Watching caterpillars transform into butterflies is a neat experience. Just ask my students.
We watched metamorphisis firsthand thanks to Insect Lore. But my own kids and I have caught caterpillars from the wild and witnessed their transformation. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to look for caterpillars in their natural habitat, so purchasing caterpillars from Insect Lore is a guarantee. Here's what we did:
These are days 1-5 from opening.
When we returned from the weekend, the caterpillars were no longer tiny. They were big and FAT. At the end of day 7, the caterpillars formed chrysalides on the lids. So we pinned them to the top of the mesh basket-habitat. And waited.
Again we returned from the weekend, and guess what greeted us? Butterflies! We had a release party, and boy, the kids had a blast holding them in their hands before they flew away.
I highly recommend this activity AND insect lore because all five of our five caterpillars became butterflies. It's also fun to read a book and see it come to life. (This is part of our #readitliveit or #beyondthebook series.) It builds background knowledge which aids in comprehension.
SIDENOTE: It's important to plan your butterfly unit around warmer weather to give the released butterflies a chance to survive. So spring is probably the ideal time. Good luck and have fun!