One of the items on Charlotte Mason's "Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six" is to "keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations".
Meghan has been very interested in bugs and butterflies in the last year, so for her third birthday, Mommy and Daddy gave her a kit from Insect Lore to raise caterpillars into butterflies. It was a wonderful experience for our family!
A cup of five caterpillars came in the mail and we watched them grow into big caterpillars (they also made a lot of frass during this time - yuck - but part of the natural world). It was fun to watch them crawl around the jar and explore their world. Then we were able to watch them hang upside down, form their chrysalises, shake their chrysalises if they felt threatened, and eventually erupt as butterflies. Meghan LOVED having butterflies on the table watch her while she ate, drew, played beads, etc. And then we set them free. It was a bittersweet day, but my sweet girl told them to love each other, give each other kisses, and to return to the butterfly feeder that we had created for them.
It was a wonderful experience for Meghan. It's definitely something that we will do again when Katie is old enough to observe what is happening. I also am hopeful that we can find some monarch caterpillars down the road to raise into butterflies!
If you want to make a butterfly feeder like ours, we followed the directions found here: Make a Butterfly Feeder