Today, Evadne shares ways to teach kids about the life cycle:
“Over the summer, we borrowed a book from our local library called From Caterpillar to Butterfly. It was about a classroom's experience of observing the metamorphosis process, and it was a complete hit with my 3.5-year-old son. He became ‘one’ with the class as we read how the children watched their pet caterpillar grow, molt, then form a chrysalis, and about their anticipation as they waited for their caterpillar to emerge as a beautiful Painted Lady butterfly.
Since my son was so fascinated by this transformation, we decided to run with his interest and take a trip to The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA, which is open through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I should confess that, due to my abnormal fear of free-fluttering butterflies (I think I have some sort of issue with the unpredictability of their flying), it was actually my husband who took our children to the butterfly garden. However, they returned from the trip raving about their walk through the huge conservatory space where butterflies surrounded them - some flying in the atrium, some feeding on shrubs & plants, some even stopping to land on their shoulders! They were also very excited to show me the three Papillon Hatching Kits that they had brought home with them (available at The Butterfly Place until September 30th).
Each of our Butterfly Hatching Kits came complete with simple to follow instructions, a Painted Lady caterpillar, as well as food for the caterpillar. All we needed to do was sit back and watch the miracle of metamorphosis unfold. So, over the course of a few days, we regularly peeked into our clear plastic hatching boxes and observed the caterpillars eat, shed their skin, hang upside down in readiness to "pupate," and finally become chrysalis. Then we eagerly waited for the butterflies to emerge.
About a week later, we woke one morning and saw that two of our caterpillars had emerged from their casings as caterpillars no longer (the third caterpillar followed suit a few days later)! With great excitement, we provided honey water for the butterflies to drink and watched, as their wings grew strong within a few hours. When they were ready to fly, we took them outside and opened the lids to their boxes.
Watching them fly away, my son turned to me and echoed the words of the children in From Caterpillar to Butterfly (when it came time for them to release their butterfly) saying, ‘We feel a little bit happy and a little bit sad, right Mama?’ It was a precious experience, from beginning to end.”