Monday, August 24, 2015

Live Butterfly Garden

My kids and I recently did a fun project - we grew butterflies!  After going through the process, I can absolutely say that I recommend doing this with your young child.  Even the adults we showed it to thought it was really cool!
The kit we used was the Live Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore.  It costs $16.99 on Amazon and has 4.5 stars with over 1,300 reviews!  The kit comes with a butterfly habitat, a feeder, and a mail-in voucher for one cup of caterpillars.  When you mail in the voucher you pay just $5 for shipping and get a cup of 5 caterpillars.  
This picture is from Amazon, as I forgot to take a picture of our caterpillars when we first got them.  They are very small at first, and don't move a lot. The cup comes with all the food the caterpillars need to survive and grow.
Each day the caterpillars eat and it's amazing how large they get.  They did make a mess of their food, and made webs all over the cup, but this is normal.
After about a week, the caterpillars started attaching themselves to the top of the cup and one by one formed chrysallises.  
Once all 5 caterpillars formed their chrysallises, it was time to move them to the habitat where the butterflies would emerge.  
The chrysallises were pinned to the side of the habitat about 4 inches from the bottom.  We thought we'd be waiting for at least a few days, but it only took a day for the first butterfly to emerge from its chrysallis.  We were so excited!   
 Day 1: One butterfly!
Day 1: Two butterflies!
Sooooo pretty.  (Note: our butterfly is the black and orange one. The red ones are just the fabric of the habitat.)
Day 2: Three butterflies!
Day 2: Four butterflies!
Day 3: Our last butterfly emerged on the third day.  The kit guarantees that at least 3 out of the 5 caterpillars will successfully turn into butterflies so we were excited that we were 5 for 5!
They really are beautiful when you can observe them up close.  
After the last butterfly emerged, it was time to feed them.  You can either make your own sugar water nectar and feed the butterflies with the provided feeder, or you can give them fruit.  We happened to be eating some grapes so Grandma cut some in half and placed them into the habitat.  

That must be some sweet grape juice!
The next day we moved the habitat outside and got ready to release our butterflies out into the world.
The first three flew out pretty quickly, but the last two needed a little help.  I got one to rest on my finger for a second, which the kids loved!
Zoomed in view.
Landon really wanted to lift out the last butterfly, but it wasn't interested in a rough toddler handling it.  ;)
When the final butterfly finally flew off, it landed on one of our flowers in the yard and stayed there for a little bit, which was pretty fun to see.  
And a zoomed in view.
Overall, I'd say this project was a big success and we recommend it to all of our friends with young kids!  We all really enjoyed watching the progress every day, and we got quite attached to our little "pets" over the course of the 2 1/2 weeks that we had them.  After we released the butterflies, Shay said that she was going to miss them very much.  I was going to miss them too!  But I'm glad we got to experience the caterpillar to butterfly transformation up close.  Two thumbs up for sure!

xo,
Carly

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