The cicadas are coming! Here’s how to make that fun for kids.

The 17-year emergence of Brood X can provide children with engaging science activities.

Virginia mom Abby Doble's five- and seven-year-old are ready for some noisy visitors. “They still have old exoskeletons they collected last year,” she says. But those exoskeletons were from annual cicadas. What’s coming now is bigger … much bigger.

Think: trillions of insects. This is “Brood X” (as in “Brood 10”), a regional group of periodical cicadas that emerges just once every 17 years. If you live in one of the states that’s expecting the bevy of bugs, your kids are likely feeling the excitement. Here’s the buzz on what’s up with these visitors—and ways their arrival can help teach children some six-legged STEM.

The periodical cicadas you’ll see this spring and summer are actually the grown-up insects that hatched 17 years ago, when their parents emerged. After spending most of their lives tunneling underground, these cicadas will be aboveground for about a month.

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