Growing Butterflies & Ladybirds

Last year the girls and I ‘grew’ our own butterflies. It was an amazing experience for us all – I mean, them, mostly, of course, but I loved every minute of it.

butterflyThe butterflies arrive in the post in a small tub with self contained ‘food’. Over a period of about 2 – 4 weeks, you watch the butterflies go from tiny caterpillars to huge ones, to chrysalis, and eventually, to butterfly. Feed them for a few days, look after them while their wings strengthen, and before you know it, you have five fully-fledged butterflies ready to send out into the world to help cross pollinate the plants in your area, bringing new life into your environment. I find it quite an emotional thing, letting those butterflies go!

You can buy the butterfly kit at any time, but the company will only send the butterflies out from March onwards, to make sure that they’re looked after, and do as much as they can to make sure the little insects have a good start to life.

Bring Up A Butterfly

If you’re worried that you wouldn’t know how to raise a butterfly, it’s honestly easier than fish! You largely just sit and watch them for four weeks, but it is an incredible learning journey for children too.

There are fantastic resources to help you on your journey too, like the Butterfly Life Cycle from Twinkl or one of the ample free resources online too. And don’t forget Youtube – there’s everything from songs to kids shows about the butterfly life cycle

Growing butterflies is so rewarding – I can’t wait for our new kit to arrive.

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Butterfly Learning

Mondays tend to be either field trip or home days for us, and today was a home day. I bought a bunch of activity books some time ago, and today we opened up Insects and Bugs and used the first page: butterflies, for a theme.

We read the very limited text on the pages, and matched up the blank spaces to the butterfly stickers, which Ameli matched up pretty quickly and easily.  We discussed how, just as we are ‘people’, but have different colours, hair, and faces between races, butterflies are a ‘species’ and have different wings and names, but similarities within their own types. We recognised the ‘Monarch’ and ‘Swallowtail’ butterflies, and just spoke about the patterns on the others.

I then drew a picture of a butterfly, which Ameli coloured, and used some of the left over stickers , the extras, to decorate the butterfly.

We still wanted some more crafts, so I cut butterfly wings out of cardboard, and cut holes to make shapes. We decorated scraps of paper with glitter and glued them to the back of the butterfly, so the ‘holes’ shone through sparkly – Ameli loved that.

Next, she coloured, stamped and decorated the butterfly.

Finally, we watched a video on youtube about the life cycle of a butterfly, starting at the caterpillar, moving to pupa and finally emerging as a butterfly. Ameli role-played the life-cycle, by crawling around the floor and ‘eating’ a (green) cushion (leaf) then rolling up in a blanket (pupa) before emerging as a beautiful butterfly. Aviya enjoyed the pupa stage, but didn’t really get the rest of it!

I wanted to end the day watching A Bug’s Life, but couldn’t find the DVD.

It was good fun, anyway, dong arty crafty stuff and throwing in a little learning too!