Emma loved learning about and watching the chicks hatch in her kindergarten class so much that I looked into getting caterpillars. I found a place online where I could order a cup of painted lady caterpillars.
The cup of caterpillars came with instructions on what to do, what would happen and when it should happen.
We had a cup of 5 tiny caterpillars.
We watched them grow over the next 10 days.
Just like the instructions said they eventually all climbed to the top of the cup and made their chrysalis.
We carefully moved all the chrysalis to our butterfly container.... and waited.
We were counting down the next 10 days. I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in front of them just waiting for a butterfly to emerge. Of course it always happened while we weren't watching.
We had 4 butterflies the day before we were leaving for Colorado. The morning before we left we released them into the butterfly garden I planted in our backyard.
The fifth one was going to have to make the trip to Colorado with us.
Also the day before we left for Colorado a friend of mine told us where we could find monarch caterpillars. The girls and I came home with 4 more caterpillars and 2 bags full of milkweed to feed them. They also made the trip to Colorado with us.
The chrysalis turns black right before the butterfly comes out. I knew our fifth painted lady butterfly was going to hatch very soon. We left the bus to run inside for snacks and an Icee. When we got back 10 minutes later we had a butterfly!
We waited until we got to our campground in Colorado Springs to let that one go.
Our monarch caterpillars followed the same process as our painted lady caterpillars. After 10 days they all started climbing to the top of the container and turning into a chrysalis.
One day we got super lucky and were sitting on the bus when one of the caterpillars started to make it's chrysalis!
Then... we waited 10 more days.
Just like the other butterflies these chrysalis turned black and you could actually see the monarch butterfly wings through the chrysalis right before they came out.
Just like with the painted lady butterflies we kept watching to catch one coming out.
This time we saw one!
Only 3 out of our 4 caterpillars made it. The fourth one started to make it's chrysalis, but then stopped and never finished. We had 2 girl butterflies and 1 boy (I did some research to figure that out).
We released the monarchs into our butterfly garden too.
This was probably the coolest thing I've done with the girls. We all learned so much about caterpillars and butterflies. We can't wait to do it again next year.