You know how our kids are often excited to leave home and go out on their own?  Well, that is what thought came to my mind as it was time for us to let our butterflies out into the big world.

We have been raising butterflies from a kit that came with a coupon to receive caterpillars by mail, a butterfly enclosure and instructions.  Each step has been very interesting and informative, not only for our kids, but for me as well.  I have posted about each phase and you can read about the caterpillar stage, the chrysalis stage and the emerging from the chrysalis.

It was now time for them to go and explore the world for themselves.  The kids were excited to help let them out of their enclosure which except for the cups they were raised in caterpillars, it is the only home they have known.

My son was the first to put his hand inside and bring out a butterfly.  He was just so tickled that a butterfly was sitting on his hand.
Next, it was my daughter’s turn…
Now Gracie is normally a bit squeamish about bugs, but she was simply entranced by this butterfly.
She carefully put him on my Purple Lilac Vine.
It only paused a few seconds, before it flew away.

The makers of the butterfly kit highly recommend releasing the butterflies into the wild as they are beneficial to the environment.  They are important pollinators and even though the caterpillars were raised in a sterile environment, they know what to do as soon as they are released as adult butterflies.
My kids had such a great time holding the butterflies before they flew off.  **As you can see, the hand holding this butterfly is quite dirty and obviously belongs to my only son.  I have raised 4 daughters and their hands never seemed to get as dirty as his does 😉
This one made straight for my flowering Palo Verde tree…
I mentioned in my last post that we did have a surprise occurrence while raising butterflies.  One of the chrysalis had a split down the side and the butterfly in it emerged a day later then the others.  It could not completely get out of the chrysalis – it was stuck on it’s lower end.  It was also obvious that the wings were deformed.  My husband helped to take off as much of the chrysalis he could from the back end of the butterfly, but part of it would not come off.
You can see part of the chrysalis still attached to the end and the wings were not completely formed.  However, he was able to fly a little.  And so we put him on my Lantana shrub, where he would not have to fly much and could enjoy all of the flowers he could.
You can see his tongue sipping the nectar out of the Lantana flowers.
I must confess that this Butterfly Kit was a spontaneous purchase.  We saw it our local warehouse store and bought it for my daughter.  I have been so pleased at this entire experience.  
My kids and I have learned so much and I highly recommend trying this.  You can purchase your own kit at www.insectlore.com  They even have other kits available where you can raise ladybugs, praying mantis, spiders, ants and worms.  Now, I just need to decide what we will raise next.
Thank you for going on this journey with me and for leaving your wonderful comments.
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

26 replies
  1. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    Noelle, what a fun experiment for you all. I'll definitely try this when the boys are a little older. The butterflies are beautiful. Perhaps they'll choose to stay around your garden since you have so many flowering plants for them to enjoy.

    Reply
  2. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I would encourage you to also try a Monarch chrysalis which is very pretty and has a golden band near the top.

    These are majestic creatures and fun to watch as well. We did this with 3rd graders in our elementary school and they loved it!

    Reply
  3. Darla
    Darla says:

    You have started an addiction! This is the same kit that got us started. Now when your Monarch caterpillars come you get some milkweed and put in a narrow neck vase of water, put it in the cage and watch them grow!! We can't wait to do this again….I love your children's precious faces…oh and for Grace…a butterfly is not a bug! lol

    Reply
  4. Rosie@leavesnbloom
    Rosie@leavesnbloom says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed every update on the butterflies – I think this is such a great educational tool. Some of my friends homeschool in the states so I'm going to forward this link on to them as it would be a great lesson.

    Reply
  5. Kate
    Kate says:

    Hi, Noelle; It's been so fun following this adventure on your blog. What a happy way for little kids to appreciate wildlife.

    Reply
  6. Becca's Dirt
    Becca's Dirt says:

    What an interesting project. I know the kids learn so much from this and will never forget. They learn to appreciate the pro-creation of animals. Thanks for sharing this with us. Becca

    Reply
  7. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    Hi Noelle
    I have been so behind with blogging recently but so pleased I didn't miss this lovely post.

    A butterfly farm is such a treat for children.

    Reply
  8. Annelie
    Annelie says:

    Those will be such wonderful childhood memories. The pics remind me that I have to order some butterflies for my son. Part of a b-day present from last year.

    Reply
  9. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    That butterfly kit certainly provided a very rich experience for your children.
    While I have no children, one of my dogs love playing among the butterflies-when they hatch by the hundreds and are settled upon the grass stalks he loves to gently move his face in the grass so that they flutter about his face!

    Reply
  10. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    I think that is just the neatest learning experience and so fun. I could tell by all of the pictures that the kiddos were enjoying it so much. It has been nice to see it happening through your pictures too.

    Reply
  11. Jim Groble
    Jim Groble says:

    Very cool. I found myself saying "fly, be free" to the boys. as for your son and dirt, I get it. After Pat and i spend any time in the garden, I need to be hosed off and Pat just needs to take off her shoes. It's a wonderment.

    Reply
  12. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    How great those people are at insectlore to have thought of making kits for these insects. They are both fun and educational, not only for kids but adults as well. I wonder how they made the food for them. I love that idea.

    Reply
  13. Autumn Belle
    Autumn Belle says:

    I have enjoyed going to class with you, now I have graduated. The butterflies are so beautiful but I have never touched one before. Count me in the next time you start another breeding class.

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Reply
  14. Rose
    Rose says:

    How exciting to see the butterflies emerge! You can just see the awe in your children's faces. I'm looking forward now to Granddaughter's birthday and starting our own butterflies. I think I'll pass on the other kits, though some praying mantises would be nice:)

    Reply
  15. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    I enjoyed this post. i always love to see butterflies in my garden. However, this reminded me of a butterfly my son lovingly raised from a caterpillar he found in the garden. We were all excited to see the beautiful swallowtail emerge from the chrysalis. My son held it for a few moments. I even got a photo of it sitting on his nose. We watched proudly as it flew into the air, then were horrified when a bird swooped down and ate him!

    Reply
  16. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    This has been such a wonderful experience ~ you got a bit of everything even the sad part about how the one butterfly would have surely died in nature. It's so glad you freed him enough that he can enjoy a little nectar and sunshine. I might have to check into getting one of these (but not for my daughter) for myself!!!

    Reply
  17. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    They are so beautiful! Now whenever you see one in your garden you'll wonder if it's one of these or one of their babies.
    I just showed my little one your pictures because they are watching caterpillars at preschool right now.

    Reply
  18. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    I have been so interested in this project. I did order a kit for my Grandson's birthday.I'm going to give him a link to your blog, so he can see what you did.
    Just look at those faces on your kids…
    Have a great Mother's day.
    Balisha

    Reply

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