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Painted Lady Butterflies!

September 29, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

Our little school is called Wasatch Intermountain Academy.  In its heyday there were nearly 50 students.  Now as I get closer to retirement we have just a few students, a ninth grader, a 4 year old preschooler and a few toddlers.  This fall as one of our activities to start the school year we decided to raise Painted Lady Butterflies.  They’re so fun to watch and the kids learn a lot about science in the process.  I ordered our caterpillars from Insect Lore.

I checked the mail diligently because I didn’t want the little guys to fry in the hot mail box.  They arrived in the late afternoon on the Tuesday after Labor Day (after the kids had gone home for the day) and I promptly got them from the mailbox and brought them inside.  I’ve ordered them before and they are usually little teeny tiny things.  This time they were pretty big caterpillars, but there were six of them in each of the two jars I had ordered!  The kids got to observe and enjoy them (we ate gummy caterpillars to commemorate the experience) for three days before the weekend.  Over the weekend they decided to change into their chrysalids (so the kids missed most of this process).  I think there was two caterpillars hanging from the top of the jars when the kids got to see a couple of them make the transformation.

After three days we transferred the chrysalids to the home in which the butterflies would emerge.  The students got to see the chrysalids wiggle to warn of predators as we moved them (honest guys, we weren’t going to hurt you).  We got them settled into their new home and watched anxiously for them to emerge as butterflies.  Of course, once again, most of them made their grand entrance while the children were home for the weekend!  But there were two chrysalids that still contained butterflies on Monday morning.  One of them was able to sneak out while we weren’t looking.  I decided to try to remove the paper that had empty chrysalids, being careful not to disturb the one that remained on the second paper.  Apparently I did disturb it because right while I was doing that the final butterfly emerged.  Luckily my ninth grade student was right there watching.  I was able to get pictures with its wings still folded!  Quite an amazing experience!!

We spent the next couple of days observing the butterflies and feeding and caring for them.  My three cats enjoyed observing them as well and if I would have let them they would have “taken care of them!” as well.  Finally on Thursday I decided it was time (before the cats really did get them) to let the butterflies fly free.  It was a fun and exciting experience.  The kids got to hold the butterflies on their fingers and run after them as they flew away.  It was so much fun, but I could tell G-2 was just a little bit sad.  It was hard to say goodbye to our beautiful friends.  Then we went inside and had gummy butterflies to celebrate!

Raising butterflies is a great experience.  We were able to get some beautiful pictures and it was an adventure the kids will remember all of their lives!

If you’d like to raise butterflies with your kids you can find them on Insect Lore at http://www.insectlore.com/

Here are some of our photos for you to enjoy:

1. Caterpillars

1. Caterpillars

2. Forming Chrysalids

2. Forming Chrysalids

3. Waiting for butterflies to emerge.

3. Waiting for butterflies to emerge.

4. Settled in their butterfly habitat

4. Settled in their butterfly habitat

5. A butterfly emerges!

5. A butterfly emerges!

6. 12 Butterflies!

6. 12 Butterflies!

7. Painted Lady Butterflies

7. Painted Lady Butterflies

8. Feeding and caring for butterflies.

8. Feeding and caring for butterflies.

9. Saying goodbye to our butterflies.

9. Saying goodbye to our butterflies.

10. Releasing the butterflies.

10. Releasing the butterflies.

11. Butterflies taking flight!

11. Butterflies taking flight!

12. Celebrating with Gummy Butterflies!

12. Celebrating with Gummy Butterflies!

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