One of the perks of homeschooling my children is doing all those things I probably would never have done with them, had I not been their teacher. One of the most loveliest projects which has nearly come to and end has been growing our own butterflies! This makes for a fantastic 2 week theme on the life cycle of a butterfly.
We used the voucher code inside to request for the caterpillars – you can do this online or send the filled out voucher form including additional postage charges. You can request for the caterpillars to be sent out on Tuesdays or Fridays – you don’t receive them on these days but you are notified by email that they are now sent out.
Day 1 – 3: So we literally received our caterpillars 2 days later on the Thursday. We had 2 sets of jars which was very convenient for us as my girls are still learning to share 🙂 This is how tiny they are on the day we received them. You literally do not have to do anything. The food was provided (it’s all that brown stuff at the bottom). You do not need to open the jars at all. There is a great pamphlet inside explaining the process and which really helps once you start to see all the stages. They moved slowly, we started to notice how they eat food and crawl around the jar.
Day 4: We noticed the caterpillars starting to growing bigger and longer! Ammarah began doing some observational drawings and noticing the size and texture difference.
Day 6: In nearly a week they grew so big! We noticed some web spinning and the food area looking very messy.
Day 7-8: In literally a week, we started to notice the first bit of cocooning or scientifically the chrysalis stage occurring. We looked through our caterpillar to butterfly book to see how the cocoon would form.
Day 9 – 10: Almost all the caterpillars hung themselves to the lid above and changed into a pupa or cocoon. Unfortunately, one of our caterpillars didn’t make it and 2 cocoons fell in to the bottom of the container – these ones were scooped out with a spoon and placed into the net.
Day 11: This is the part I wasn’t brave enough to do so thanks to my brother who helped move the lids into the butterfly garden that was provided in our pack. So for those who are apprehensive about starting this, just find someone brave to help you with this part. Some of the cocoons did start rattling but they were placed safely into the butterfly net! 🙂
Day 16: So we waited patiently for the butterflies as the cocoons hung still, and finally today the butterflies emerged! We saw how still and slow they were at the beginning waiting for their wings to get stronger. We are still waiting and watching for all 9 caterpillars to emerge.
So to follow up throughout this life cycle of a butterfly project, we have been working on the following activities:
- Creating a nature journal – looking at the habitats of caterpillars + butterflies (leaves and flowers etc)
- Using Play Doh to make caterpillars.
- Observational drawings of the caterpillars – and you can get super creative using chalk, paint, felt tips, colouring pencils, pipecleaners…
- Doing some adding using caterpillars in jars drawings – this could work for number bonds to 10 too.
- Reading through our ‘Caterpillar to butterfly’ book alongside ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Book.
- Arranging and talking about the life cycle of a butterfly using the life cycle figurines.
- Writing / copying out key words linked to the life cycle of a butterfly.
- Decorating and feeding our butterflies with fresh flowers + nectarine and pieces of oranges.
We now plan to recap over the life cycle of the butterfly, creating our own painted butterflies and having the courage to hold them as we set them free soon. My girls really enjoyed this as did I. Every morning we would go down stairs to see how much the caterpillars grew, and just observing the changes and now how they have emerged as pretty butterflies has been a beautiful experience. It’s a project I highly recommend for the summer whether you home school or want to work on a fun science project with your children at home!