HILO — Keiki were getting close to all manner of creepy, crawly creatures Tuesday at Imiloa Astronomy Center.
Camp Imi-possible, Imiloa’s weeklong summer camp, kicked off, and will be offered again in July.
The theme this summer is “Fantastic Bugs and Where to Find Them.”
Armed with large magnifying glasses, keiki peered at centipedes, cockroaches, larvae and butterflies. They studied the stages of metamorphosis, learned about bugs and their coloration, which helps them avoid predation, and built their own bugs.
“Ooh! Beetles!” one child exclaimed as he examined a display of coconut rhinoceros beetles. “It actually looks pretty cool.”
At the same table, others picked up clear cases that contained mealworms. Each display had the insects at a different stage of its lifecycle.
Malia Kusch, 9, said it was fun feeding the centipede, but her favorite animal there was the cane spider.
She likes coming to the camp.
“I really like bugs,” Malia said. “Especially spiders.”
Education manager Anya Tagawa said children were learning about different insects they might find in Hawaii.
“The camp is supposed to be centered around native and endemic insects, but we also wanted to showcase the things that they would see in everyday life, so all the things in their backyards,” she said.
In one planned lesson called “backyard creepy-crawlies,” Tagawa said keiki will make a bug house to capture insects, but also learn about what they might find in their yard, including things like the semi-slug, which carries rat lungworm disease, fire ants and centipedes.
Ryan Tanouye, 8, said the camp was fun.
“You get to meet new friends, and you get to learn all sorts of stuff,” he said.
Imiloa offers camps in the summer, spring and fall, with focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).
Camp includes eight lessons that incorporate science and culture and a session that incorporates an educational art project related to the theme.
As for the “bugs” theme of this summer’s camp, Tagawa said, “I think bugs are really exciting, and there’s so many themes of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) within it that we can do, but also a lot of the parents showed interest in having an insect camp.”
Last week’s session had 55 participating keiki.
“We’re super excited that camp has come back,” Imiloa Executive Director Ka‘iu Kimura said. “It’s so fun for us here to see these kids coming and interacting and engaging in super fun, hands-on Hawaii STEM curriculum.”
“Fantastic Bugs and Where to Find Them” will be offered again from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 22-26, for keiki in kindergarten through fourth-grade. Cost is $225 for members and $250 for the general public. To register, visit imiloahawaii.org or stop by the astronomy center.
Email Stephanie Salmons at email@example.com.