The Time Of My Life

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Life Changes

A few weeks ago, I went into Toys R Us to find a birthday gift for my son.  I saw this neat butterfly kit, but I didn't buy it at the time.  Later, I found it again at TJMaxx for a cheaper price.  I also had a gift card for TJMaxx, so I went ahead and picked it up. 

You have to go online (or you can send it by snail mail) to order your caterpillars.  We got three in the mail.  Remember to open it up quickly because they are living creatures inside. 
The critters come in a neat cup that has gooey stuff on the bottom (that's their food). 
My son named is caterpillars, which I thought was cute. They soon became like pets. We checked in with them every day to see how much they grew.  In about 10 days, they began to make their cocoons. chrysalis (thanks Sara)
Once they have spun themselves into their cozy new homes, you need to open the cup and gently take them out.  They will be fixed onto the top of the lid which has a thin piece of paper.  Take the paper and safety pin it onto the mesh container. 
They will remain in this state for about a week or more.  You want to keep checking because once they have hatched from their chrysalis, you need to start feeding them sugar water. Here is Ben waiting for them to come out.  He's playing peek-a-boo with them. 

So, the big day arrived and one by one they emerged. 

Now, following the directions, you pick fresh flowers from your yard (or get some from a friend or store) and put droplets of sugar water on them.  The butterflies feed off of these.  Ours were so hungry, the minute I put the flowers in, they landed on them and went to town.  I guess they did go through a lot of hard work to break free from their cocoons :)

We went to the library to find a book about butterflies that a 3 year old would understand.  I found a cute one called the "Crunching, Munching Caterpillar."  It's about a caterpillar that notices all kinds of animals that can fly and wishes he could fly too. 

So, after a few days (remember to add the sugar water daily), the family went out to our small garden and released them. 

One landed on our dog Maggie!
This was one of the neatest things we've done together as a family. It's very simple to do. If you can't find them in the stores, you may want to go online and see if you can order the kit directly from the company.  We enjoyed doing this so much, I'm sure we'll do it again next year.

Have you ever done this? I'd love to hear about your experience. Or do you have another idea of a fun science project for a toddler?