Here is a list of things I recommend for folks (especially kidfolk) interested in entomology.
Organized by section and a work in progress!
This book gets worn out every spring when I read it a million times during Mantis Madness. I have a loaner copy and two teaching copies. It's full of great illustrations and the story is fun and accurate enough to teach from. Kids love reading it over and over. Up to first grade, maybe later.
Reliably interesting and excellent quality, I'm generally a fan of whatever DK Eyewitness puts out. They offer many different volumes on insects, each different enough that you can't go wrong. Kids who are into reference books typically appreciate a collection, so don't feel limited to a single volume. As a bonus, there are dozens of volumes on various topics, from machines to cultures. This is an excellent way to encourage a young learner to try out other topics.
This is the current bible of Pacific Northwest insect field guides. Published by Audobon, edited by Merrill Peterson. Mine gets a lot of use.
This super great shop has a lot of amazing and gorgeous insect books, please call them for their recommendations. They are an entomology shop in Southern California and they are familiar with young kids and their parents:) They are a friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable group. You can pick up a LOT of goodies through them, from equipment to mounted specimen. The entomologist's toy store.
This super great shop is a cultural hub for entomologists. Located in southern California, it's a toy store for entomologists. Really great and beautiful entomology books, lots of preserved specimen (buy your kid a mounted beetle or butterfly! They will cherish it), as well as field equipment for entomologists, both hobby and professional. Bioquip also hosts talks and gatherings, playing an important role in communication and cameraderie among entomologists. This is a very good small business to support. Their website is not easy to browse but they will likely have fantastic recommendations for kids if you give them a call. They are very welcoming to new hobbyists and parents of interested young children. If you're not sure what to get your ento-interested child, I strongly recommend getting a mounted specimen (beetles and butterflies are typically great, but try anything). Some are surprisingly inexpensive (I think around $4 for the low) and they are absolutely awesome to own as a child. Ask the folks here for guidance. Your kid will thank you:)
These are incredibly useful. They are basically floppy tweezers and before I got into entomology, I thought they were just crummy forceps. Now I know they are specifically designed to be gentle enough to use with live insects without causing harm. Now I have many pairs of soft forceps littering the shelves and corners of my house and car, one of my favorite tools.
These are also available on amazon, but I really want you to support Bioquip.
I have used many, many tanks in my life (I was that kind of kid, no surprise) and I have some pretty strong opinions at this point. This tank is my #1. The view lid is absolutely great. Also, the air slits are smaller than fruit flies, which is a big deal. I use these tanks for baby mantises (and nearly everything else). The shipping is a beast (nearly the same price as the tanks because they are large and relatively fragile), but there's no comparison to other offerings. They are great tanks and I highly recommend them for kids who do a lot of tank work. FYI, having multiple tanks is usually exciting for kids like me and I think shipping is the same for up to 6. Want to guess how many tanks Tiny Science has? It is more than six. I am Living the Dream, folks.
Butterfly tent, good for all kinds of insects or leaves or whatever.
I have a whole bunch of these. They fold up flat and are invaluable holding tanks when you need something quick. Really useful container for insects, great for kids who always bring stuff home to observe for awhile. I keep one in my car, one at the front door, one at the back door, a few in use. I have one on my deck right now holding a surprise katydid and leaf of lettuce. Good stuff.
Here's another page for the item (I know Bioquip's website is challenging to enjoy)
This is my favorite net, the handle is wooden and 3 feet long (there is an 18inch "student" version, but long handles are typically the better choice). Wooden handle, great sock, great price.
It is very useful to have a bit of basic training when using an entomology net. Most importantly, avoid tearing a hole in the net. Also, the long sock acts as a holding tank if you flip it over the rim after your swipe. I should probably find a good how-to video on youtube and link it here. Until then: Ento nets are great but if you don't learn how to use them properly, the sock can be easily damaged. That being said, a kid with a net is one of the most awesome ways to spend a summer day. Holes and all. Bioquip sells my favorite net and is a great science business to support.
I like these pins the best for pinning insects (insect taxidermy). They don't rust, are less likely to break on hard insects, and they have a nice little gold ball on the end that I like. Size is identified by number: 1 is most useful, 2 is a bit thicker if you want a variety. The rest are for specialists.
(Are you wondering what insect pinning is? Insects, awesomely, can be saved indefinitely. Entomologists preserve dead insects by mounting them on a pin for dispay and observation. It is a very interesting, fun, challenging, and beautiful practice. My grandma made an insect collection in high school (A+) (1927) that I have today. Cool hobby.)
This company provides excellent science resources for schools and individuals. I've ordered tanks and butterfly eggs and tardigrades (sooooo cool) and volvoxes. They have excellent kits at good prices. I'm never disappointed with anything I get from Carolina. Great resource.
Arbico Organics is a gardening supply and pest control resource I've been using since 2006. This is where I get my praying mantis ootheca and they have help for house plant trouble too. They can also help with chafer beetle larvae, the ones the crows ruin lawns for. I've always found their customer service to be friendly and knowledgeable.
This is an awesome company offering educational resources for the natural sciences. This is where I get my very popular life cycle models (and less popular poop models). Posters, models, toys, skulls, books: this website is an awesome playland for kids like me. All reliably high quality.
Surprisingly accurate, this is the best mantis stuffie I've seen.
This was my first Barbie and what a gal! Everything in the box is awesome, from the fieldwork area that features searching for insects, to the laboratory with a tank and microscope. It's a completely great set. If the identity of the doll is an issue, I would strongly recommend the set and maybe switch out with a preferred model. Excellent pretend play opportunity for kids. And grown-up entomologists who never understood dolls.
Please watch any and all of the many documentaries on this awesome scientist and human. An absolute treasure.
Spy in the Wild, (also on Amazon)
This awesome PBS series achieved incredible footage by hiding cameras in props accepted by wild animals. This series is not about insects, rather focusing on my greater interest in Animal Behavior. Nature documentaries have always been my favorite thing, but none have captured such natural behavior as this series. Underrated and under-viewed, I highly recommend it.
Just found this, haven't watched it as of this posting, but I'm pretty optimistic.