The school where I teach, recently bought a caterpillar growing kit to use as part of their minibeast topic. Unfortunately, when the teacher ordered the caterpillars she miscalculated the weeks which meant they were likely to turn into butterflies during the school holidays. I was asked if I would mind taking them home and if I could take lots of pictures to share with the children. So on the last day of term, I loaded up my car with piles of marking and 5 big fat caterpillars!
I showed them to Sophie and we read the Hungry Caterpillar (a lot of times!) to help her to understand what they were and what was going to happen to them. If I wasn’t looking after them for school, I would wait until she was a bit older to buy one of these kits. Although Sophie was quite interested in the caterpillars, she didn’t understand that they needed to be kept still and that she couldn’t pick the container up to look at them.
Once they all turned into chrysalides we transferred them into the pop-up net. Most of the butterflies hatched while we were out but I did manage to spot one not long after it had emerged from its chrysalis (not a cocoon, like Eric Carle calls it!)
Sophie was excited to see the butterflies flying around inside the pop-up container and we gave them some fruit to eat. The kit contained a pipette so that you could drop sugar water onto the fruit as well.
We kept the butterflies for a few days and then let them go in the garden.
I let Sophie hold the butterfly but stayed very close by, just in case she wasn’t very gentle! She sat really still and watched it as it sat on her hand.
The butterflies stayed near us for a while, basking in the sun, before flying off.
It was fascinating to look at them so closely and to see all of the beautiful colours.
Sophie was really upset when they all flew away and wanted them to come back. Again, if she had been a bit older, she would have understood why we couldn’t keep them forever. We told her that they might come back to visit us and she was very excited when we saw a butterfly in the garden a few weeks later (even though it was a different colour!).
The butterfly kit is aimed at children who are 4 years and up. I would definitely buy some caterpillars again when Sophie is older and once you have the kit, you can just buy a caterpillar refill.
If you would like to try this at home, you can buy the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden online. It comes with a voucher that you post to the company and they send 5 caterpillars in a clear container with food. The caterpillars can be ordered from March – mid-September so this would make a great summer holiday project. Disclosure: This is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission for items purchased through this link at no extra cost to you.
I have not been sponsored to write this post but it does include affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
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