When I was given the opportunity to review a product from Homeroom Teacher, I jumped at the chance.
As I perused their fantastic selection of products, I found something for teachers, homeschooling parents, daycare directors, or just concerned parents, like us. They carry everything from classroom furniture to arts and crafts, as well as games and classroom decorations. I love that you can search by age, product, or subject. And you really can't beat their prices. Truly fantastic!
|The butterfly habitat|
So for our review item, we chose the Butterfly Garden. This is a great activity for your home or your classroom...especially if you have little science and animal lovers like we do! We ordered this kit and received a butterfly habitat and instructions on how to order our live caterpillars. I immediately signed online to order the caterpillars (an additional $5 for handling) and they showed up just a few days later. Five living and breathing caterpillars in a jar along with the food they needed to grow into painted lady butterflies. Patrick was so ecstatic (that is NO exaggeration) when they arrived.
So the waiting game was on. Luckily our us and our impatient six year old, our caterpillars were well on their way of developing when they arrived. Although the instructions note that it may take 7 to 10 days for them to climb into their chrysalides, ours had climbed in about on the 3rd day we had them. Honestly, I don't know if Patrick's (lack of) patience would have held out a full week and a half!
|Caterpillars are all in cocoons now|
Once they had attached themselves to the top of the container, we followed the instructions to remove the paper backing on the lid (which they were attached to) and pin it inside the butterfly habitat. Although they guaranteed that at least 3 of the 5 would develop into fully grown butterflies, I was encouraged that all five made it into their cocoons.
|Time to move the chrysalides to the habitat|
|Safe and sound in the habitat- waiting on the hatching|
Chip and I took bets as to when they would start hatching. Once again, the instructions indicated it would be 7-10 days. I guessed 9 days. Chip guessed 7. On Saturday morning (the 8th day), we awoke to find this little guy fluttering around in the netting. We were so excited! You would have thought it was Christmas morning for all of us!
|Work up Saturday morning to this guy. Patrick named him "Butter"|
Following the instructions, we picked some flowers from our yard (azaleas) and dropped them in the bottom of the butterfly habitat. We then sprinkled them with sugar water with the dropper supplied with the kit.
|Patrick sprays the sugar water on the azalea flowers we put in the bottom.|
Within a couple of days, we were found all five of our butterflies hatching from their cocoons. About a day after the first one emerged, two broke out at EXACTLY the same time. I called them the twins of our group. While they were still acclimating themselves to being on the outside, the 4th one started coming out. We actually got a picture of that! You can see two here on the paper and between them, the wings of the next one starting to come out!
|Two sitting on the paper, but you can see the next one's wings starting to emerge.|
About a full day after coming out of their chysalides, each butterfly began flying about.
|The "oldest" one wanted out!|
|Our butterflies' home.|
The instructions noted that they would live about 3 weeks after hatching, but we wanted to let them go and enjoy most of their lives free. So about 3 days after all had come out of their cocoons (and had flown around in the netting about 2 days), we let them go. Patrick really wanted one to climb on his hand before flying away. We encourage him to let them crawl and not to try to grab them.
|Time for the release.|
|Patrick desperately wanted to hold them to let them go.|
Happily, he was able to cup two of them in his hands before letting them go.
|So happy he got to hold them to release them.|
I must tell you that this is, by far, the most amazing activity we have ever done together as a family. We told all of our neighbors about it and they were amazed too. I ever took the habitat outside to show them off like a proud momma!
So this whole experience, although meant for our children, was truly incredible for all of us. Even though we KNOW the life cycle of a butterfly, to see it in action in person was awesome. Such an amazing world we live in!
What's the best part? The habitat is reusable and we can reorder more caterpillars if we want. =)
Homeroom Teacher can help you with a project like this, or something completely different, for your family or classroom.
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We were allowed to review this Butterfly Garden. No positive opinions were guaranteed. We really LOVED this activity and want you to enjoy the same!