Around here, nature study often falls into our laps and a website that has assisted us way more times than I would like is What’s That Bug? It generally goes like this, a child thrusts some sort of creepy crawly at me and asks “What’s This?” We go to that website and look around at pictures until we find one that matches.
One time we found this:
We were able to scroll through the pictures of caterpillars and find that it was a luna moth and that they turn pinkish orange when they are ready to pupate. http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2011/10/24/pre-pupal-luna-moth-caterpillar-2/ Then we had fun just looking at all the great, crazy pictures that people had sent in. We even submitted a mystery bug of our own.
We found this little guy one time and eventually figured out that it was a moth that had just emerged and those giant ear type things were his wings trying to unfurl, but at the time we couldn’t figure out what he was. Aubrey sent the picture to this website, and then we ended up determining it was a Rosy Maple Moth based on the this entry. http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2012/05/07/rosy-maple-moth-9/. So now when your kids find a sweet little creepy crawly you can stick it in a critter keeper and look up what the heck it is!