Bugs Encased in Glass? Bugs are Not Toys!
Not too long ago I got a catalog in the mail from a company called Toys to Grow On. I have no idea where they got my name and address, as I had never heard of the company before. I checked it out anyway and saw they had many educational toys, some were quite neat, although a little on the pricey side. Anyway, I got to pages 24 and then 32 and was not happy with something I saw on both of those pages.
Both pages offered real bugs for sale that are dead and encased in glass. One is called "Bug Bands" where a real bug has been killed, encased in glass, and put on a nylon wristband so kids can wear it as a bracelet. The other is a "Real Bugs Discovery Kit" that is complete with the dead bugs that are encased in glass, and comes with a magnifying glass and fact book. The kit is touted as giving kids an up-close look at these "amazing insects."
They are right about one thing, they are amazing. But did they really have to lose their life so that people could look at them up close? I would argue that they do not. There are so many ways that kids can learn about insects without destroying them. Kids can learn about insects through direct observation, looking at pictures and videos of them online, reading about them in books, etc. This, like so many other similar things, is a blatant disregard for life.
My daughter has went through periods of being very interested in spiders. That's when I pulled out the books and did google searches for different kinds of spiders. She loved looking at the pictures of them online and I'm sure she did not miss out on anything but not contributing to the death of some in order to see a real one up close.
Other creatures on this planet are interesting and they are neat to learn about. Yet we have no right or justifiable reason to take their life in order to marvel at them. Teaching your children to respect even the smallest of creatures is a humane act and will build character.
If you want to teach your kids about insects, just do some google searches for insects, homeschool curriculum on bugs, spiders, etc. See if your library has some insect books you can check out. Head outside with a magnifying glass and gently explore the insects you find outside. Your child will enjoy what they see and learn to respect their fellow earthings through this manner. And when you see such toys or products as the ones mentioned here, be sure to drop the company a note to let them know you think offering it is in poor taste and disrespects life.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --- Gandhi