Rearing our own Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Painted Lady

One of my favourite books as a child was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I have passed my love of these book on to my children.

They love nothing more than getting out our story sack and re-enacting the story with the small and large caterpillars, food and of course a cocoon and finally the butterfly.

Story Sack

Very hungry caterpillar #storysack @chelseamamma

A video posted by Joanne Dewberry (@charliemoos) on

When we were invited to review Interplay’s Butterfly World, I knew that the kids would love watching the real transformation of caterpillars to butterflies.

Butterfly World is a hands-on nature study kit that contains all the equipment required to observe and study the fascinating life cycle of butterflies.

The main difference between this kit and it’s rivals is that it includes a colour illustrated activity guide which helps you to find caterpillar’s in the wild as well as including interesting facts about butterflies.  The kit does not include caterpillar’s, although it does give details of a website should you wish to buy them, which is what we did.

The 5 caterpillars arrive around 7 days after ordering them and come in a see-through pot, complete with food and a paper top where they will eventually attach themselves to as they transform themselves into a chrysalis and subsequently beautiful Painted Lady butterflies.  When they arrived they were so tiny you could barely see them, but they are hungry creatures and grow at an impressive rate of knots!

Butterfly World

The caterpillar’s took between 10 and 14 days to get to the chrysalis stage and when then are ready to change they climb to the top of the jar and hang themselves from the paper which is under the lid.  I did fear for one whose clumsy sibling knocked off, but I just lay it on a piece of kitchen towel at the bottom of the net when I transferred them over.

Butterfly World

The pupation takes a further ten days and initially the chrysalis is a golden colour but as they are ready to emerge they go a very dark, almost black colour and you know they will emerge that day.

The butterflies are crafty things, I had the video camera poised and ready to record them emerging but you can guarantee that as soon as you turn your back for a second, they are out.  The butterfly then rests in a vertical position while pumping its wings to full size.  The butterflies do this by forcing blood under pressure into the veins of the wings.  As the wings expand, the butterfly begins to join the two halves of the proboscis together.  It is very important not to disturb the butterfly as it is important that she accomplishes this whist the two halves are still soft and pliable.

Butterfly World

One or two hours after the butterfly has emerged the wings will be full-sized and hardened.  Now the butterfly is ready to fly!! Don’t be alarmed by any red staining – it is meconium and is left over from the formation of the wings.

We did keep ours for a couple of days before we let them go as the weather was so bad, feeding them sugared water sprayed onto a flower.  Once the weather perked up though it was time to let them go.

Butterfly Garden

I was really surprised they stayed in our garden for a good 2-3 hours before fluttering away into the distance.

Butterfly Garden is a fab learning project for the kids and requires very little care.  I would recommend this for any child with an interest in the natural world!


16 thoughts on “Rearing our own Very Hungry Caterpillar!

  1. Ickle Pickle says:

    Oh wow – what an amazing idea! I I love looking at butterflies, but don’t like them flapping! Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…Playgroup BluesMy Profile

  2. aww that is such a cool idea I was thinking about getting one for my own benefit i mean the kids of course the kids ….

  3. Sonya Cisco says:

    I know Syd (and I!) would love to raise some butterflys – will have to look out for the kits!
    Sonya Cisco recently posted…Seaside RockMy Profile

  4. Jaime Oliver says:

    I am totally loving this! my little guy would love to have a go at this! 🙂
    Jaime Oliver recently posted…Parents, Periods & Possible MeltdownsMy Profile

  5. Globalmouse says:

    ok, I actually have a butterfly phobia so this gave me sudders!! My children love them though and this would be right up their street…especially as they’d enjoy scaring me with it all!
    Globalmouse recently posted…A day of discovery at NEMO Science Centre, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsMy Profile

  6. Ninjacat says:

    great to watch them grow ~ fantastic learning
    Ninjacat recently posted…Why Don’t You Just Get Lost ?My Profile

  7. The butterflies are so pretty, its such a lovely educational place to visit.
    Nayna Kanabar recently posted…Strawberry LemonadeMy Profile

  8. Zena's Suitcase says:

    I really like the sound of this Kara. I will be looking into this for my daughter as it’s something I think she’d really enjoy and learn from
    Zena’s Suitcase recently posted…We’re Going To The ‘In The Night Garden’ Party! #ITNGPartyMy Profile

  9. Sarah Bailey says:

    What a lovely way to learn about the butterfly cycle.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Yankee Candle – Café CultureMy Profile

  10. Mari says:

    What a lovely way to learn about insects. We loved the Hiungry Caterpillar too
    Mari recently posted…Time Traveller | Miami beach | 2007My Profile

  11. lisa prince says:

    this is something my little ones would would love to do themselves

  12. Helen Gandy says:

    What a great idea!! Such an interesting way for children to learn,brilliant!

    Helen X
    Helen Gandy recently posted…Summer Wishlist 2015My Profile

  13. Michelle says:

    This is just so lovely! The Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of my favourites as a child too.
    Michelle recently posted…Gluten Free + Paleo Spiced Apple LoafMy Profile

  14. What a great activity for kids to learn, I loved the hungry caterpillar as a child too 🙂
    Abi – Angel Eden Blog recently posted…Have You Got The W Factor!My Profile

  15. Rachel says:

    I have an allergy to caterpillers, or everytime I touch one I come out in a rash x
    Rachel recently posted…Weleda Natural Citrus DeodorantMy Profile

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