Product Type: Insect Lore other pts
Newest Review: ... box. Caterpillars arrival I knew the caterpillars were coming in a small round plastic pot which contained a layer of their food on t... more
A fantastic gift
Insect Lore Butterfly Garden
Member Name: xmum2threex
Insect Lore Butterfly Garden
Advantages: Fun and educational
Disadvantages: None for us
What is the butterfly garden?
It is a set that gives you all the tools needed to watch butterflies complete their life cycle and then little on releases them into the wild it is both good fun and very educational it is recommended from 4 years plus which seems the perfect age for my son.
What do you get in the set?
You get a butterfly garden which is basically a netted cylinder that has a zip at the top for easy access in and out. This is collapsible when not in use so it does not take up too much storage space yet when opened to full size is a decent size for the butterfly's to move around in. It also has a carry handle so when it comes to transporting the butterflies outside this is easily done.
Also you receive a voucher for 3 to 5 painted lady caterpillars which you need to send off to claim as for obvious reasons they cannot pack live caterpillars in the boxes when purchased. In the box you also receive a feeding pipette for the butterflies after they have emerged but as my children wanted to release them after a day so we only used it to feed them sugar and water to get their strengths up.
Ordering the caterpillars
Due to having to release the butterflies in certain weather you can only order the butterflies between the last week in February and the first week in October so if you are ordering for a gift between these times please be warned your child will have to wait to begin the process. As my son's birthday is at the start of July we were lucky and were able to order them straight away.
In the box you receive a certificate to get your caterpillars this is valid for 3 to 5 and you can either send a voucher away or order online. We chose to order online as my son was desperate to start and this is the quickest way. Although the caterpillars are free you do have to pay a small postal charge and I believe it was around £2.99 so this is an extra cost factor but not too expensive.
2 days later we received a parcel through the post which told us to open immediately in this was a small plastic jar with holes at the top so the caterpillars could breath. The plastic is of course transparent so you can watch what is going on and in this we found there was a thick layer of a creamy substance at the bottom of the jar which is their food. Then 5 tiny little caterpillars and we were worried at first as they were not moving.
You also receive instructions with the jar that tells you to keep the jar flat at all times and not to sit the jar near sunlight as they can overheat and kill the caterpillars so we read them and they were really simple to follow.
The caterpillars growing and transferring them to the garden
The caterpillars take a few weeks to complete the whole process but the development is obvious very quickly from day one they were tiny little dots at the bottom of the jar but each morning when my children and I checked they had become bigger. The bigger they grew the quicker things started to being happening first they grew in to large caterpillars then they sprouted the little white hairs and then the jar began to look old and grotty and the food at the bottom of the jar had been all crunched up by the now large caterpillars and the silk webs began to form around the jar so we knew that they would begin to cocoon soon.
After around a week and a half we came downstairs to find 3 of the caterpillars hanging from the top of the jar and the other two were still eating the food. A few days later all 5 had attached themselves upside down from the lid of the jar and it was time to move them in to the pop up garden.
This was easy to do you simply remove the cardboard prop that sits in the lid with the chrysalisis attached and carefully safety pin it to the net so they are still hanging upside down . Then it is just the waiting game and although we watched and watched we failed to see any of them emerge from the chrysalisis.
The butterfly's coming out the chrysalisis
We missed each one of the emerging although two of them did not cocoon for a few days after the rest we came down one morning to find all five of the butterfly's moving around the net and the look on my children faces was priceless. You can decorate the garden for the butterflies so we added some leaves, sticks and an orange for them but this was short lived as my children hated seeing them stuck in the garden.
It says you can keep the butterfly's for up to 4 days in the butterfly garden enclose that you receive but to be honest my children were eager to let them be free so we only kept them for a day after they hatched before releasing them in to the wild. This gave them the chance to dry their wings and get there strength up ready for being released. They played in the garden for around half an hour before they actually flew away which was great because the children got to watch them out in the wild for a little while before saying goodbye to them.
Overall this is a fantastic present for any child my children are only 1 3 and 4 and are really starting to become interested in the world around them and they loved seeing the process a butterfly travels to be the beautiful creature they are. The full process takes between three and four weeks which although is a lifetime for children really is not that long.
As the butterfly kit is yours to keep you can re purchase more caterpillars from the site for around £6 which means you can watch the whole process over again and I am sure we will be doing so next year when my youngest son is a little older as my 2 eldest children really enjoyed this.
It is very simple to do and it is basically fool proof so it easy for young children to take part but the results are fantastic both fun and educational. We brought a book to read to the children to explain the whole process as it happened which was a bedtime favourite for the whole time we had the caterpillars and they would rush downstairs to check them in the morning. The set retails between £14.99 and £20 and adding in the £2.99 postal fee I still think this is a fantastic price to pay for such a wonderful experience for younger children and would highly recommend it to anyone. We brought ours from Amazon but they are available from many different places so do shop around.
Summary: A really great gift