As most of you know, we are doing preschool at home. I thought I’d share one of the more exciting things we’ve done this Spring. The preschool curriculum we loosely follow had a unit on caterpillars and butterflies, so after reading a ton of books, and doing a few crafts (see below), we sent away for our very own butterfly garden.
We ordered from insectlore.com, which is a fantastic site if you’re not familiar with it. I was a little skeptical about getting “live larva” in the mail , but sure enough, they arrived alive! 5 painted lady larva came mailed to us in a little cup with the food on the bottom.
There really wasn’t much for us to do at first-we just watched them eat and get bigger every day. It really was fascinating to watch them them grow. They quadrupled their size! It became customary for the kids to check on the caterpillars every morning before breakfast and report the changes.
Once they got big enough, they attached themselves to the lid of the cup and became pupas.
Once all had transformed, we took the lid off of the cup and pinned it onto the butterfly garden.
Then it was a waiting game. We waited about 10 days for the chrysalids to turn into butterflies. It was a very exciting time around here! Then one morning I happened to glance over during breakfast and there was a butterfly!
My 3 year old was so excited that he hugged me! We were all jumping up and down in excitement. Even this “not a fan of bugs” mom was pretty darn thrilled. Just like we read, they stayed attached to the lid for about 2 hours so that their wings could dry. We tried so hard to see one of them pop out in front of our eyes, but it seems they were a little shy because every one of them decided to do it when we weren’t looking. We fed our butterflies daily with sugar water and fresh orange slices. It was fun to watch them land and eat with their proboscis. Finally it got warmer, and we were ready to let them go.
It was a big day! They thought it was pretty cool to reach in and let them sit on their finger. Although I was ready, it was kind of bittersweet to let them go. We had given them names and everything!
Goodbye pretty painted lady butteflies! You have been fun to watch! Come visit us soon.
(* I highly recommend this site! Of our 5 larva, 4 became butterflies. The instructions that came with it were spot on, and it was an amazing experience watching this through the eyes of my children. They also have ladybugs and ants…maybe we’ll try that next. Okay, probably not the ants :-)