Hatching Butterflies with Your Kids

Like most, my kids are enthralled with bugs.

My oldest is particularly interested in butterflies.  So, when my mom said that one of her citrus trees with full of swallowtail caterpillars, I told her to be sure to save us one so that we could watch it turn into a butterfly.

Being the awesome grandma that she is, my mom boxed one up and sent it to us via priority mail.  The little gal arrived thirsty but very much alive and so our butterfly adventure began.

First we took our little caterpillar out of the box and watched her crawl around on a plate.  That was fun.

Then we made her a cozy little home.  Be sure that you have lots of whatever your caterpillar likes to eat on hand.  They won’t eat just anything.  Every caterpillar likes something different.  The swallowtails that we have out here in Arizona like to eat citrus.  So we clipped a bunch of citrus leaves and stuck them in our container.

Then we just kept an eye on her.  We sprinkled water in the container everyday and changed out the old leaves with new.  You may not know it, but caterpillars poop A LOT.  So there was lots of cleaning to do everyday.  Then, all of a sudden, one day she was in her chrysalis.  We didn’t see it happen and we didn’t get any good pictures.  Bummer.  
While she was in her chrysalis (which I think she was in for about two weeks), we had to be sure to keep her environment moist.  If the chrysalis dries out, then the changing caterpillar can die.  So we kept a moist sponge in the bottom of the container and we sprayed her with water from a spray bottle daily.  
Then one morning we noticed the chrysalis looking a little different.  We watched but nothing happened.  We left and went to the zoo for the day and when we came home, a beautiful butterfly was sitting in the bottom of our container!
We took the container outside and gently brought her out.  She hung around for a while, drying her wings, and then she flew off!  

It was such a fun experience and the girls were amazed.  I think we’ll do it a bunch more times as we find different caterpillars.

Here are a couple of great books about butterflies that I have read with the kids:

National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OBR1KY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008OBR1KY&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20

Butterflies: Level Four (Usborne First Reading) – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0794519407/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0794519407&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20   (This is Lucy’s FAVORITE book and it is so informative!)

Shared on:

From the Farm Blog Hop – http://thismindbeinyou.com/2013/05/from-the-farm-blog-hop-35.html
Frugally Sustainable – http://frugallysustainable.com/2013/06/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-75/
Wildcrafting Wednesday – http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/06/wildcrafting-wednesday-23.html
The Backyard Farming Connection – http://www.backyardfarmingconnection.com/2013/06/the-backyard-farming-connection-35.html

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