the caterpillar to butterfly project

this was the first year that we tried out raising caterpillars, watching them grow and build cocoons and then hatch as butterflies. it was a fascinating project, and one that we will certainly repeat in years to come. i tried to keep it simple, as my little guy is only 3-and-a-half, but i think once the children are older we could do more research and try out more art projects related to the topic. i realized i had to point out to spencer certain developments, the growth or any details i noticed. if i hadn't, he could well have forgotten about the caterpillars for days. but for me, that was exactly what part of this was all about: teaching him to observe and notice, fostering patience and appreciating slowness.

we started our caterpillar to butterfly experience with a simple sticker art project. it had just the right skill level and was enjoyed very much. i drew some caterpillars and butterflies onto a sheet of paper and he filled the circles with small color dot stickers from the office supply store.

we then set off to the library. as i said before i wanted to keep it simple, so the book that we mainly looked at and turned to was actually the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. i chose two other books from the library, namely Once There Was a Caterpillar and a german book called Lilli, der Schmetterling, which has gorgeous illustrations.

i bought the habitat which included the voucher for 5 caterpillars and detailed instructions at a store here in hamburg, but it can also be ordered on the internet, i just googled "raising caterpillars". the actual caterpillars came by post from Insect Lore, which is where you can also buy the whole set or order another set of caterpillars to raise.

releasing the butterflies a few days after they hatched was not an issue (as i had first worried about), but was accompanied by waves and well-wishes, "bye bye butterflies, have fun flying around and looking for your friends!"


Kim said...

It is such a magical experience. We have just started searching the milkweed for monarch eggs. Planning to hatch as many as we can this year :)

Happy there were no issues with saying good bye, that was something I was concerned about last summer when we did it for the first time.

simona said...

I'm so happy the experience worked out! Thanks for sharing some pictures!

karen said...

what fun! My kids raised butterflies and ladybugs once and it was a great time :)

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