BUTTERFLY IN A BOX
FIRST- Order your caterpillars: The organizations below offer butterfly rearing kits that come complete with instructions, how to care for the caterpillars, and butterfly facts. You can choose to make your own butterfly box and purchase a refill kit or order their kit including a mesh butterfly house.
Earth's Birthday Project: Their mission is to educate children about the Earth including it's beauty, resources, and conservation. Every year, students in schools throughout the United States raise money to save threatened rainforests. The company also provides simple and fun butterfly activities. Their caterpillars emerge as Painted Lady Butterflies.
Monarch Watch: Monarch Watch promotes conservation of monarch butterflies. Their goals are to further science education in the primary and secondary school systems. They feature an extensive cooperative study network where children help raise, tag, and follow the migrations of the Monarch Butterfly. Everything you would ever want to know about Monarch Butterflies is located on this site.
Insect Lore: This company offers short, easy-to-read insect fact sheets and educational materials. Their butterfly kits come with Painted Lady Butterflies.
SECOND- Gather materials for your butterfly box: An old plastic or glass aquarium makes a great butterfly house. A larger cage allows the butterflies to expand their wings and fly all about. You can also purchase an aquarium for under ten dollars at Walmart or most pet stores. You will need some type of netting to tape to the top edges of the aquarium. I used an old mesh laundry bag for the top of my butterfly box. If you don't have netting you can also try thick paper and punch lots of big holes in it so the butterflies can breathe.
THIRD- Decorate your butterfly box: Your critter visitors will love a comfortable home. Have children tape their favorite art projects to the back of the box. Talk to your child about what a butterfly would like in their indoor home. Discuss that butterflies would probably enjoy outdoor objects like the sun, clouds, rainbows, bugs, trees, plants, and flowers. Cut out pictures from magazines and tape to the box. Place some "play equipment" inside the box like rocks, sticks (prop up against side of box), potted plant, or your child's favorite figurines.
NEXT - Butterfly Essentials: Be ready for when the butterflies come out of the chrysalides (cocoon). Line the bottom of the box with paper towels and change when it gets dirty. Also place something rough in the bottom like a washcloth. If you keep the butterflies in the box to study and observe then you will need to feed them. Arrange cut flowers on the paper towel. Put a small dish or jar lid containing a sponge saturated with a honey/water solution. Juice can be substituted for the honey/water solution. Butterflies like to eat fresh cut fruit including watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe or oranges. Fruit should be changed daily.
LASTLY- Company Arrives: Your caterpillar critters have arrived! Follow care instructions. Once the chrysalides have formed than place them inside your butterfly box as instructed.
TELL YOUR BUTTERFLIES GOODBYE...
THEN RELEASE THEM IN THE SKY
(The miracle metamorphisis is now complete. Take box outdoors and pull off the top. Watch your butterflies flee. Now they are FREE!!)