We have been studying the life cycle of butterflies over summer vacation. I like to have activities that are not only fun for the kids, but also educational. This one was fabulous.
We started by observing our caterpillars as they grew larger over just a few days. On day 5, we noticed that they were beginning to make their way to the top of the container and had attached themselves upside down to the lid. The next day they had changed into smaller hard chrysalides.
Once all 5 caterpillars had transformed into chrysalides, I carefully removed the lid from the container, peeled back the paper they were hanging from and gently attached them to the inside of the mesh habitat, where after 7 days I woke one morning to find a single butterfly. Then the next day 4 more butterflies.
And don't worry, that is not blood. That is called meconium. From the Insect Lore site: "It’s the left-over color and unneeded tissues from the butterfly’s wing and body formation."
We went outside to the garden and collected some flowers to put into the bottom of the habitat. Then we mixed up 1 cup of water with 3 teaspoons of sugar and used the dropper that was included in the kit to add dew drops to the flowers and leaves. This is what the butterflies drink. I thought that we should observe them for another day before releasing them, but Marisol was insistent that we release them that same afternoon. So we planned a little butterfly party for our friends to see them off on their journey.
There was Butterfly Fairy Bread. Tip: Spread a small amount of butter down the center and dip bread in chocolate sprinkles. Then spread butter on the wings and dip those individually in rainbow sprinkles.
There were Butterfly Cheese Crackers – 2 butterfly crackers with cheese in the center. I used a sharp knife and the butterfly cracker as a template to cut the cheese.
And Butterfly Brownies for dessert. I cut small strips off colored Twizzlers and sliced through those strips to make the antenna. Then using a little icing attached those to the brownies with two jelly beans for wings.
For beverages, we enjoyed some orange juice. We used a cookie cutter to cut out fun butterfly shapes from scraps of paper, punched a couple of holes in them and threaded them over a bendy straw.
After our celebration we took our butterflies out by our water fountain and released them. It was such a wonderful experience to watch them one by one flying off into the sky.
For the rest of the afternoon we celebrated our butterfly friends and did some fun activities together to learn more about them.
We made butterfly shadows.
And put together a project board (sponsored by Elmer's) all about metamorphosis.
And then we ended our fun butterfly day by reading stories outside on a picnic blanket under the flowers so we could look for more butterfly friends.
The books we read were:
- The Big Book of Bugs by Ken Fin
- Percival the Plain Little Caterpillar by Helen Brawley
- Casper the Caterpillar by Hinkler Books
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman
Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer's by Collective Bias #gluenglitter #xtremeschoolglue