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Butterfly, Butterfly, Fly Away Home

butterfly garden

Yesterday, we set our Painted Lady butterflies free.  It has been a wonderful few weeks with them, but it was time.  The new caterpillars will be here in a couple of days, and we need to get the “garden” ready for them!

The Butterfly Garden kit comes with everything you need to successfully raise caterpillars to butterflies, including a postcard to send off for your caterpillars (paid for by the cost of the kit).  It took about a week for our caterpillars to reach us, and once they did, the fun began.

The instructions are really simple: place the cup where you can observe the caterpillars, but don’t open it or disturb it.  Once all the caterpillars hang upside down (about a week to 10 days out), then transfer them to the “garden”.  I really thought that would be the hard part, but it was really simple.  When you open the cup, all the caterpillars are suspended from a thin paper layer on top of the cup (similar to onion skin paper).  Simply tape the paper to the side of the garden and wait a few days.

We kept our butterflies for about a week.  We found that orange slices were the best things to feed them.  We would simply wedge about half an orange a day and slip it into the garden.  They were a lot of fun to watch for my little guy.  The entire process was relatively quick, and he never lost interest in watching them go from caterpillar to butterfly.  My older son created a journal and spent a good deal of time each day, writing and drawing his observations.  He even took his journal to school to share with his teacher.

We were sad to say goodbye to our little friends, but the weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and it was time.  We’ll start the whole process over again next week when our new buddies arrive.


AquasaursLast week, my boys received a package in the mail – it was an Aquasaurs kit I had ordered.  An “Aquasaur” is a crustacean (named by the company, Uncle Milton, I assume) that dates back to prehistoric times.  It is a tiny organism that thrived in standing pools of water and could withstand years of inactivity and dry conditions in its egg state.  These hardy water-dwellers can be “hatched” in the right conditions and will grow to be about two inches in length, provided the conditions are right.

And therein lies the catch – if the conditions are right.  Reading the instructions is a must with this set up.  Stock up on spring water – at least 2 gallons of it – so that the container and all the “parts” can be properly rinsed.  Another big condition is the temperature of the water.  Our home tends to cool down in the evenings, so we are supplementing with a small desk lamp next to the aquarium to keep the water between 72F and 80F. 

I must say, that probably the best part of this entire process was that everything (including the eggs and food) was included in this kit.  The only thing that is needed outside of the kit is spring water.  There is no certificate to send off for larvae or a vial of animals, no special food to purchase from a pet store, no additional accessories needed.  Everything is provided.  The instruction sheet also gives some background to the animals and even gives you ordering information should you choose to purchase even more eggs (which I am sure we will do). 

Aquasaurs make a great pet set-up for children who are fascinated with creatures of any kind.  For my dinosaur-boys, this was an ideal choice.  Each day is a learning experience with our prehistoric pals.

Aquasaurs are provided by Uncle Milton and may be purchased through Wonderbrains!

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