When we were planning our summer vacation to Pennsylvania, one of the things I was most looking forward to was catching lightning bugs with my children. We don’t have lightning bugs in Florida. We have lovebugs, which look a lot like lightning bugs but where their light should be, there is another bug attached at the end. Love bugs and lightning bugs are similar, except that love bugs are extremely annoying. Lightning bugs, on the other hand, are amazing, enchanting, and astonishing!
My children have never had the joy of watching those bright glowing insects flying around the yard and blinking their little lights on and off, on warm summer evenings. My children have never had the fun of chasing fireflies around and catching them to put in jars and bring into their rooms at night for special live nightlights. They have never held those magical little bugs on their hands feeling the tickle of their tiny legs. They have never experienced the awe of summer nights while the stars flicker overhead and lightening bugs flicker all around them.
My childhood summers always included lightning bugs. They were a sign of freedom from school and long late nights playing outside and of cook-outs and fun with friends and the magic that was summer itself. It makes me sad that my children have never even seen them, let alone played amongst them.
I told my children all about lightning bugs and about how we would see them on our vacation and about how we would catch them and save them in jars for a while and watch their lights blink on and off before letting them go and watching them fly off blinking away into the night. Then, our trip was cancelled and our chance to see lightning bugs was gone.
But then, I got an e-mail from “School Express” about a unit study on fireflies! It is not the same as really getting to play with them but the kids and I went through the unit study together and read all about fireflies (which are also known as lightning bugs and glow worms). Then we printed off a few coloring sheets from the website and put our pictures into construction paper “jars” to hang them up and try to recreate a little of the summer fun we are missing out on.
Its obviously not the same as real lightning bugs but we are making the best of things!
Hope your summer is magical and special
and filled with wonder!