Thursday, September 20, 2012

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Everyone loves butterflies.  The delicate beauty, colorful charm, and wonder of their "birth" all add up to one fascinating creature.  This year we wanted to take a look at the butterfly life cycle.  While a lot can be learned from activities and books, I decided to give the kids a little something extra.  We watched the life cycle take place in our home!

I bought The Butterfly Pavilion and then ordered the caterpillars.  

We observed the caterpillars and began a daily chart to record our observations.  The chart helped us see the growth and know the length of each stage.

Soon we began to see the caterpillars crawl to the lid and hang upside down...they were preparing for their chrysalis.  In a few days, they had all formed a chrysalis.

We removed them from the cup and attached them to the side of the butterfly pavilion.  And now the waiting began.  For many days we watched and saw no changes.  

Then one day as Old Crow and I began school I looked up and saw that a butterfly had emerged!!  It was so exciting to see this drastic change in a living creature.

So we quickly mixed together sugar and water for their food.  (Once all the butterflies had emerged we would release them.)  We sprinkled this sugar water on flowers that we placed in the bottom of the pavilion.

We all loved to check on the butterflies regularly.  And each day more butterflies appeared.

Then release day came.  It was such a happy time watching them fly up and away.  Everyone cheered and clapped!  It was also a little sad...having our work come to an end and seeing the butterflies we watched change and grow leave their "nest."  I expect this is similar to what I'll feel in about 12 years. :(

Along with observing the stages of the butterfly, we also did extra activities each day.  Our main project-long activity was completing this free booklet called From Caterpillar to Butterfly.  It is excellent!!

from caterpillar to butterfly booklet

Here is Old Crow completing one of the pages.  He compared the butterfly's body parts to his body parts.  Then he drew a picture of our butterfly.  We would try to complete one page each day.

Some days we read From Caterpillar to Butterfly.  This book goes along perfectly with our project.

I also wrapped Old Crow in toilet paper to symbolize the chrysalis.  We talked about how during this stage there was no visible movement, but a lot of changes were taking place.

And last, but definitely not least, we made an edible life cycle. :)

We gathered mini marshmallows (eggs), gummy worms (caterpillars), Pirouline rolled wafers (chrysalises), and Sociables crackers (butterflies).  On a paper plate we created the life cycle with our snacks.  Crazy Horse and Old Crow worked together to place the snack in the correct spot.  They made an extra one for Memphis Belle to have after nap time.  This was a huge hit!!!

Our time studying butterflies was one of deep fascination and learning.  It was such a joy to experience this with everyone in the family...from Memphis Belle up to Daddy.      



  1. Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing this. I'm planning on doing this with my kids.

    1. Thank you, Wendy! I hope you all enjoy your butterfly experience. :)

  2. What an awesome experience for the kids!! You know how I cry at the drop of a hat well, the hat dropped on this one. I have no idea why but my emotions where all over the place. I went from being excited to crying and then laughing when I saw Memphis Belle's face when she was looking at her "caterpillar". That picture just cracked me up.

    1. It must be the whole newness of life thing. It was lovely to see. :) Love you!

  3. We actually just did this in my class also! :)

    1. It was so fun!!! I'm sure your kids loved it.

  4. I can't get the link for the booklet to work. but aside from that, looks like lots of fun learning activities!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer, for stopping by. I checked the link and it seems to be working fine. Not sure what happened earlier.