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Caterpillars to Butterflies

It’s spring time here at Mary’s Valencia Schoolhouse, and every year the children are thrilled about our Caterpillars and Butterflies project! After waiting for a number of days, the kids and teachers are always very excited to discover the first butterfly finally emerge from it’s cocoon! The children are always so very excited and it’s been a wonderful little project, enabling them to learn first hand by witnessing the process for themselves.

Children Looking at Caterpillars
Kids waiting for the first butterfly to emerge

Our Caterpillars to Butterflies Project

Kids coloring Butterflies

The project begins each spring when we receive our tiny little caterpillars in the mail. The caterpillars arrive packaged inside a clear plastic container, which comes with all the nutritious food they need to grow into healthy butterflies. We always place the container up on a shelf and the children can watch the caterpillars as they grow. After about ten days, the caterpillars crawl to the top of the container and attach themselves to the lid. They shed their exoskeletons one last time, and turn into chrysalides. After about two days, the chrysalides harden and turn into cocoons. Once fully hardened, we’re able to safely relocate the cocoons to our netted butterfly habitat. After being placed in their new habitat, the children are watching everyday, waiting for the butterflies to emerge. Finally, the first butterfly arrives and the kids are soooo excited!

Children Viewing Butterflies in Netted Cage
It’s like magic! From caterpillars to butterflies

Butterflies Emerge, Now What? Watch Out for Birds!

Once the rest of the butterflies emerge, the children will have just a few precious days to observe and help care for them before setting them free. Although we explained how the caterpillars would eventually turn into butterflies, I don’t think the kids are really able to grasp the concept. They were just excited to have some “pet” caterpillars!

Baby Caterpillars and Butterfly in Hand
Here are the Caterpillars & one of the butterflies we released

Once it’s time to release the butterflies it’s important to try and make sure there are no birds around. Unfortunately, while releasing our butterflies we’ve had birds swoop in, seemingly out of nowhere, and snatch our butterflies right out of the air. A few manage to get away freely and they basically stay around our back yard for a few weeks afterwards. The kids love seeing them while outside at play.

What do Butterflies Eat and How To Care for Them?

Children from Past Years

Butterflies like sweetened sugar water and they sip it through their long proboscises. We just mix 2 tsp. of sugar into a 1/2 cup of water. We place flowers in their habitat and sprinkle sweetened water on the flowers daily. They also like oranges and watermelon. After a few short days, we’ll all set the butterflies free so they can go lay eggs and the process will start over once again.

Our annual caterpillar to butterfly project never is always a hit and much easier than hatching baby chicks! It seems the children love it just the same so we keep doing it, nearly every year. Best of all, the kids are having fun and learning at the same time!

Kids Coloring
Children having fun while learning about butterflies

Contact Us about Home Child Care

Mary’s Schoolhouse is also known as Gregory Family Child Care. We are a California State Licensed home child care and have been in business for many years. We are passionate about caring for and teaching all preschool age children in a safe and loving home environment. Discover for yourself what a child does during a typical day at our child care. Please contact us should you have any questions or would like more information about our child care.

Mary Gregory
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We hope you enjoyed our post, Caterpillars to Butterflies at Mary’s Valencia Schoolhouse. It’s been a fun but simple project and the children are having fun and learning at the same time!