The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly

Miss A likes being out and about in the garden, hunting bugs and picking up snails. She has often tried to chase butterflies but of course they fly away very quickly. A few weeks ago, we won a butterfly garden set, so we were both very excited to receive the caterpillars and watch the life cycle as they changed into butterflies.

The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


The caterpillars arrived through the post with their food perfectly sealed in their pot. They were very tiny the day they arrived but grew very quickly. I think they stayed in their pot for ten days before we transferred them to their new home.

life cycle of a butterfly

You have to wait until the caterpillars grow big and strong enough to climb to the top of the pot and attach themselves to the lid. There is a clever paper disc on the lid that you wont see until you take the lid off the pot. This helps you move the caterpillars to their net.

The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


Once the chrysalis were solid for around three days. we moved them from the pot to the butterfly house which is like a pop up net enclosure. The paper disc wasn’t very attractive, and we were careful to remove any of the webbing from the chrysalis’ so the butterflies could become free when it was time.


The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


It didn’t take long, only a couple of days before we noticed one emerging late one evening. That morning, the chrysalis had changed colour and looked very black. I was worried that it wasn’t going to make it, but I realised this was part of the process and they turn black just before they emerge.

By the morning two more were out and in the net. They were very still for quite a while, and this is so their wings can harden. Once this process is complete they shed a red liquid called meconium that looks like blood but isn’t.

The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


Aren’t they beautiful! We had five butterflies emerge. One ended up with a broken wing which is a little distressing to watch as it wont ever fix itself. She is a trooper though and was getting around the net quite well once she managed to free herself from the chrysalis.

We fed the butterflies on flower petals and fresh fruit for a couple of days before we let them go.

The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


They were quite reluctant to leave their net for quite a few minutes when we opened the lid. Miss A had her hand ready in case one wanted to perch on her to say hello.

The first two took flight really quick when they realised the top was open. It was too quick for photos or video. The second two stayed around for ages saying hello. Miss A named one Rosie, and she stayed for ages. We had to pop her on the grass in the end as I think she was quite happy where she was and would have stayed for ever.

The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly - The Life Of Spicers


This has been a really fun activity to complete at home with Miss A. It’s educational without her realising it as she has become fascinated on the life cycle of a butterfly since we got the caterpillars. I’ve created a short video of the cycle of a caterpillar to a butterfly.




  1. July 3, 2014 / 11:24 am

    That is amazing, what a great kit, I am a little jealous as my caterpillars are being stubborn and have yet to form a chrysallis!! Love all the butterflys, what a lovely experience for your daughter.

  2. July 3, 2014 / 11:43 am

    What an amazing kit! Lovely post – you’ve tempted me to try this 🙂

  3. July 3, 2014 / 12:54 pm

    Scrap the kids – I WANT A BUTTERFLY KIT! absolutely beautiful.

  4. July 3, 2014 / 12:55 pm

    That is a brilliant kit and such a fun activity to find out about nature. This would tie in easily with the science curriculum in primary school too.

  5. July 3, 2014 / 2:13 pm

    That’s so lovely. They sometimes have caterpillars in our children’s school – this year is was ducks though. It’s such a good way to teach children 🙂

  6. July 3, 2014 / 2:21 pm

    I know my boys would love this, but I have a thing about butterflies! Yes I am odd. I don’t mind creepy crawlies and spiders, but flappy things – urg

  7. July 3, 2014 / 3:45 pm

    What an amazing activity to do at home – and they come in the post? Crazy! Such pretty butterflies though x

  8. July 3, 2014 / 5:05 pm

    What a great thing to do with kid’s. We are not at that age yet, but will be doing this when we are x

  9. July 3, 2014 / 8:08 pm

    How wonderful to watch the lifecycle. Such beautiful creatures. Hope broken wing butterfly is safe. I think the kit is great for home edders like me.

  10. July 4, 2014 / 10:24 am

    we’ve had caterpilars the past two years – such a great way for kids to see the life cycle

  11. July 4, 2014 / 1:20 pm

    I find butterflies really creepy but my children love them and would absolutely love to do something like this!

  12. July 4, 2014 / 7:25 pm

    What an amazing idea, this sounds like a wonderful thing to do with children

  13. July 5, 2014 / 1:26 am

    What an amazing way to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly, they are so beautiful as well. x

  14. July 5, 2014 / 12:29 pm

    aww this is fantastic i would love to do with Joshua 🙂

  15. Helen @ Witty Hoots
    July 5, 2014 / 12:34 pm

    We love these kits – we had these butterflies last year and we were delighted to see them back in the garden this year – who knows they may be descendants of our original butterflies!

  16. July 5, 2014 / 9:25 pm

    wow I’ve never seen kits like this but what a wonderful way to learn! x

  17. July 5, 2014 / 9:56 pm

    What a fab kit! Great way to learn x

  18. July 5, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful kit. Five butterflies is very impressive!

  19. July 5, 2014 / 11:09 pm

    I love butterflies, they are so pretty. I’ve seen those kits on tv, they look and sound really good x

  20. July 6, 2014 / 3:22 pm

    had to read this as I have one in a jar. interesting hints and tips, thanks for sharing

  21. July 7, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    We dont have much butterfly in here lately and this kit would be nice to have to expose my son about the science of transformation. =) #countrykids

  22. July 8, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    That is such a cool kit, I know the kids did this at school. I am so tempted though to have a go at home!

  23. November 1, 2014 / 7:11 pm

    Thanks for all the super information 🙂 Really helped Megan to write a booklet about the life cycle of a butterfly. Especially with the timings of how longs things took to happen! Great post 🙂

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