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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life Cycle Of A Butterfly Experiment For Kids


We often have a lot of caterpillars in our garden. However, I never thought of doing this little science experiment before till someone in my Facebook group suggested it. This is a fun and easy science experiment you can do at home with your kids to teach them about the life cycle of a butterfly. The butterfly goes through 4 stages to become an adult. They are egg, lava, pupa and adult.

This wonderful little science experiment is so easy to do and is an excellent way to teach young kids about the life cycle of a butterfly. This is what you will need for your experiment..
  1. A see through container
  2. Plastic cling wrap and rubber band
  3. A caterpillar

First, you will have to catch a caterpillar. What type of host plants are butterflies attracted to? From our experience the Butterflies usually lay their eggs on host plants with leaves that give out a strong odor like lime leaves or curry leaves. They have also laid their eggs on a large fern like plant we have in our garden. Look for caterpillar droppings. This is a sure sign that the caterpillar is somewhere hidden among the leaves. Check for newly nibbled leaves. Then look for the caterpillars either on top or just under the leaves.

Young Caterpillar

Once you find your caterpillar, pluck the leaf where your caterpillar is attached on and place it together with some other leaves in a see through glass or plastic container. Place cling wrap to cover the container and secure it with a band. Then poke some holes to let in air. The young caterpillar is brown and black in color.

Green Caterpillar

Change or add new leaves every day and watch the caterpillar grow. My kids were surprised to see our brownish black caterpillar turn a bright green as it grows. 


As the caterpillar gets ready for the next stage in its life cycle which is the pupa stage, it will cling onto the side of the container and curl up a little. During the pupa stage, the caterpillar will be encased in a  silk like chrysalis. It is fascinating to watch the life cycle happening in real life. My kids and I check our caterpillar daily. 


Soon the caterpillar forms a chrysalis, then you wait for your butterfly to emerge. We waited for one and a half weeks. 

Butterfly Side View

Finally the caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly. Here is a view of our butterfly from the side.

Butterfly open wings

While, here is a view of our butterfly with its beautiful wings spread open. It is amazing to note and watch the changes unfolding. 

Empty Chrysalis

Finally here is the empty chrysalis. As soon as we removed the cling wrap, the butterfly took off and flew high up in the sky. We couldn't even have a chance to take a little picture of it. 

Pin the following image if you like this experiment. You can show them the butterfly quote too. "Just When The Caterpillar Thought The World Was Over, It Became A Butterfly" to teach kids to persevere and not give up just like how this experiment requires patience and waiting for the butterfly to emerge from its pupa.

Life Cycle Of A Butterfly Experiment
Life Cycle Of A Butterfly Experiment
insect lore live butterfly garden
Your kids can still do the life cycle of a butterfly experiment even if you do not have a garden. You can do so with the Insect Lore Butterfly Garden. With this butterfly growing kit, you will receive a pop up mesh basket, 5 live caterpillars and food for the caterpillars so kids can have their own live butterfly garden of Painted Lady Butterflies. 

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