We were recently sent the Lore butterfly kit to review. I was keen to share this nature learning experience with our little ones and also hopeful that it would engage our older children as well. Did you know that 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the much loved Eric Carle story The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ so what better to mark that occasion then being able to grow our very own caterpillars and witness the life cycle in our home.
This kit includes a spacious re-usable butterfly net, 3-5 painted lady caterpillars, instructions, food, feeding pipette, and a surprise Very Hungry Caterpillar™ butterfly feeder. The feeder in our kit was a pear from the much loved story.
Inside your kit is a voucher code to order your butterflies. You can select what dates you would like these to be dispatched and you just have the postage to pay. Alternatively you can order the kit with the insects to be sent out at the same time.
The Caterpillars are sent in a cup, at first they seemed pretty inactive and the kids were a little concerned. I reassured them that the instructions state this is normal. They soon start moving and growing day by day. They have everything they need to survive you just need to pick a preferable spot in your house as per the instructions and make sure little ones can’t get to them without supervision, as I’m sure Florence if left alone with them would have thrown them around their cup. The kids found the hairy big caterpillars fascinating especially shedding their exoskeletons and of course their caterpillar poo at the bottom of the cup they said was pretty gross!
Once they become Chrysalides and have fully hardened (around 3 days) they start to hang from the lid. You can now gently transfer them attached to the lid into their chrysalides station which is included. We referred to the instructions several times to make sure we got this part of the cycle correctly. Now after 7-14 days the butterflies will emerge. We didn’t even realise that 3 of ours had emerged until one morning I spotted some red liquid on the butterfly net out of the corner of my eye. This red liquid is a perfectly normal part of the life cycle and is vital to their wing formation. The whole part of this process requires patience and the children to wait and watch each stage forming. I think it’s a great life lesson for them to learn patience as we get so many instant things these days.
once the butterflies have had a few hours to emerge and their wings to fully form you can start feeding them. You can use the sugar food provided mixed with water, putting your pipette and feeding station to good use. You can also provide for the butterflies some fresh flowers and slices of fruit.
Once you’ve observed your butterflies for a few days you must release them as they are an important part of garden and parkland habitats.
We paced our net in the garden and captured as much as we could on camera and cheered each butterfly on in their journey.
Insect Lore advise that at least 3 of your 5 caterpillars should hatch out. We were fortunate and all 5 of our caterpillars hatched and went on to emerge as butterflies. Although one had a deformed wing so we placed him on a plant and hoped for the best.
If you have less than 3 unhatched caterpillars then there is an enclosed guarantee form and you can send the unhatched caterpillars back in return for another caterpillar cup (not habitat).
The cycle of the caterpillars takes approximately 3 to 5 weeks. So make sure you’re around in that time to transfer the chrysalides and release the butterflies.
Caterpillars sent March – mid September
Suitable for ages 4 plus. Although our toddler did enjoy being involved in this whole family activity.
It sparked an interest in caterpillars and the life cycle, we explored further by researching the life cycle more and watching the Very Hungry Caterpillar and reading the story lots. Teddy also drew some beautiful butterfly pictures.
It was good for the children to learn about life cycles in the possibility that not all of them would survive, or in our case one that emerged different to the others.
The excitement of their new pet caterpillars arriving and also the excitement of releasing them to fly away and cheer them on their next part of their journey.
To help nature hopefully take it’s course and our butterflies once released to mate, lay eggs and produce more butterflies for our local habitats.
You can re-use all the equipment for another batch of caterpillars another time.
We were sent this Butterfly kit in exchange for an open and honest review.