The Big Butterfly Count is an annual event that takes place each summer across the UK. Anyone can join in and it’s not just for adults — it’s perfect for children too. What’s more, it can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s an exciting and very worthwhile nature-themed activity that’s guaranteed to engage little ones. As well as getting closer to nature and to these enchanting little creatures, children can become little ‘citizen scientists’. That’s because the Big Butterfly Count gives them the opportunity to actively contribute to butterfly and nature conservation while taking part in this fun outdoor activity. In today’s article, we’ll explain how even the youngest nature enthusiasts can get involved in this inspiring event.
“Take part in the world’s largest butterfly survey — and become a citizen scientist!”
About the Big Butterfly Count
The Big Butterfly Count takes place this year from Friday 14th July to Sunday 6th August 2023, the period when the most adult butterflies can be seen. It goes beyond a simple butterfly sighting activity, though, by providing an opportunity for people of all ages, including children, to contribute to scientific research. It’s a fantastic but simple opportunity through which young minds can explore the wonders of the natural world and also make a meaningful impact. By participating, children will be helping to monitor and protect butterflies while fostering a deeper connection with nature. And, as we know, spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial to children. Engaging with nature enhances cognitive, physical, and emotional skills, allowing children to grow and learn in a holistic way. With all that in mind, let’s delve into the enchanting world of butterflies and learn how children can actively participate.
How Children Can Get Involved
“Spend 15 minutes in a sunny spot counting the butterflies you see from the list of target species, then log them in the app.”
Engaging children in the Big Butterfly Count is easier than you might think. Here’s how your little one can actively participate:
Download the App
The organisers of the Big Butterfly Count have developed a free, user-friendly smartphone app that makes participation accessible and fun. It includes information, a butterfly identification guide, interactive features for recording sightings, and helpful resources for learning more about butterflies. The free smartphone app is available on Android and Apple IOS. Here are the download links (below):
Visit the official Big Butterfly Count website to learn more about the Big Butterfly Count and to download reference sheets. These can be printed out for children to take on butterfly-spotting sessions. They might also be useful if you/your children do not have access to a smartphone.
Take your child on nature walks or visits to parks, public gardens, or even your own garden or patio. A sunny spot with lots of flowers or blossom around is best. Encourage children to observe butterflies in their natural habitats (under adult supervision) and help them identify the species they encounter. However, teach them not to touch as butterflies are incredibly delicate. Depending on their age and abilities, show the children how to use the app and/or reference materials as tools for identification.
A sunny spot is best but teach children not to touch — butterflies are incredibly delicate!
With the help of the app, you or your child can record their butterfly sightings and contribute to the National Butterfly Database. This data is vital for scientists and conservationists to monitor butterfly populations and understand changes in their distribution. That’s incredibly important as the UK and the wider globe have seen significant reductions in butterfly populations over recent decades.
“You can do as many Big Butterfly Counts as you like, and even if you don’t see any, that still counts too!”
Encourage your child to share their butterfly encounters and counting experiences with their friends, family, and nursery peers. This sharing of knowledge and enthusiasm creates a ripple effect. Feel free to share links to this article too!
Discuss the importance of protecting butterflies and their habitats. Teach your child about the threats butterflies face, such as habitat loss and climate change. Encourage them to think of ways they can help, such as planting butterfly-friendly flowers or creating a mini butterfly garden.
“Once you have submitted your first Big Butterfly Count, you are officially a citizen scientist! Your sightings will help vital conservation work.”
The Magic of Butterflies
Butterflies are beautiful and incredible creatures that spark joy and wonder in people of all ages. They undergo a remarkable transformation from tiny eggs to caterpillars, then pupae, and finally emerge as magnificent butterflies. Introduce your child to the magical world of butterflies with these fascinating facts:
- The UK is home to around 60 species of butterflies of which around 22 can be found in gardens. Each species has unique characteristics, colours, and wing patterns.
- Butterflies play a crucial role as pollinators, transferring pollen from flower to flower as they feed on nectar. They contribute to the reproduction of plants, ensuring a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
- Some butterfly species in the UK undertake incredible migrations, travelling hundreds or even thousands of miles. The Painted Lady butterfly, for example, migrates from Africa to the UK every summer, embarking on an extraordinary journey.
The Big Butterfly Count offers an exciting and educational opportunity for children to become involved in nature-based activities at the same time as contributing to butterfly conservation. So let’s nurture the love for butterflies and nature in our little ones, empowering them to become “little citizen scientists” and guardians of our beautiful natural world. Together, we can make a difference and inspire a lifelong connection with the wonders of the outdoors. Happy counting!
Nursery & Preschool Places in Edgbaston, near Birmingham
(& We are Also a Forest School!)
If you are searching for the best nursery or preschool place in Edgbaston, or near Birmingham, especially one that offers all the benefits of Forest School sessions in the natural environment, Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery may be just what you’re looking for. At Leaps & Bounds, children get a fabulous start in life and we prepare them well before they start school once they reach the age of five. Ofsted has awarded us ‘Good Provider’ status for our childcare and standards of early years education. We also support all Government-funded free childcare schemes. So, if you’d like to explore the possibility of your child attending Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, get in touch. Please use the appropriate button below to register your child for a place, arrange a guided tour with your child or simply ask a question. We’ll be happy to help.