We finished our caterpillar to butterfly home school unit this week. It’s been about a month of study and I’m hoping all the kiddos enjoyed it. I sure did. I think I learn just as much as they do when preparing for the lessons. We started our first week with caterpillars. We went out to a wildlife area in hopes that we’d find some real caterpillars to explore. It took awhile but we finally found some teeny tiny oak tree caterpillars munching away on our California oaks. They were really much too tiny to bring home and try to raise, so we just looked at them there. I had a nature/art activity for set up for the kids. I displayed silhouette’s of caterpillar bodies and they had to recreate one with natural materials. (They eventually tried making butterflies too). We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar of course, as well as a neat book called Summer Birds and explored the area for caterpillars.
The following week we talked about chrysalis’ and cocoons. We talked about the full life cycle of caterpillars and one of the girls shared a cocoon she had found in her own yard!
We made paper mache chrysalis’ and enjoyed a fun croissant chrysalis snack.
We closed out our lessons with butterflies. We spent the morning near the ocean in a special eucalyptus grove. I cut out some of my painted butterflies and hung them all over the grove. We had all sorts of painting activities like making symmetrical glue resist paintings and painting butterfly houses to put in our gardens. I read several books and we had a really fun life cycle snack. We ended the day with a little butterfly hunt. We found paper butterflies and a few real ones too.
At home, Ellie and I have been heavy into the butterfly life cycle. We’ve found several caterpillars on our walks and hikes. We decided to take them home and try and raise them. We have a Wooly Bear caterpillar, a White-lined Sphinx caterpillar, a California Oak worm (we also found a cocoon, brought it home and it hatched into a tiny little California oak moth), we had a painted lady caterpillar that turned into a painted lady butterfly and a rather cool looking White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar. So far the Sphinx cat has gone under the dirt we provided for him and hes made a cocoon. The other two we’re still waiting on… We had the opportunity to borrow some beautiful window boxes of butterflies and moths from a neighbor. Ellie and I have been sketching some of them as well. (You can see much more on my IG @summerplayshouse ).