When Imagido asked us to review their Butterfly Garden we jumped at the chance. As a primary school teacher I had used one for several years. The kit gave my class the opportunity to watch caterpillars change into chrysalides and then emerge as beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies. It was a fantastic educational tool to teach the children about the life cycle of a butterfly.
I had assumed Adam would be too young to benefit from the experience but decided to give it a try. Our Butterfly Garden box contained:
– a pop-up butterfly habitat – it is a free standing colourful net enclosure that is lightweight
– detailed but clear instructions on how to care for your caterpillars
– a voucher code to order 5 caterpillars
– a feeding pipette
As live caterpillars could obviously not be stored in the box, you receive a voucher code which enables you to order 5 caterpillars. These are ordered through the Insect Lore website and has an additional postage and packaging cost. The caterpillars can to be delivered to you at a convenient time between March and September.
A few days later we received a small clear plastic container with tiny air holes in the lid which held our 5 tiny caterpillars. The bottom of the jar has a fatty substance which is all the food that the caterpillars need. They remain inside the jar until they become chrysalis.
I had been completely wrong in my assumption that Adam would be too young to enjoy the caterpillars. From the second they arrived he was captivated. Every day started with Adam wanting to see if the caterpillars had grown overnight. As the days passed Adam liked to measure them. He became very attached to them and would frequently visit his Butterfly Garden throughout the day.
It was amazing to watch the caterpillars grow, move around the enclosure and eat away at their food. They grew into large black hairy caterpillars. After a couple of weeks the caterpillars started making their way up to the top of the container. From here they formed a chrysalis and hung from the paper that is on the underside of the sealed lid. One caterpillar took a little longer than the rest so we had to wait before transferring the paper lid and pinned it to the enclosure.
This part was difficult for Adam to understand. He could no longer go and get the caterpillar container out whenever he wanted and the Butterfly Garden had to be put out of reach so he didn’t disturb the chrysalis. We spent the time reading a variety of life cycle books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, From Caterpillar to Butterfly and The Crunching Munching Caterpillar (affiliate links).
Several days later and our first Painted Lady butterfly emerged. I had spent all morning with my camera poised to film the butterfly’s first few moments. Unfortunately the butterfly hatched when I was picking Adam up from Pre-School so we both missed it. If I thought Adam was excited by the caterpillars it was nothing like his reaction to the butterflies. He enjoyed preparing the butterfly food, carefully placing it into the enclosure and repeatedly cuddling the habitat. I caught him several times talking to the butterflies and singing to them.
We fed our butterflies pieces of orange and sugar water. We tried banana but the butterflies kept getting their wings stuck onto the pieces which involved several rescues. Over the next few days Adam cared for the butterflies as we continued to wait for the final chrysalis to hatch. I was convinced that it hadn’t survived but it surprised us by emerging during bath time.
We let the butterflies go on Adam’s birthday. We went to Nanny’s house as her garden is filled with a variety of flowers. It was a bitter sweet moment. Adam had become so attached to the butterflies that he wanted to keep them.
It was a very windy day so the butterflies didn’t stay around us long. When my class released them in the past the butterflies had stayed with the children and let them hold them.
The Butterfly Garden from Imagido would make a fantastic gift or an educational tool for at home. As the caterpillars can be ordered at any tine between March and September you do not have to consider immediately when you want to have your butterfly experience. Additional caterpillars can be ordered so that habitat can be used time and time again. I had expected the resource to be more suited for a school age child but Adam hugely benefited from the experience.
Disclaimer: We were given a Butterfly Garden from Imagido to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
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