February 23, 2010

Insect Unit #5: Growing a Butterfly

They hatched. Is that what it's called? Broke out of their cacoon? Emerged? I did study this stuff--I promise!

I read several complaints online about buying caterpillars for the purpose of observing metamorphosis--only to be sent dud caterpillars. Ours all did fine even after spending two days under the very hot sun. (We were visiting my parents when the caterpillars were delivered.)

For several weeks the highlight of my children's day was checking on their caterpillars. I was worried that they would lose interest, but I didn't realize just how fast the process is. One day you're looking at these tiny caterpillars and the next day they are huge and the next day they are climbing to the roof and hanging upside down. Strange. Okay, not quite that fast but fast enough to keep everyone in the house interested. It was fun to watch my hubby's nightly routine change from get home from work, kiss wife, put away keys to get home from work, kiss wife, check on caterpillars, put away keys. Like I said--it was really interesting.

I bought our butterfly house from Delta Science but you can buy them from numerous internet sites. Amazon was cheaper than Delta Science, just an FYI. Also, that strange magnifying glass Miriam is using is the lid to a bug observation jar. It is a great idea--a container with a magnifying glass lid and then an additional magnifying glass attached to the lid. My kids loved it for a few weeks. And then they wrecked it. Not so surprising. Despite the loss of the container, the kids used the lid for months until it mysteriously disappeared.

There are lots of bug magnifying jars out there. If you've had success with one--meaning it held up to usage by children--please, let me know!

PS Yes, I am aware that going out and finding a caterpillar is cheaper. Don't hate me for being lazy.

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