When I was in my 20s, I never dreamed that Moth Night would be the highlight of my week, but there you go. The event took place at the local nature center, and while we waited for the sun to set (and for the moths to come out), everyone roasted marshmallows at a bonfire and made s'mores. Aided by a few of the dozen or so kids there, a guest zoologist rigged up some bright lights and a white sheet between two trees and painted moth elixir (a mix of honey, beer, and mashed bananas) on some other trees along the nearest trail. I was hoping for big green luna moths, the kind featured in John Himmelman's picture book A Luna Moth's Life. They were no-shows, but we did observe a few of their smaller brethren on the sheet. Walking the trail, we noticed that ants and beetles enjoyed the moth brew, too. A Luna Moth's Life, by the way, is a nice introduction to moths for children aged three and older; there's only one sentence per page and Himmelman's illustrations are close-up and visually interesting.
When we came home, we sat outside in the dark and watched the moths on our front window. Junior and I made plans to set up our own moth sheet; the blog La Paz Home Learning has some good instructions here. Full on s'mores and newly endowed with moth lore, we lingered in the yard for a while, reluctant for a fun evening to end.
The nature center staff had brought out several books, which they recommended for moth- and butterfly-gazing. Some children will need some help using these guides, which are written for adults.
A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America, by Charles V. Covell, Jr.
And for my fellow Nutmeggers, The Connecticut Butterfly Atlas, edited by Jane O'Donnell, David Wagner, and Lawrence Gall
Here's an informative web site, too: Butterflies and Moths of North America.
Image: An Arkansas Luna Moth, from Wikimedia Commons