I want to teach my children to be connected to nature, to think creatively, and to make things by hand. While this all comes naturally to a country kid, we actually live in the suburbs where the only animals my kids see - apart from the daily deluge of birds and squirrels - is the occasional dog being walked. So when we found this ladybug, and my daughter asked if we could keep it, I said "no" like any sane adult. I did, however, suggest that we build it a temporary house - a ladybug hotel, if you will. We bound together some lollipop sticks with masking tape, found some leaves and grass to make a bed and tied the whole thing up with twine. We even included a flower for a 'pillow'.
It was fun to make this with my daughter and both my kids intently studied the ladybug as she adapted to her temporary digs. It was simple and a little silly, but I think it was also a good starting point to help my kids observe their surroundings and see what they can do with just a few basic materials. The ladybug has flown away and her 'chaise lounge' has since been disassembled but I'm looking forward to seeing what they can dream up next (with a little help).