Bat out of . . . shoebox?


Here’s the song reference.

As part of our homeschooling, we cover a topic in science every week; this week’s subject is bats.  It’s a particularly important subject at our house, as we live near a swamp and thus are subject to an absurdly large mosquito population.  I’m loath to spray a bunch of chemicals around, partly out of concern for the tiny people and our dogs, partly out of concern for the nearby wetlands and the critters that live there.  Don’t get me wrong — I have no problem hosing the kids down with Cutter before sending them outside to play, but I’d rather not spray the entire yard.  To us, it’s a simple question of stewardship; the Lord calls us to take care of His Creation, and to me, that means considering the impact of everything we do on the creatures over which He gave mankind dominion.  I keep hoping the kids will quit pulling up the mosquito-shoo geraniums, but until then . . .

At any rate, we read a spiffy book about bats, at the end of which were plans for a wooden bat house.  While I lack the intestinal fortitude to tackle a carpentry project involving four children under the age of six as the only adult in the room, I have no problem breaking out a shoebox to build a suitable model.  Again, part of stewardship involves using the materials we have on hand.  With a family of six, there are always shoeboxes and cereal boxes aplenty at our house; quite a few of them find their way into the recycling bin without any intermediate steps, but at least half of them end up being used as craft supplies, to bring a lesson to life.  Having read about bats, and watched a couple of neat videos to see bats in action, the girls and I talked about how we’ve seen bats flittering about at twilight, and how many times we’ve gone diving for calamine to cool the itching of dozens of mosquito bites.  Beanie is particularly afflicted by the little bloodsuckers, and thus was the most enthusiastic about learning how to attract a healthy bat population.

Our basic plan was a simple one, to wit:  cut a side off a shoebox, trim another side and fold it up a little for an entry restrictor, add a small sheet of gauze for a bat toehold, then cover the shoebox with brown construction paper to simulate the wood of a real bat house.  The girls rifled the sticker box to find stickers with pictures of things bats like to eat, and came up with butterflies, moths, and bees (I don’t know if bats actually eat bees, but they had the concept of bats eating insects, so I wasn’t inclined to argue).  Beanie pointed out that some bats eat fruit, and was promptly countered by Bugaboo’s assertion that the bats we wanted to attract were the bug-eating variety.  Beanie eagerly agreed that we did not want to encourage any bats that might steal our bananas and apples.  We finished it off with a half-dozen scratch-art bats suspended from strings, “flying” into the “bat house.”

The girls were delighted with their project, and animatedly pointed out all its features to Mr. Man and Baby Guy when they boys awoke from their nap.  We may have to make another one, as Mr. Man’s wee noise is quite out of joint at not having been allowed to help with the construction.  They’re trying to convince Daddy to help them make real ones from lumber in the spring.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed us with an abundance of flora and fauna to study, understand, and appreciate.  Thank You for eyes to see their beauty, and for lips to sing Your praise as we discover the wonder of each tiny piece of Your creation.  Please help me teach Your blessings that we cherish life of all kinds, and we can show our love for You in the way we care for all the lives around us, and grant me the wisdom to find anything redeeming about stink bugs.  Thank You for the mosquitos that feed the bats, for the bats that eat the mosquitos, for the writers who have taken the time to set down their knowledge about Your creatures in books, for the videographers who have recorded Your creatures in all their beauty and majesty.  Keep our vision broad, Lord, but remind us to always focus on You as we survey the world around us.  Thank You also, Lord, for the gift of little blessings who rejoice in sharing tasks, and who are learning to share the stickers as well.

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4 thoughts on “Bat out of . . . shoebox?

  1. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My blog goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit
    from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

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