So back in, oh let's see I think it was um APRIL, I ordered this Butterfly Garden kit from For Small Hands, a wonderful website that sells lots of Montessori-inspired things, from child-sized gardening equipment to arts and crafts to wonderful nature books. I know I will be ordering many, many things from them in the future. I've had my eye on this butterfly kit for a while, as the Montessori preschool where I used to work would do this project with the kids every spring. The kit comes with the mesh "garden" for when the butterflies hatch, and a coupon to order your 5 live caterpillars when you're ready (this depends on what you plan to do, if you're planning on releasing the butterflies then you need to wait until overnight temps stay above 55F. The caterpillars come in a cup with all their food all set at the bottom).
I knew this would be a bit advanced for Donovan, but thought he'd get a kick out of it anyway. And, really, I would get a kick out of it, too. ; ) I tried to take pictures every few days (using a mix of my 50mm lens and my point&shoot camera's macro setting) to show their growth and the different stages. It really is pretty fascinating. D showed a good bit of interest in the caterpillars and butterflies, especially if he saw them moving. We kept the butterflies for a few days after they hatched, and then let them go-- it was neat watching them, but after a while I just felt bad for them with so little space to fly around. That said, I'll probably get the kit again next year, for myself as much as for D... and perhaps that time I'll also borrow a true macro lens to get better pictures of it all. ; )
April 16 (day 1)
April 27 (transferred from the cup to the mesh garden)
May 11 (empty chrysalids)
May 13 (letting them go)
More pictures here.