Dragonflies in Your Playground

Alternate Title (Pretty Dragonflies on The Playground)

Now that the weather is warm,  you may be seeing dragonflies on the playground at school. It’s really neat to watch them as they fly around. If you haven’t been around many dragonflies, they can seem a little scary. Don’t worry they can’t bite or sting. That means you can enjoy watching these beautiful insects whenever you see them. You can even learn more about them!

Cool Things to Know About Dragonflies

Did you know that there are 5000 species of dragonfly? That’s why they come in so  many different colors and sizes. The United States is home to 450 of these. The rest are found all over the world. The parts of the dragonfly’s body are the head, thorax, abdomen, wings, and six legs. Even though they have all those legs, dragonflies can’t walk very well. They can sure fly though! dragonflies are the fastest flying insect.

You can find dragonflies almost anywhere. If you live near water, you probably see more. That’s because dragonflies are born in the water. They don’t travel very far after they are born. Did you know that dragonflies have a close cousin, the damselfly. These are a smaller, thinner insect that look almost identical to dragonflies.



Attracting Dragonflies

Would you like to see more dragonflies up close? There are some things you can do to attract them to your yard or garden. Dragonflies pollinate flowers and other plants, just like bees! They’re also really fun to watch. If you attract dragonflies, you can start a dragonfly journal to keep track of the different species you see. Dragonflies also kill bugs like mosquitoes! That makes playing outside a lot nicer!

To get started on your dragonfly garden, learn which species of dragonflies are common where you live. This way, you know what to look for when your project is finished. Next, find a spot in your yard to set up a great dragonfly habitat. Ask your parents before you start making any changes. They can help you pick a spot that works best. You’ll need a grown up to help you with this project. It takes some heavy lifting, and you’ll probably  need a ride to the store.

The first thing to remember is that dragonflies love water. That’s where they lay their eggs to start the lifecycle. You’ll need some kind of water source, at least two feet deep. It doesn’t need to be very big though. Once you have that, visit your local garden center for some water plants. Baby dragonflies are called nymphs. They like to use plants to hide in the water. Adult dragonflies will use water plants for perching. Eelgrass and baby pondweed are two good choices. The clerk at your local store should be able to recommend plants that work well for your area.

When you have your water source all ready, surround that by plants and shrubs. This gives these beautiful insects more places to hide and perch. Finally, add some flat rocks! These are perfect for dragonflies that want to rest and sun themselves. Now, you have all of the things you need for a cool dragonfly garden.

The bad news is that you can’t keep any fish in your dragonfly pond. The fish will eat the dragonfly eggs and nymphs. You can make your pond pretty with colored rocks and other decorative touches.

If you don’t have room to make your own dragonfly habitat at home, talk to your science teacher. They might decide to turn your idea into a class project. Wouldn’t it be fun to work on something like this with your school friends?

When your dragonfly habitat is finished, keep an eye out! Watch the plants and pond for new signs of dragonflies. Write down the different dragonflies you notice, and then try to identify each species you see.



Dragonfly Activities

There are so many cool things you can do with dragonflies. Just observing them as they fly about can be great fun. If it’s winter, or you just don’t have many dragonflies where you live, you can still enjoy these amazing animals. You can draw dragonflies, look up information about dragonflies on the computer, even make some nifty dragonfly crafts. There are stories and poems about dragonflies for you to read. You can find these at your local library. You can even talk to your parents about visiting places where you can see dragonflies up close!