Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inchworm, inchworm...you'll go far!

Inchworms are everywhere these days and my five-year-old is mesmerized by them. I remember when I was a kid I used to catch them by their silken thread and watch them "inch" along on the palm of my hand. I never thought much about them beyond that, except that I had one I used to ride. Remember those?

I also remember a song I used to sing about an inchworm that went like this (written by Danny Kaye in 1952):

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
Inchworm, inchworm,
Measuring the marigolds,
You and your arithmetic,
You'll probably go far.
Inchworm, inchworm,
Measuring the marigolds
Seems to me you'd stop and see
How beautiful they are.
So when my daughter asked me what they were, I had no response. I was stumped. For someone who prides herself in being able to answer most of my daughter's nature questions I had nothing to say except "it's a little green worm." How lame an answer was that! In a way, I have taken them for granted. Every spring I see them --- every year, year after year. I have never given them a second thought since becoming a grown-up. They are just "there."

In order save face and provide my daughter and intelligent answer I later Googled "inchworm" and was very interested in what I learned. According to Wikipedia inchworms are the larvae of the geometer moth. They are green, grey, or brownish and hide from predators by fading into the background or resembling twigs. Many inchworms, when disturbed, stand erect and motionless on their rear legs.

Armed with this information, I took my daughter outside the next day and we searched for inchworms. When I explained that the tiny caterpillar eventually turns into a moth, she was immediately enthralled. She learned all about butterflies and how they begin as caterpillars in preschool. I explained that moths are very similar except they fly around in the night.


Bugs are always a great way to connect children with nature. They are easily accessible and are interesting to watch. It is amazing how something so tiny can be the subject of hours of play and learning...for both of us!

1 comment:

  1. Lol we are doing a project on inchworms :) We love inchworms so much were doing a project on inchworms and making a inch worm farm!!!!!!!!!!!! There building there web already!! :DD

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