Experiencing the life cycle of butterflies with my kids has been one of my favorite things to share with them.
Experiencing the amazing transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly has by far been our top favorite homeschool experience!
I mean how many people can say they got to watch the entire transformation of a butterfly life cycle in their very own home?
Our homeschool curriculum included an awesome kit from Insect Lore. A bit before we got to the Butterfly Unit in school, we ordered up our caterpillars from insect lore. From the moment the caterpillars arrived my kids began learning and became totally fascinated!
The kit provides you with everything you need to raise up your caterpillars and for them to have a totally successful transformation into beautiful, Painted Lady Butterflies. The directions and kit really made it all too easy and gave me the information for teaching my kids about them as well.
Our Secret to observing butterflies:
To enrich the entire experience, and probably the absolute highlight of our homeschooling so far was adding the screen tent.
My parents gave us a screen tent for Christmas and after watching the videos on Insect Lore with the kids holding the Painted Lady Butterflies right on their hands, I knew I had a winning idea.
I told the kids that once the butterflies emerged out of their chrysalis, that we would take them outside into our screen tent. That was followed up with my kids jumping up and down screaming in excitement!
Just a few days before the butterflies were due to emerge, we set up the screen tent in our backyard. The kids were giddy with anticipation and could hardly wait to play with their very own butterflies in their own backyard screen tent! I have to admit I was totally loving the whole experience too!
So the day came when we were pretty certain that the butterflies were about to break out of the chrysalis and show their beautiful transformations. The kit explains what to look for and gives you a close timeline as to how long each phase of the caterpillar’s life cycle will last. So we were pretty sure they were coming soon.
I was in the kitchen when I look over and see that one had already come out. So from that moment on the kids and I set up chairs around the remaining chrysalis and watched for a couple of hours. It was a bit long but we had come so far, we didn’t want to miss this amazing moment.
We were able to see 4 butterflies come out! We gave them the time allotted to adjust to their new bodies with wings and surroundings and then took them out to the screen tent.
In the screen tent, we set up a couple of beach chairs for us all to sit on. I told the kids to remain in the chairs as long as the butterflies were in there with them, as to avoid harming them by stepping on them or something dreadful. We also stuck a bird water feeder stand in the ground in the middle of the tent and gathered a few flowers from around our yard to hold them on and to feed them with.
As the butterflies began to calm down I was able to slowly slip my finger very gently, and slowly in front of the butterflies and they calmly walked onto my finger!
I was able to pick them up and slowly place them on my children’s fingers, hands, legs, noses, & foreheads!
My kids could hardly believe what they were doing.
My daughter said, “Yep, I am just sitting here with a butterfly on my leg.” It was too much fun!
We did this for two days and on the second day, we released them by opening up the tent walls on all four sides. I also stuck around to ensure that they didn’t get tangled up in the tent.
We saw two of the butterflies later on that day still in the yard! It was surprising and fun for the kids. After about two days we no longer saw them again.
The kids have been asking ever since if we can do this again. I am sure we will. Life is short and getting to see something like this is a sweet gift!
How to grow caterpillars and butterflies at home:
Here is what you need:
- Insect lore butterfly habitat
- Caterpillars from Insect Lore
- An empty space on your calendar when you know you’ll be home to experience the majority of the process.
- Screen Tent (optional, but you totally want to experience this with it)
What you do:
- Follow the steps provided inside your kit provided by Insect Lore.
The steps provided will guide you through this process and you are sure to have success if you follow them!
I hope you get to experience this at least once in your life. It truly is a wonderful thing to watch!
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