One of the first rudimentary lessons in biology for children is often the life cycle of the butterfly. Of all the insects out there in the world, butterflies appear to be one of the most popular, especially amongst kids. Pretty, flighty, and ethereal, it’s no wonder our little ones are so attracted to these majestic creatures. Butterflies’ first appearance was in ancient Egypt, putting them at somewhere near 3,500 years old. They were thought back then to be linked to the souls of late warriors, and across other cultural interpretations, such as the Greek, Roman, and Japanese, we see similar associations between butterflies and the spirit world. In still other cultures, butterflies are considered to be a symbol of rebirth.
It’s no wonder, then, that the life cycle of the butterfly is such a universal starting point for children in science classrooms all over the world. Eggs turn into caterpillars, which turn into chrysalises, which then unfurl to reveal beautiful butterflies. If your child is studying metamorphosis in school, or if they’re simply an enthusiast, you might consider investing in an at-home butterfly kit to watch the life cycle play out together. Butterfly kits not only help teach children about nature but also about the responsibility of caring for and nurturing another creature.
There are all kinds of butterfly kits and habitats out there. Plenty of kits include everything you’ll need, from the caterpillars to their food, to a quaint little home that’s safe for everyone involved. We think you’ll love watching these little bugs grow together almost as much as you love watching your own precious one develop.
Best Butterfly Kits for Growing or Keeping Reviewed in 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Butterfly Kits
Through the study of the insect world, kids can develop a deeper appreciation of the natural wonders of the world. Perhaps one insect that provides not just that deep understanding but other principles that a child could take through life is the butterfly. When a kid closely studies the butterfly or even has to take care of them, they will learn values that will help them through their own evolution in life from childhood to adulthood. When creating this list we wanted to focus on these criteria of benefits that are certainly present in a butterfly kit or keeper.
This is the main benefit of actually studying the butterfly up close. While observing the various stages and changes the butterfly goes through from larva (caterpillar) to cocoon to actual butterfly, a child learns that in life there are changes we all go through. Like the butterfly, they too will change over time as it is the natural process of things. Also, they can learn more about this beautiful insect in general, such as why it only flies and never walks, how to actually hold one without harming it and that it doesn’t actually hear but relies on its eyesight which is limited in color. Another lesson that can be learned from the butterfly is when kids let them go, it teaches a child that in life there will come a time when you have to let go of something and a butterfly will always be its happiest while out in nature. The educational benefits of observing a butterfly are endless, and the great thing is it is so fascinating to the child that they won’t think of it as learning but something that is fun.
This is another benefit for a child to obtain through the butterfly. Because they are so colorful and flutter around, a child will be drawn to watch them. If they use a magnifying glass, they can also see other unique qualities about the butterfly while promoting their visual range of perception of the world around them.
Caring for butterflies is just like caring for any other pet. They need to be fed a proper way and the butterfly habitat needs to be kept clean. This will follow the requirements set forth by that particular butterfly keeper’s instructions. A child could learn to take part in the process and how to go about doing it properly. While doing this, a child learns some responsibility and not only about caring for butterflies but also for caring for a pet in general.
In an age where kids can be so into video games and other digital technology, they might be losing track of the importance of the environment and nature. Through studying the butterfly and learning more about it, a child develops a deeper appreciation of the beauty of Mother Earth. It also gives them a further appreciation of the creatures that can be found in nature and perhaps even interest them in going outside and finding out more about nature in general.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How did the butterfly actually get its name?
A: This is a question that no doubt younger kids could very well ask and one that no doubt some of us may have pondered at one time or another. However, there are several stories surrounding how the name actually came to be for this insect. Unfortunately, no one really knows for sure since the name dates back centuries. One legend is that witches would turn into beautiful flying insects to steal milk and butter. Another legend is that kids may live a bit more because of the fact that this insect comes out in the spring. While doing so the butterfly would appear flying around while milk was being churned into butter on farms and the name sort of stuck. But these are just a few legends and no one really knows for sure where the name actually came from.
Q: How are butterflies beneficial to the environment?
A: Like the bee and the moth, the butterfly is a pollinator. This means that it will take pollen from one flower and distribute it to other plants which will benefit the ecosystem. Butterflies can also help control weeds and take care of some unwanted pests that can ruin gardens. Also, it turns out that scientists actually use butterflies as sort of a barometer, telling them if bad weather is on the horizon because of the absence of this insect in areas where it could be commonly found.
Q: How long does it take a butterfly to emerge from a cocoon?
A: This will depend on some factors. For example in a warmer climate in the middle of summer, the process can take up to a month to actually happen. It will also depend on the species of butterfly. On average the Monarch butterfly, one of the most identifiable species, can take up to 14 days to emerge from the cocoon. However, the Painted Lady, which is one of the most common species and one that is often included in the butterfly kits, takes only seven to 10 days to emerge.
Q: What is the best time of year and temperature to release butterflies into nature?
A: Butterflies are insects that thrive in spring and summer. The ideal temperature for a butterfly to actually take flight is between 55 to 60 degrees. So, butterflies should never be released when it cold out and also shouldn’t be released when it is raining.
Q: How many species of butterflies are there?
A: There are actually around 20,000 different types of butterfly species throughout the world. In North America, it has been determined that there are around 725 different species of butterflies to date that have been discovered.
Q: Is it important to put plants and flowers in habitats and does the size of habitat matter?
A: Yes, to both questions. First of all, flowers and plants are where a butterfly lays her eggs. Also, as stated above, butterflies are pollinators by nature and so being able to continue this process even in captivity would only benefit the species. As for the size of the habitat, butterflies love to fly around, so a larger habitat is always beneficial. Yes, we did place a few smaller ones on our list but these are more ideal for securing the butterfly after catching it in nature or moving it from one place to another. These small ones are also ideal to house a caterpillar since these don’t require the same amount of space as the butterfly does, but again host plants are necessary since these are one of a caterpillars main source of nourishment.
Q: What is the lifespan of a butterfly?
A: Unfortunately a butterfly doesn’t have too long a lifespan. On average most butterflies only live about a month; the female butterflies tend to live a bit longer than the males though. In fact, the longest lifespan of a butterfly that has been documented is about one year. This is why it is so important to the butterfly to breed and lay eggs so that new versions of this insect species can hatch and then go through the same process from caterpillar to cocoon to adult butterfly. Another great lesson for kids to learn through the butterfly is about the circle of life.
Q: Are butterflies so colorful for a reason?
A: As it turns out, there are actually several reasons for butterflies’ amazing colors. The first is that it gives them a good way to hide from predators. The butterfly’s bright coloring can mimic the same vibrant colors of the flowers and plants in nature that they gravitate toward, making them hard to spot to predators. Their bright colors also make the butterfly more appealing to other forms of their species to help them secure a mate. Turns out that the colors will also help provide warmth to the butterfly as well.
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