I wish I would have taken pictures of the caterpillars when they arrived. They came in the mail about a week after I ordered them, and I thought for sure it was going to be a bust. Only one was moving, and it was slow at best. After a day or so I realized that the four had already turned into chrysalides (that term was new for me) and the fifth was quickly on his way. Here is what they looked like before I transferred them out of the cup and into the mesh butterfly home:
It only took a day or so for them to begin hatching (oops, I was supposed to transfer them a lot sooner). From the moment the first butterfly hatched, Quin loved looking at them. All day long I heard, "Hello Little Fellas" and "Watcha doin' Little Fellas". She watched eagerly as each chrysalis hatched. It was quite fascinating!
I like this picture because it shows a butterfly, an occupied chrysalis, and an empty one.
As soon as each butterfly hatched it would hang on the side, and wave its curled wings over and over until they were dry and flat. In about an hour it was flying around the 'house'.
The initial plan was to watch the butterflies for a few days before releasing them. Quin and I soaked toilet paper with sugar water for the butterflies to drink from. It was so neat to see them unroll their proboscis (or just tongue as we called it - can't get too fancy with a three year old). You can see it here:
And then roll it back up:
Every so often, I have glimmers of hopes for compassion for Quin! She was so worried that the butterflies were missing their mommies, that she insisted that we release them within the first 24 hours. After stretching a few more observations in, we let them go in our backyard. The first four butterflies took off faster then we could wave. The fifth one hung around for a few hours! Quin was able to hold it while it drank more sugar water.
It was neat to look closely at it, without the mesh home in the way.
She waved goodbye as each flew away, while screaming "goodbye little fellas, I hope you find your mommies!"
Our last guy who hung around for awhile, enjoyed the grass as well. Quin and I both thought it was cool that he had hair on his body.
And of course.... you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher :) I had to make it a learing experience! When we bought the kit, I also bought some cool plastic pieces that showed each stage of the butterflies life cycle. Throughout our experience, we would get them out and talk about what stage we were at.
We also bought a book about the life cycle. I had to chuckle though because as soon as Quin noticed the stickers in the front of the book, she moved them into a life cycle on the inside front cover and drew a circle around them - that's my girl!!! (I drew the one on the left to show how we had previously been talking about the life cycle)