A magnifying glass zooms in on really tiny details.
  • An ID book or spotter guide helps with identification.

Minibeast ID book

Is your family mad about bugs? Then you’ll love our pocket-sized minibeast ID book! It features 28 creepy crawlies and flying insects, including butterflies, moths, beetles and shield bugs. The handy swatch design is packed with colour photos to help with identification and has heaps of fascinating facts children will love.

Buy the minibeast ID book in our online shop.

Take a closer look at creepy crawlies

Discovered an interesting creature? Help your kids gently scoop it up, place it in a container and study it with a magnifying glass. Examine the tiny details that are suddenly revealed, like antennae, body structure and intricate patterns. Do they notice things they've never seen before?

Your children can use the minibeast checklist or an ID book to identify their discoveries. Why not encourage them to start a nature journal, too? They can record their fascinating finds, draw pictures and add facts to keep track of their wildlife encounters.

Remember – minibeasts are small and delicate, so be careful when you pick them up and always put them back where you found them.

More minibeast fun!

Discover nature as a family

Love getting outdoors with your kids? You can get heaps more inspiration with Woodland Trust family membership.

When you join, you'll receive activity packs every season, stuffed to the brim with outdoor adventures, wildlife spotting, arts and crafts, recipes and puzzles.

It's ideal for families who love wildlife. Plus, as members, you'll help us plant trees and protect woods, creating a healthier planet for future generations.

Boy looking at snail

Inspire young nature lovers

Get wildlife activities for kids when you join the Woodland Trust and help us protect nature for future generations.

Find out about family membership