a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Jul, 2008

First task of the day: DIY bug collecting jar

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

Thanks everyone for your supportive comments on yesterday’s post. I’m definitely feeling excited today. :)

This morning (even before I had my coffee!) I got with the program and made the girls a jar for bug collecting.

ETA: I have a great childhood memory of a friend collecting bees in a glass jar. He did the collecting (of course!) while I stayed a fair distance away. We watched them and listened to their hum, and after awhile it was time to let them go. But how to do it without gettting stung? He opened the lid and rolled the jar down a hill while we huffed it as fast as we could in the opposite direction. Ah, those were the days!

Bug jars are great things. We eschew the cheapo ones from the dollar store and roll our own. (We’ve had those plastic ones, and they’re total crap.)

How to make a bug jar is really no secret: take an empty jar of pasta sauce – and voila – you have a great jar. It’s so simple it hurts. And it’s recyclable!

If you’re going to make one for yourself, know that will be g.d. impossible to get the sticky Label Remnants off of it. But we are one step ahead of the game here at Casa Fishbowl! Long ago Mark and I discovered that orange peel oil will remove any sticky residue. And as a bonus, it leaves the house smelling like a basket of oranges. It is totally no fail.

My jar this morning (remember, I hadn’t had a coffee yet so I was especially slow and uncoordinated) took about two minutes to clean. Now all I have to do is nail a few holes in the lid.

I have always been super proud of the girl’s love of the bug world. It’s something I’ve taken care to cultivate i.e. by stifling my scream as a hairy centipede darts out of the kitchen drain or a mass of rolie-polies scatter from underneath my outdoor flowerpot.

Maybe I should make a jar of my own?

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4 Responses to "First task of the day: DIY bug collecting jar"

1 | porter

July 17th, 2008 at 9:46 am


I have fond memories of my pet catepillars, I loved collecting bugs as a kid. My girls are no different, especially Bug (didn’t nickname her Bug because of her love of bugs!). We’ve had several potato bugs (what are they really called?) and lady bugs who have spent some time with our family. Dirt, water, bugs, anything ‘nature’ pleases kids so.

2 | Chantal

July 17th, 2008 at 9:50 am


Last year my oldest son loved bugs, this year he is afraid of everything. It is driving me nuts. I hope he comes around again.

3 | Nicol

July 17th, 2008 at 12:21 pm


Maybe you should make one for yourself! Sounds like a fun idea. I love those simple things that takes our kids outside aways from the TV and video games.

I am giving you a blog award! Come on over to my place to collect it!

4 | Jen

August 20th, 2008 at 6:34 am


Ahhh, fond memories of my pet worms are coming back to me…no, I wasn’t a deprived child, I did actually have a dog too! Just wanted to let you know that you don’t need to punch holes in the jar lid – the little beasties don’t use up THAT much oxygen and will actually run out of moisture before they stop breathing. Then you don’t have to worry about any escapees!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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