The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden is educational fun for children. As a third grade teacher, part of the life science curriculum had my students studying insects. We had to raise butterflies from larvae to adult. Each year we ordered the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden and my students were fascinated. Watching complex metamorphosis up close was something they had never before experienced. In addition, my own children raised their own butterflies from this very same kit. I can say from a lot of personal experience that this is one of the best educational gifts you can give your kids.
What Comes With the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden
When you order your butterfly kit, you will receive a 12 inch waterproof PVC fabric shell where the butterflies will live. The feeder and instructions are also included. The most important part of the kit is the coupon for the larvae. If you plan on releasing the butterflies, be sure your region is at least fifty-five degrees or higher both night and day. You should not release them in colder temperatures, as they are not meant to live in this type of climate. If it is winter, you can keep them in the butterfly garden for their lifespan, which is two to four weeks.
After you mail the coupon, make a book or journal to chart your caterpillars’ progress. My students would note changes in size and behavior. Be sure to take pictures each day and print them out so your kids can glue them next to their journal entries.
What to Do When the Larvae Arrive
It is an incredibly exciting day when your larvae show up in the mail. There will be five, and they look very tiny. Don’t worry-they will not be that small for long! Their special food is included, so all you have to do is observe.
The caterpillar stage lasts seven to ten days. During this time, they will become large and fuzzy. Then slowly, they will creep up to the top of the jar and make their own chrysalis. (Butterflies DO NOT make cocoons, moths do). You can watch them wriggle and make it if they do this during your waking hours.
When all of the larvae have transformed into chrysalides, transfer them to the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden. You will have to wait seven to ten days for them to emerge. Do not stop observing during this quiet part of metamorphosis, as you never know when one will become a butterfly before the others.
Insect Lore guarantees that at least three of the caterpillars will grow into adults. If one does not, this is a life lesson that children can learn from.
The Painted Lady butterflies will not all emerge at the same time. Some may take a day longer than the others. When they do come out, do not be alarmed when you see red spots at the bottom of the garden. This is not blood! This color is from the Painted Lady butterflies wings. It takes some time for it to dry, and the color you see is the excess.
Taking Care of Your Butterflies
Once your butterflies are born, you have to feed them a mixture of sugar water. It is really cool to watch them stick out their own proboscis (tongue) and sip their food. To make the butterfly garden more like a natural habitat, it is suggested that you place grass and flowers inside the garden.
If you plan on releasing them, it may take a short bit of time for the butterflies to figure out that they are free. Once they are airborne, your kids will enjoy chasing them.
The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden is one of the best gifts you can buy your kids. They are learning but don’t realize it. And best of all, when the butterflies are gone, there are no small pieces to pick up.