Since May 14th my family and I have had the fun opportunity to care for caterpillars, and watch the amazing process of their metamorphosis into butterflies. Not only was this a great experience for our 4 year old, my husband and I enjoyed it as well. Of course, as a teacher, I was also thinking of all the wonderful applications in the classroom. I had never done this before, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Now that it is all over, I can say that I would definitely do this project over again. We got our butterfly kit from insectlore.com.
The day the caterpillars arrived, we received five in a cup, along with a butterfly house and instructions on how to care for our insects. They were tiny, and I was surprised to learn they would grow to be more than 10 times their original size!
Each day our little caterpillars grew. I felt like every time we looked at the cup, they had grown a little more. The food they ate was at the bottom of the cup. We just watched them for about 10 days as they ate, and grew.
Next, all 5 of our caterpillars made their way to the top of the cup when it was time to form into their chrysalises. Unfortunately, one did not form correctly, and never emerged as a butterfly. While that was sad, it was a great learning opportunity to understand about nature.
Once all the caterpillars had formed their chrysalises, we transferred them to our butterfly house. Then, we patiently awaited for them to transform into butterflies! The actual transfer from the cup, to the butterfly house was a little intense. The caterpillars were wiggling like crazy! They all made it in and not much happened for several days. For about a week, we watched and waited. Then, one day, they began to darken, and emerge from their chrysalises.
We actually only ended up with three butterflies. Remember, only 4 formed chrysalises correctly, but another, when it emerged, had a deformed wing and didn’t make it. However, that did not hinder the excitement of our four year old. Each morning he would wake up and greet the butterflies. He loved watching them flap their wings and move around the butterfly house. We added some flowers to the butterfly house, and sprinkled the suggested nectar formula onto the flowers each day.
After keeping the butterflies for 4 days, we decided it was time to release them. I put together a release day celebration that included making butterfly life cycle crowns, eating an edible butterfly life cycle, and having a butterfly snack at the end. I have included the crown and edible life cycle templates below, in this post.
The edible Butterfly Life Cycle includes white marshmallows, sour gummy worms, tootsie rolls, and Pepper Ridge Farm butterfly crackers. I bought all the snacks at Wal-Mart.
(Right click and save the images to your computer to use in your own butterfly release day project!)
Enjoy the incredible process of the butterfly metamorphosis!