Featured Activity: Build a Bug Hotel

Published on May 23, 2022 - Updated on May 23, 2022

When the warm weather comes around, everyone gets outside to start cleaning up their yards. They pick up the leaves, discard pinecones, and clean up all the clutter that may have built up over the winter. The only problem with that? Those leaf piles are where lots of good bugs hide from the elements and lay their eggs.

If you want an easy way to help good bugs and a fun outdoor activity to do with your kids, how about building a bug hotel?

A bug hotel is a place for good bugs like ladybugs, bees, and spiders to hide from predators, shelter, and lay their eggs. Building a bug hotel for your yard attracts all the good bugs and helps them thrive.

We recently visited an educational garden and learned about bug hotels. Theirs was called the "Crawl Inn"! It attracts things like bees, butterflies, lacewings, and ladybugs to your yard and garden. Your flowers and plants will all be extra happy with these critters around!

Crawl Inn Bug Hotel

You can make this activity as simple or as intricate as you're up for. If you want to teach the kiddos about bug hotels with zero effort, you can buy a kit that comes with everything you need to make one.

Bug Hotels

They're cute and look like little birdhouses and will brighten up your yard, but you definitely don't need to spend any money to make a bug hotel.

Here is an easy way to make a simple bug hotel using items found in your yard and trashcan.

How to make a bug hotel

First, you'll need to find an empty bottle-- check your recycling bin! A water bottle or milk jug will work great. Depending on how thick the bottle is, find some scissors or a saw and cut the ends off the bottle so you have a tube.

Now you'll need to collect some nature treasures. Send your kids on a hunt! We like to use sticks, pinecones, pine needles, and stones. Next, have your kids stuff your plastic tube full of everything they collected. It should be pretty full, but the idea is to leave lots of little crevices for bugs to hide in. If you need a good visual, we liked this video.

Bug Hotel

After you finish your bug hotel, find a safe spot for it and secure it to the spot. We wedged ours between tree limbs but you could also tie it up somewhere with a piece of string. Be sure to check on your bug hotel in a few days and see if any critters have found it!

Bug Hotel in tree

If you have a large yard and want a bit of a bigger project, instead of using a bottle you can use old wooden palettes or a stack of cinder blocks. Fill all of the crevices the same way, with all kinds of nature "trash". You can add some larger logs and drill holes in the logs for the bugs to hide in. Add old bricks or terra cotta pots. Anything that will create shelter and hiding places for bugs! When you're done, you can have your kids decorate the bug hotel with a sign or some flowers from the yard.

Bug Hotel

This activity is a win-win for everyone. You'll help the bugs and earth, get your kids outside, and even teach them a bit about science and nature!

Have you heard of or ever made a bug hotel? If you and your kids try this activity, tag us in it on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Interested in other fun activities that will get the kids outside? Read up on our Building a Family Garden article or how to make the most of Little Free Libraries!

For even more local activities and attractions at your fingertips, be sure to download the happyly app, the country's only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Jessica Parrish
I am a Massachusetts native who grew up in the suburbs of Boston and on Cape Cod. As a military spouse I have lived all over the country from Florida to California, and several places in between. My family has now settled in Virginia where I am a stay-at-home mom to two awesome girls. I love to explore and hike National and State Parks, and spend tons of time at the beach with my kids, splashing in the waves in the summer and searching for shells and seaglass in the winter. I also love running, yoga and cooking!
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