One of my favorite things about Ryan's school is that they nurture a love for nature. On the school grounds they have goats and chickens, a fish pond, and vegetable and herb gardens. Some days when I pick him up he's feeding the goats and other days he's helping water the vegetable garden. The school is also located next to a beautiful park where the children take walks during the week and see animals like birds, frogs and snakes.
I have loved watching how Ryan's time in this environment has taught him to be curious about life around him and also to be careful with that life. So when my friend wrote about growing butterflies, I was inspired and thought this would be the perfect experiment for Ryan. Here's how it works:
- Buy a butterfly garden kit with live caterpillars. I bought this one from Amazon: Original Butterfly Garden with Live Cup of Caterpillars.
- The kit comes with five caterpillars in a small plastic cup that has all of the food they need to become chrysalides. It takes about one week from the time that the kit arrives to when the caterpillars make this transition.
- Then once all five caterpillars are chrysalides you transfer them to a mesh habitat where they live for about another week as they break out of their shell and transition to butterflies.
- Once you have butterflies, it's time to feed them in the mesh habitat. The kit recommends feeding sugar water, but when we visited Brookside Gardens we learned that they can also eat watermelon, so I put a few pieces in the habitat for them.
- After about a day of gaining strength we all gathered in the front yard to release our butterflies.
As we were growing the butterflies in our home, I found myself checking on them throughout the day—as caterpillars and then as chrysalids. And Ryan would check on them too; sometimes he would suddenly stop everything he was doing and run over to see their progress. Now I'm finding myself missing them, but looking forward to doing this again in the future.