Great Winter Nature Activity: Butterfly Rearing Kit

Although there are many ways to play outside in winter, sometimes an indoor activity is the call. If that’s the case, you might want to look into this activity that allows you to witness first-hand the life cycle of the butterfly — a Butterfly Rearing Kit.

I got to witness a Butterfly Rearing Kit at my daughter’s pre-school. It’s a completely delightful experience and makes a great indoor nature activity for winter or any time of year. The kit comes with a foot-tall cylindrical net cage that can be hung, placed on a tabletop or stored until you’re ready to use it; five or more caterpillars (depending on kit size); food; all materials needed to perform feedings; and complete instructions. It’s an ingenious way to be able to witness the fascinating life cycle as the caterpillars transition to chrysalises, and finally to Painted Lady butterflies.

Caterpillars can even be shipped at a later date. The Nature Gift Store guarantees that a certain amount of butterflies will hatch within three weeks. At that time, if it’s warm enough, they can be let out to fly on their own.

The Butterfly Site also has terrific information about butterflies, their rearing and life cycles, conservation, migration, and much, much more. Reading about glorious butterflies makes me want to watch their metamorphosis again with my family, perhaps in time to release butterflies in spring so they can graze from the local wildflowers and begin the process of the adult life cycle.

In addition, this week PBS’ is running a one-hour documentary, The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, about the twice-yearly 2,000-mile migration of the Monarch butterfly. The above PBS link has information about when you can see the show locally, as well as clips you can watch.

Photo: Nature Gift Store

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