Children’s Favorite Insects #2 – Caterpillars and Butterflies

Caterpillars hold a special place in the heart of many small children.  There is something about their furry little bodies that they can’t resist.  Whilst many adults can be squeamish when it comes to looking at, and touching, the wriggly bugs, toddlers are often mesmerized by them.

No doubt the brilliant pre-schoolers book by Eric Carle; The Very Hungry Caterpillar has done much to increase the popularity of caterpillars amongst our little people.  The book charts a caterpillar’s week of eating until he transforms into a beautiful butterfly.

The life cycle of a butterfly is something that fascinates children and adults alike, that a hairy, wriggly bug can turn into a wondrous creature that is as light as a feather and pretty as a picture.

Live butterfly kits are an excellent way to teach children about caterpillars and butterflies, they can see up close the changes that the insect undergoes.  Butterfly kits can be used for an insect lesson plan for the classroom or home-school.

You can study their life cycle, behavior, anatomy, and how different environmental factors affect them. These kits are fun and popular for hands-on insect lesson plans! Caterpillars take approximately 3 weeks to develop into butterflies and can even be reared inside during the colder months, making it a great all-year round activity.

Often times, the caterpillar gets a bad ride, vegetable gardeners are not so keen to have their prized cabbages and lettuces munched away at, but caterpillars and butterflies can be a fabulously colorful addition to a flower garden.

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. By planting a butterfly garden with all of the right kinds of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs on, you will certainly have a yard full of butterflies throughout the growing season. Butterfly gardens can be any size – a window box, part of your landscaped yard, or even a wild untended area on your property.

Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from our article “Butterfly Gardening by Area”. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. All of the plants will certainly be native to your area and therefore easy to grow with the right conditions and care. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on. These are called ‘Host Plants’ and you can read about them in our article on “Butterfly Host Plants.”

Another way to attract butterflies is to have feeders and butterfly houses.  Slots in the Butterfly Houses keep birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather. Place the butterfly house in your garden, and when it gets cool at night the butterflies seek shelter and may use your house. By having a nectar source close by (flowers and/or our butterfly feeder) butterflies are more likely to visit your butterfly house. Each Butterfly House has a door for cleaning and for placing long twigs inside to give butterflies a nice resting spot. Have fun and take delight in watching your beautiful new neighbors enjoy their home.



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