In this guide we’ll take a look at the best insect gardens for the UK market.
I’ve compared size, design, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Insect Garden?
More Detailed Insect Garden Reviews
The Insect Lore butterfly garden is the best insect garden because it’s so simple to use, safe for kids, and easy to maintain. Best of all – it’s fun and educational.
In this butterfly garden kit you get a cylinder mesh container that contains butterflies during their whole life cycle. The aim is to release them once they emerge from chrysalis form – it’s not a long-term home for butterflies.
Because eggs hatch quickly and caterpillars need food straight away, the eggs are not part of the package. What you get is a voucher to redeem when you’re ready to go.
Butterfly eggs are available from March to September – remember you’re following a natural cycle here and butterflies don’t hatch in the winter months.
The butterflies eggs you’ll receive are Painted Ladies. These are one of the most beautiful butterflies full of oranges, browns, and whites – and they’re recognisable from ones you may have seen in your garden.
The nursery net is collapsible for easy storage so you can use it again the following year. There are full instructions included so there’s no need to worry about raising butterflies.
The Insect Lore butterfly garden is a simple and affordable gift that children love and plenty of adults enjoy too. In fact, a colleague of mine has one on her office desk every year and people are fascinated by it.
Ants are incredible animals but many don’t give them a second glance. You can change that with My Living World Ant Farm. This is a fascinating ant farm that enables you to clearly see how ants behave.
The kit comprises of a clear viewing tank, specialist sandy soil, and a feeding tube. Full instructions on how to put it together are included and it’s worth taking the time to do it properly or your ants will escape!
Kids are encouraged to head outside and find their own ants to start a colony, although a voucher is included if you want them sent straight to your door.
I’d suggest that if you collect your own ants ensure they are from the same colony. Bad things happen when you mix ant tribes!
Children and grown-ups can spend hours sitting in front of this ant farm just watching ants collect the food you provide, ferry it along the feeding tube, build tunnels, and create hills. It’s addictive!
The Ant World kit supports National Curriculum KS1 and KS2 so you can feel good about entertaining your kids and expanding their minds at the same time.
My Living World’s worm world is a great insight into the murky world of our essential friends the earthworms.
It’s safe to say that most kids love digging through the dirt for worms so watching them in a natural environment fascinates them.
This kit includes a reusable transparent tank to easily watch the worms through, specialist soil, tunnelling material, and a cardboard shade because worms like it dark and cool.
Worm World is simple to set up and it’s easy to keep your worms happy. Just place it somewhere cool and give them enough food. There’s a full instruction manual to help – don’t panic!
You can find your own worms in the garden or use the order form to have them delivered. Either way, this worm farm is a fun way to teach children about the importance of the eco-system and our reliance on plants and soil.
I have to add that all children find a pooing worm endlessly funny.
What better place to keep snails than indoors away from your plants!
My Living World – Snail World is a small tank that’s packed out with fun and education. It’s a stimulating gift for children who love the great outdoors and enjoy science.
Included in the kit are the tank and lid, a pipette, tweezers, and a magnifying lens, along with full instructions on how to set up and run your snail farm.
You can capture snails from your garden and watch them eat, move and interact. Budding naturists will spend hours sitting in front of this instead of the iPad.
Reviewers suggest leaving the lid off for a time each day to invigorate the snails as they become lethargic without fresh air, but ensure they don’t escape!
Ensure you don’t place this tank in direct sunlight because snails need cold, damp conditions and will quickly die if they get hot. When you’ve had enough of your snails just set them free and wash out the tank.
This is a top-notch birthday present for kids of all ages and is best used in the summer months when snails are abundant.
Who doesn’t love a cute little ladybird? They are probably the only beetle no-one is afraid of and now kids (or adults) can keep them in their own little world.
Ladybird World consists of a clear observation tank with lid, specimen tubes for collecting ladybirds, a field lens, paintbrush, tweezers, and a tube holder. There are full instructions on how to feed and take care of your ladybirds too.
Part of the fun of Living World kits is finding your own insects to care for. Ladybirds are common in UK’s summer months and it’s not hard to find them on roses, trees, and even in the cracks of your windows.
If you can’t find any, there’s a voucher included to redeem through the post.
This is a top-quality little kit for budding scientists who want to know more about the natural world. Ladybirds hold no fear or disgust for the majority of children who love their bright colours and spots.
It’s an exciting present and a perfect way to introduce PS4-centric kids to the outside world.
Insect Garden Buying Guide
Insect Lore and My Living World kits are great quality and come with excellent instructions. Kids universally love getting these as presents, but gifting is the first step because these insects are relying on you to keep them alive.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of your insect garden no matter what type of bug or invertebrate you choose to keep.
Which Bugs Are Best For An Insect Garden?
If you’re buying this as a gift, get a feel for the kid’s preference. If they really don’t like snails and worms, perhaps opt for the butterflies!
The butterfly garden is more short term than the other insect gardens because you watch them hatch before release. This takes about three weeks – the perfect attention span for a 5+ child.
The worm worlds and ant farms can be used for longer so they interest an older kid who wants to understand habitats and how insects build their environment.
Prepare Them In Advance
These kits only include the habitats, they don’t come with live insects.
You either gather creatures from the wild or use an enclosed voucher to purchase them over the internet. Most arrive within five days, and you should set them up quickly.
If you don’t include eggs or creatures with the kit you may have super excited then disappointed kids.
And Be Prepared To Let Them Go!
Remember these are living creatures and you have a duty of care. So many people think insects don’t matter, but they do!
Make sure you release those creatures after some time, they don’t deserve to be stuck in a small glass container their whole lives. Setting them free is a great example for children.
The butterflies are especially satisfying to release. Often they’ll sit on your hands just waiting for the right moment to fly away.
Getting up and close like this is the stuff of dreams for kids who have only previously chased butterflies around the garden trying to make friends.
Think about whether you’ll be spending time away from home before setting up an insect garden.
Just a few days without food will mean the end for your child’s insects. If you’ll be away, ask someone to feed them or take the whole set up to a friend’s house.
Imagine the fallout if your child comes home to a garden of dead insects. Not good.
Why You Should Buy An Insect Garden
These Insect Lore and My Living World kits are great fun and highly educational. Kids love creepy crawlies and observing them first hand is extremely exciting.
Personally, I think one of the best reasons to buy an insect garden is so you can prep your kids for the responsibly of a pet.
If they can keep their insects well-watered, fed, and healthy then maybe you might graduate onto a more long-term pet with some confidence.
On a larger scale, nurturing a love of science and our environment is important.
Pollution, global warming, and pesticides are causing real damage to our world and kids need to know why it’s worth saving.
The first step is to show them insects and how they live. Worms, snails and all creatures of the world are interesting to them. Concern and care for their environment naturally grows from this interest.