We Made Insect Specimens!

Yes, at Kea Xplorer again! I had signed the boys up for this even before we attended the woodwork session, because I hope the boys would love and be comfortable in the great outdoors. But it was beyond my expectations, and seriously, I was blown away by the exhilaration of catching the insects with our own hands and making them into specimens!

There were two parts to the insect specimen workshop. In the morning, we went insect-hunting.


Briefing at the beginning of the session. Yes the instructor, who was also our woodwork instructor, MADE the benches!


Let’s go catch some bugs!!


The bugs no chance


My boys. Cool, right? πŸ˜€


A slug!


Instructor demonstrating how to break the nerve of a butterfly


Got to hold the butterfly

Does it look like we were in a ulu forest? Actually, no! We were right across the road from many, many residential apartments, and a bit farther down were some other industrial-like buildings. It was just a long strip of some trees. It proved to me that we need not go to the forest or mountains to get a good dose of nature.

Before we attended this session, I was wondering HOW to catch the insects. I mean, I did spend quite a lot of time at places like Venus Loop, but other than mosquitoes and ants, I never noticed any other insects…

OK, the key word here is ‘noticed’. It is just about purposeful noticing, aka observation, aka Open Your Eyes Big Big. All we had to do, was hit the clusters of long grass with the insect net a few times, and we saw numerous grasshoppers, katydids, unknown insects jumping out!

But that didn’t mean it was easy to catch them. The little things were quick! And also very smart. After a while, it wasn’t that easy to spot them anymore. Argh. Never mind, then we moved on to the second part – making the captured insects into specimens.


Demonstration… on a handmade clay beetle πŸ˜›


Tata! Our work of ART! Haha, ok, work of sweat : )


And we were given mealworms to bring home as pets!

Sorry, not many photos of the specimen-making process. Because I was too busy listening and learning and guiding the boys to do and urmm, doing it myself πŸ˜› So, how did we make the specimens? Basically, what we did was a fast-forward version of the proper procedure. The insects should be soaked/dried for days between the steps. The instructor had many jars with various chemical solutions to kill/preserve the bugs. What we did – immoblised the insects on corkboard with pins, then glued them to the box, and lastly the box was sealed.

Ya, I know that wasn’t much help, haha. Anyway I am definitely the wrong person to ask if you wanna make insect specimens yourself and this post was never meant to be an Instructable. The point of this post is to tell you how absolutely impressed I am by this workshop! If you are interested, do check out Kea Xplorer for their upcoming sessions. You can also see more photos of our session at Insect Specimen Pak 1 and Pak 2.

By the way, I am in no way affiliated to Kea Xplorer and this is not a sponsored post. I paid for the workshops and had never met the instructor prior. But really, I am now a super fan and strongly recommend their workshops to everybody! Good things must share! : )



Kor Kor Learns Woodwork!

Last Saturday, Kor Kor and I attended a three-hour woodwork session by Kea Xplorer. It was a great start to woodworking experiences, which I want the boys to learn and to try. Though the program was targeted at children, it was very useful for me as well, cos I was totally clueless in this area!

We learnt how to use the tri-square, hacksaw, F-clamp, file, sanding block and sawhorse, as well as woodworking safety. The instructor and his assistants were very helpful and went around the room giving each participant individual guidance. Kor Kor was a really happy boy throughout the three hours, despite the gruelling work of sawing. (Good for training patience and perseverence! Cos a junior hacksaw is not that powerful, you know? :P) I think it also helped a lot that the instructor was able to engage the children very well.

I would like my sons to know how to do woodwork, to be a handyman at home. But regardless of gender or whether this is a learning goal you have for your child, I think the sense of satisfaction of making something with one’s own hands is indescribable!

We are already looking forward to the next workshop!

(This is not a sponsored review.)