A couple of years ago, my mother in law got us a really cool gift. It was a kit to raise butterflies. My daughter was little at the time but she still enjoyed it. I remember raising butterflies in my classroom when I was in elementary school; I loved it then and I still love it now. What’s cool about the kit is that the butterfly house is reusable, so this year, all I had to do was order the caterpillars and I could get started.
I ordered my caterpillars and got them within a couple of days. Their cup comes with their food in the bottom, so all we had to do was watch. They grew quickly and it was fascinating to watch. After a few days, the caterpillars crawled to the top and attached themselves, created a j shape with their bodies and began to form chrysalides.
Then we waited. After a few days in the chrysalides, we moved them to the butterfly house. Then we waited some more. For what felt like an eternity. But it was really only a week or so :-) Then the butterflies emerged! One day, I went out to do an errand and when I came back two butterflies were fluttering around! Then I went to do something upstairs and came back down and they had all emerged! It was so cool!!
We fed the butterflies every day. We picked fresh flowers to put in the bottom of their home and sprinkled sugar water on the flowers for them. They seemed to get really active when we turned on the dining room light.
You have to wait until it is a certain temperature outside to release the butterflies. Since we have a bird feeder at our house this year, there are a ton of birds hanging out, plus we have a nest of baby robins under our deck. I thought it might not be a good idea to release the butterflies near all these birds. Instead, we took a nature walk at a local park. We walked part of the way in, and picked a good spot with several patches of flowers and let them go. One flew off immediately when we opened it, the others needed a little bit more coaxing.
My daughter was so sad to see the butterflies go; she started crying. I told her we could come back and visit them later and that made her feel better. Later on, during that same nature walk, we saw another caterpillar and took it as a good sign.
We had such a good time raising the butterflies, so we did a butterfly craft I saw on Buggy and Buddy to recreate the butterfly life cycle. How cute is this?
I printed out the butterfly cycle template and gave it to the kids to cut out. They took it and pasted it onto the paper plate too. I told them they could decorate the edge if they wanted. They both chose not to. I gathered all the other materials needed and we all created the first couple of stages of the butterfly’s life cycle together. Then my son was done and wanted to build a pillow fort on the couch instead. I let him to build a huge pillow fort, and I stayed with my daughter while she finished up her craft. I finished my son’s because I like arts and crafts too :-) Here are our finished products!