Two weeks ago on Labor Day my family was out on our property and came upon some milkweed plants. I told my husband I wanted to look for monarch butterfly eggs or caterpillars. Imagine my surprise when I found three caterpillars. I pulled a few plants and took the little guys home.
Within two days of bringing the caterpillars home the first one attached itself (upside-down) to the side of the container with some silk.
The following day we were able to observe this chrysalis forming. It literally started turning green from the bottom up. When it was finished it was such a beautiful green and gold.
Right before the butterfly hatched out of its chrysalis we got to see what it looked like inside. It was as if it had lifted up the curtain on its magic show.
The butterfly worked for a relatively short period of time to exit its temporary home. What an amazing change had taken place inside.
We let the butterflies stay in the container for a day to finish drying off. Before releasing our butterflies outside we used magnifying glasses to get a better look at them. The children enjoyed naming the colors and noticing just how different the butterflies were from the caterpillars they were in the beginning.
It was so lovely to watch the butterflies fly away. They flew so high and the children just loved watching them. Who am I kidding? I thoroughly enjoyed the wonder of this process.
I have the book A Monarch Butterfly’s Life which has nice illustrations and gives lots of information about the life cycle of a monarch butterfly. I also found a mini book I had already of a monarch’s life cycle. The children colored it and then we discussed the correct order for the pages. This was a good way for the children to be able to remember how much the caterpillars had changed.
If you ever have an opportunity to witness this amazing process first-hand you won’t be disappointed. There is no better way to study nature than through hands-on experiences.