As a mother I always think it is important to start traditions with children so that they can remember for a lifetime and also pass along to their own children when they get older. Every year I have purchased the caterpillar to butterfly kit from www.natureGifts.com and my boys love it. It’s a wonderful activity to do with the children and explore the life cycle with them. I always enjoy incorporating a literature connection and the children also create drawings of what they see throughout their observations.
The kit comes with all of the directions as well as a coloring sheet that shows the steps of the butterfly life cycle. The kit provides you with all you need to care for your caterpillars as well when they turn into butterflies. Once you have ordered the first time you have the net so all you have to do is purchase the refills of the caterpillars. The pamphlet that comes with the kit is helpful, it guides you with illustrations of what to expect, especially helpful for a visual learner. It reminds you to not place the container in direct sunlight and avoid shaking it.
The see through container allows the children to capture every moment of this life cycle and they eagerly await for more changes to come. I found my boys looking forward to the changes that were taking place right before their eyes. As the days passed the children observed the caterpillars becoming bigger and bigger. They began to make connections to “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. They witnessed the body of the caterpillars change into a chrysalis and what a thrill that was!
Once all of the caterpillars formed chrysalides the boys were allowed to remove the disc carefully and hook them onto the net. Right from the very beginning the children are a big part of this entire process. Everyday, the children are able to mist some water on the chrysalides to maintain them moist and help with their development. I observed this time around, the boys more responsible and wanting to take part more. They do remember that we do it every year- this year they were more involved and were more curious about the stages which was wonderful to see. The boys woke up everyday looking to see if the cocoons were open and if butterflies were present to greet them.
The butterflies were emerging one at a time after about seven days. The children observed, and we were even able to let one out and let it fly in the house. They became up close and personal and observed the details on the butterfly. This was amazing for me to witness as the boys are fearful of anything that does fly. We fed the butterflies pieces of oranges and bananas and watched closely as they tasted with their feet. The boys were amazed and enjoyed every moment of their observations. After about a week and preparing the boys for the release of the butterflies we were ready. As much as I talked to them about the release they truly missed caring for them. This was a hands on learning experience for my boys and they are already talking about doing it again. Through this activity emerged conversations, hands-on opportunities, and connections.
How can you incorporate that hands-on love for learning in your child?
Disclosure- The opinions on this product are my own. I was not compensated in any way.