I don’t know about you, but I am fascinated by butterflies. They are beautiful, majestic and fragile little creatures with beautiful colours that flutter in and out of the world, making the world a happier place. Might sound silly, but whenever I see a butterfly, I smile. I’m entranced and watch until it those little flowers of the air disappear. There is something magical about them. I am fascinated by them and so are the children. Nature is a intriguing. Why not get closer to these bewitching creatures with Interplay Butterfly World and follow their life cycle.
This kit is aimed at children aged 5+. My 3 year old was fascinated, but was too young to be able to help with the setup or care of them. Both my 7 year old and 9 year old loved it. Every day they’d come down to see how they were doing, before anything else. Inside the box you get:-
- A pop up butterfly cage
- A paintbrush
- Net jar cover and elastic band
- Small plastic pot and lid
- A full colour booklet with instructions, help identify the caterpillars, the life cycle of the butterfly and lots of interesting facts about butterflies.
The booklet is simple and easy to follow. It helps children get a better understanding of the life cycle. There are four stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies; egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The kit gives you everything you need to rear your caterpillars into butterflies. It does not however, contain the young caterpillars. You can either catch them in the wild, which sounds interesting to do, or you can buy them from the recommended supplier for £9.50. The come via the post and it’s very exciting when they arrive.
The caterpillars arrive in a completely self-contained ecosystem. The part at the bottom is their food. They eat it and everyday you can see them grow bigger. I tried to capture this in the video below. They are captivating to both adults and children alike. If using wild caterpillars make sure you use the jar and paint brush to transfer them.
It takes about 2-3 weeks for the caterpillars to get this big. They will grow at roughly the same rate, but some might be a little smaller or bigger than it’s fellow one. The tub that the caterpillars arrive in has silk paper at the top for the caterpillars to hang on when turning into their chrysalis. It is fascinating watching them grow and even more so watching them change.
You can see here how much of the food they have eaten over the 3 weeks and some have started to turn into their next stage. They turn at different rates, which is fine and all eventually turned into the chrysalis. 4 hung from the top, but one changed at the bottom. It was fine. I just had to be very careful transferring them to the butterfly net. It is fascinating watching them wriggle about trying to scare off predators, if you accidentally touched or nudged them.
Once the caterpillars have all formed, wait a few days, I think we waited about 4 and then transferred them to the butterfly cage. I removed the silk paper gently from the tub and stuck it to the roof of the cage with the sticky fixer provided. The one in the jar I transferred gently using a cotton ball to hook it too. This gives them room to transform. Some of your caterpillars might not change or survive. They do guarantee 3 out of 5. We were lucky all 5 of ours transformed. When we’ve done it a few years back, we only had 3 butterflies.
Then one morning when you come down stairs you’ll fine a butterfly has hatched. And you will be so excited. Even more so than the kids, it’s like hatching your own baby. Just me then? I was enthralled by this whole experience, it was incredible and the children were fascinated. It developed into a project of finding out how to look after caterpillars to butterflies, what they ate and then what type they were. Such a great way to educate and inspire children’s minds. Now don’t panic if you see blood spots in the butterfly cage. This is perfectly normal as it comes from the chrysalis as the butterfly is being born. I cleaned this up and placed a piece of kitchen roll at the bottom.
Over the next few days more and more butterflies hatched until we had five beautiful Painted Ladies. We made food for the butterflies using honey dissolved in water. Dip on cotton wool balls and place in the butterfly cage. We also put in various types of flowers and plants over the week we kept them and even a few bits of sliced fruit. It is fascinating to watch the butterflies drink.
The butterflies were quite happy and would sit on our hands. Even when opening the cage, they never made any attempt at flying away. They are such beautiful creatures, I loved to just sit and watch them.
Then came the time to let them go into the wild. I have to say I was sad to see them go. It felt a bit like seeing your babies go off into the big world. Well not quite the same, but it was emotional. I may have had a bit of dirt in my eyes, making it water. Wouldn’t you?
We took out butterflies into the garden in their butterfly cage and let them fly away of their own accord. It was one of the most amazing sights.
We love, love, loved watching out caterpillars grow and develop into butterflies. All of the children were enthralled watching them grow every day and it was like Christmas morning every day waiting for the chrysalis to hatch. It certainly spurred on their love of nature and to learn more about life cycles of nature. If you have a child interested in butterflies, insects, nature or just inquisitive, this would make a perfect gift for them. It is a great price for what you get and it is something they will remember forever. I know I will, I can’t recommend this enough. Do watch my life cycle video below.
“Just when the caterpillar thought their life was over, they turned into a butterfly”
The Butterfly World kit has a retail price of £12.99, and is available from the Interplay website as well as other retailers like Amazon. Caterpillars are available between March to September and you can get them each year if you like. What are you waiting for, get this fun and educational experience for the kids or even yourself. It is so much fun and wonderful.
Disclaimer:- We were sent a kit for the purpose of this review, but all words are my own. I cannot recommend this enough.