We loved learning about the life cycle with our Safari Ltd Butterfly Life Cycle models and the free printables from Helpful Garden. One of my sponsors (see sidebar) Free Spirit Kids sells a lovely set, too. However, it is an abstract concept so it’s great if kids can have more real-life experiences first.
So I decided to bring it into our own backyard and home by:
- Observing and researching which butterfly species frequent our area,
- Researching which host plants (plants they lay their eggs on and the larvae – caterpillar – eat) they prefer,
- Researching which flowers they are attracted to as butterflies,
In our yard we’re fortunate enough to have a couple of flowers that attract several species of butterfly. However, when I was growing up I remember watching Monarch butterflies growing on Swan plants (aka Balloonplant – a species of Milkweed) which are a weed and are easy to spot with their large seed pods.
So I got my husband to dig one up to bring home. It wasn’t an overly healthy plant but we planted some of the seeds too.
We have seen eggs, watched caterpillars grow (and several get eaten.. but I suppose that’s part of it all) and are excitedly waiting for our chrysalis to darken and a butterfly to emerge.
We have watched a time lapsed video of a life cycle and Cameron keeps saying “it takes so many weeks!”. It’s a lesson on patience too, hah.
Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more.
Update: Cameron held my hand and pulled me excitedly towards our chrysalis this morning. The reason? He could see it has darkened and the developing wings of the butterfly!