Live Butterfly Garden – The Start of a New Family Tradition
Last year I bought the Live Butterfly Garden at Wal-Mart when it was on sale. It comes with the pop-up garden and a certificate for 5 free caterpillars. I ordered the caterpillars and they arrived a couple of weeks before the kids’ birthday. They were a big hit come their birthday party. So this year my mom purchased the 5 little caterpillars off the website (www.insectlore.com – $14.99 + tax, S&H). And thus starts the beginning of a new family tradition!
The tiny caterpillars arrive in a small container with some kind of food paste in the bottom. As they begin to munch and munch, they get bigger & bigger and create spin silk throughout the cup. They grow to 10 times their original size until they climb to the top of the cup, hang upside down and harden into chrysalides. This is such an amazing process and it usually coincides with the kids learning about caterpillars’ metamorphosis in school. Carter & Caitlyn were giving me the play-by-play of the life cycles of the caterpillars and butterflies.
Once the chrysalides have hardened, we remove the lid and there’s a slip of paper that they’ve attached themselves to & we use a safety pin to attach it to the netting in the butterfly habitat. Then we were transferring the chrysalides, one of them fell off the paper. Luckily I had watched a youtube instructional video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt20TOkBCXY) & they said to place it on a piece of paper and warned us that it may begin to wiggle. They wiggle to ward off predators, but it was really cool to watch this and incorporate some life lessons to the kids. Then one-by-one they begin to “hatch” into beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies. I think this year it only took 8-10 days of transformation.
Last year the butterflies went cannibal, eating 2 of themselves. This year, all 5 butterflies were friendly and survived to let us release them. We placed flowers and oranges in their habitat and dripped sugar water on them to watch them get stronger. After a few days we decided it was time to release them. Caitlyn and Carter were able to handle them before they flew off to our garden. So amazing to watch the kids laugh as they hold and talk to the butterflies.
I highly recommend starting your own family butterfly tradition!
Please note that I did not receive any compensation or free products for this post.