So Where do you think you could find Caterpillars and Butterflies?
If you stop and look, you will see caterpillars crawling aroung plants and leaves. Butterflies on the other hand, are amazing creatures flitting through the air on wings that are delicate and yet can withstand the winds that are happening around us daily. Many are in decline and need our help. Our world is in trouble, and everything we can do to help, is a step in the right direction.
Now is a great time to learn about caterpillars and butterflies with your children! You can even help to make their life cycle happen with success. It’s a great teaching opportunity, it’s never too early to learn about nature and our roles in making things better for all the animals around us.
Butterflies did not start their lives looking like they do when you see them flitting through the air. They start life out much differently. Unlike humans who have a similar form all through their lives, butterflies change appearances a few times through their life cycle. They start off as eggs laid on the undersides of leaves. Monarchs love to lay their eggs on the undersides of Milkweeds. Why, you might ask? Well it’s quite well known that Monarch are attracted to Milk Weeds and the baby caterpillars that come out of the eggs, can eat a lot. Milk weeds have lots of leaves and they are very tasty to those baby caterpillars.
The Monarch Caterpillar
So if you are interested in having Monarch caterpillars in your garden, it would be a good idea to have some milk weeds growing there too. Take the time to sit in the garden and watch those beautiful Monarch flying around and when they land on the milk weed, wait a day or two and then look under the leaves. Don’t be surprised when you see some small mounds of eggs under those leaves.
Beautiful Orange and Black Monarch Butterflies
The next question would be, Why do they lay their eggs under the leaves? Well, just think about how smart those butterflies are, if they laid their eggs on top of the leaves, they would wash away when it rains. When they lay their eggs under the leaves, the babies are already protected by their own living umbrella. Even better, when they hatch, they don’t have to look too far for their next meal. They will start chomping on those leaves.
Not all Caterpillars Look Alike
Now not all caterpillars look alike, some are one color, and some are furry, some have spikes and others are shiny. Each type of caterpillar you find will end up becoming a butterfly or a moth. Not all caterpillars are “good” caterpillars either. Some of them are very destructive to farmers fields, so it helps to know which ones we should look out for and which ones we should pick to use as dinner for the fish in our pond.
Butterflies are found in almost every part of the world, but the types of butterflies will vary greatly. Just like birds, certain butterflies like special kinds of weather. Monarchs, for example will fly from the warm climates of California and Mexico to the north during summer months, and then when it becomes too cold, they start to fly south again……
Help your Children Learn about Butterflies
Do you want to learn more about butterflies? These are a few of the books that I would recommend for your own research and fun. See how many of these butterflies you can find this summer.
Butterflies are wonderful creatures that need help sometimes in order to survive. Teaching our children about the beautiful animals and insects in our natural world will help them to understand that they too play an important role in the survival of some of the most delicate creatures on earth. They will also make it a part of their daily lives and that can only be a good thing.
Fill your summertime with nature and all the beauty that surrounds us. Take the time to embrace all the creatures that share your space. Do your part to make Mother Nature happy.