This is one of my favorite times of the school year. I order caterpillars and we watch them take the amazing transformation into butterflies. It truly is a magical thing. It amazes me each year. I order two cups with 5 caterpillars each. They start off tiny and grow and grow and then finally go into their chrysalis. This picture below is one just beginning to hang and transform. You can see the others in the background already inside their chrysalis.
I have the kids keep a journal of the changes and then once they all hatch we take them outside and release them. It's always so much fun because the butterflies don't always fly away at once. They spread their wings in the sunshine and sit on the flowers. This year was fun because it seemed like they didn't want to leave so the kids got to take turns passing around the flower and holding it. I love how enchanted they all get by them.
We had one little guy whose bottom half of his wing didn't form all the way so he couldn't fly. So I took him home and let him go in our garden. He got to be the center of my attention for a while there.
For all of you mothers out there... this really is an amazing thing to do with your kids. Every year I have mom's ask me where I got the net and everything. It's also relatively inexpensive. I ordered the net and cups at www.insectlore.com and got the whole thing for less than 30 dollars... I ordered it two year ago and that's what I paid for it then... I wouldn't imagine the prices have changed that much.