Hands on Science : Life Cycle of a Butterfly

In May, my friend Sharon, had ask me if I am keen to get some caterpillars to rear at home with my boy. Since I had close encounters with so much creepy crawlies while doing gardening, so what's with caterpillar? Of course I hopped onto the bulk purchase wagon that her friend was organising and we got the , I collected two containers of a total of 3 caterpillars and 1 pupa home.

Container 1 contains two caterpillars

container two already has one caterpillar turned into a chrysalis!
Honestly, before i showed Kyle the caterpillars, I was wondering how he will take to it. But to my surprise,  both my children were very curious over the caterpillar!  I had to be extra careful with Baby Kyne especially, he was so excited and kept grabbing at the containers. I was so afraid that he will get his hands on the containers and shake the caterpillars or take them out to squeeze the caterpillar to death! ; p

Kyle helping me to feed the caterpillars

Kyle was very responsible.  At the sides of container were care instructions and he made me read and explained to him. He helped to put in fresh leaves twice daily with me overseeing. 


By the fifth day, all our caterpillars turned into chrysalis. We were anticipating! 

Later i realised that this butterfly couldn't fly. One of its wings looked deformed and I told Kyle about it. Kyle said "We need to bring it to see a doctor, maybe the doctor can fix the butterfly!" I explained to him that there is no butterfly doctors and he said "Maybe we can ask the caterpillar doctor to help?" 

We were very happy when the second butterfly emerged very healthy and flown away!

But the third chrysalis turned black and the last butterfly emerged but got stucked. It couldn't come out of its chrysalis at all. I was very sad for days that out of 4 caterpillars, only 1 survived and that life is so fragile. The incubation process of all living things are so amazing and yet reality is so harsh? :( I kept wondering if it's that we didn't take enough care of them? And they also made me wonder, why Kyle is autistic and Kyne has a hole in his heart? Is it something that I have done?? Enough about my boring reflections! 

If you are keen to rear the caterpillars at home with your little ones, I have the below suggested accompanying activities:

1) I printed out images of an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly to show and explain to Kyle the life cycle of butterfly. Then, I asked him to show and tell the life cycle of the butterfly to me, and to his dad & his little brother again too. :) For the same pictures, sometimes I just jumbled them up and asked him to put them in the correct sequence for me. 

2) I placed the caterpillars in front of Kyle and asked him to look and draw whatever he sees. It saves me some time from thinking what to do, but i feel that this is a very good opportunity for my child to observe closely and i feel it can help him remember this experience better. Never mind the ugly drawings that don't make sense at all. You can't see the brain, so you won't know what they have captured into their memory. :) 

3) I took the opportunity to get Kyle to practice writing by asking him to copy the simple words and we wrote egg and pupa. This is a good chance to learn simple spelling and practise writing. 

4) I also find teachable moments and talk to Kyle as well as teach him about responsibility, how life is fragile and very precious. I also shared with him about the sadness I felt because out of the four caterpillars only one made it to a healthy butterfly and why I felt that way. Kyle didn't feel sad, he just feel something is wrong and we can fix it, so i also explained to him that there are some things that we cannot fix. I feel many things can be too deep for a four years old to understand, but there is no harm sharing right? ;p

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