Friday, November 22, 2013

Science in Action: Our Butterflies

For Kendra's third birthday, my dad gave her a butterfly garden that included a coupon to send away for a batch of caterpillars to raise into butterflies.  Pretty neat stuff!  But since she is a February baby, I put it away to wait for warmer weather so that we wouldn't be sending butterflies off into certain death upon release (assuming we could get them to fly away at all--the crickets I buy for our tarantulas go dormant very quickly during the winter).

And somehow it slipped my mind during the months of warm weather.  It was as if, I don't know, I was preoccupied with growing a baby while raising an infant and toddler.  Or something.

But I did remember this year and at the tail end of summer, I sent away for Kendra's caterpillars.  By the time they arrived, they had all spun cocoons and were dangling from the cup's lid.  Unfortunately, I have no documentation of this stage.

So we set up the garden according to instructions and waited.

And waited.

Aaaaand waited.

It was really only about a week of waiting, but that's a significant chunk of time to a four-year-old!  Finally though, one day while Kendra was at school butterflies started popping out of all those little cocoons.  It happened very quickly and I never saw any of them come out, they just appeared one by one.  There was a cocoon that had detached from a hanging position and looked a little off compared to the others that we thought had died but we placed it in the garden anyway.  At one point I thought I saw it moving but after a full minute of trying to hold still enough to see it, I gave up.  But then a few minutes later, another butterfly appeared.

She was thrilled.

It didn't even bother her that she hadn't been able to witness the actual hatchings.

Elliot was pretty into them as well...

We kept them around for about a week and then waited for the warmest day to release them.  We decided to take them to the butterfly park that is part of the nearby city park and make a family event out of it.

Then we had to find the perfect spot.  We definitely had a good selection to chose from!

 And from there, it was time to let them go.  Even though they were technically Kendra's butterflies, I let Elliot release a couple as well.

It was a super cool time for the whole family--we will definitely be doing this again!

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