For Clara's 5th birthday, her Kayli sent her a butterfly hatching kit. It was the perfect gift for our little nature-obsessed girl. Five caterpillars ere shipped to us in the mail and we watched them grow inside a little jar for about 10 days before they got super active one day and crawled to the top of the lid to form chrysalises hanging off the lid. It was so interesting watching the change take place and after 3 days in their chrysalises, we very carefully moved them into the mesh hatching container.
The only bummer part is that we didn't actually see them come out of their chrysalises. We thought that we had plenty of time to get back to them from our camping trip based on the timeline they came with but apparently their metamorphosis happened faster than normal because by the time we got home they had all come out of their cocoons and were fluttering around inside their cage. Clara was thrilled and didn't even care that we weren't there to witness it happen so I guess it's not a big deal (and frankly, they could have done it in the middle of the night and we wouldn't have seen anyway) but still, I would have liked to have seen that.
We kept the butterflies for about a week, feeding them on nectarines and sugar water, per their care and feeding instructions. Clara and Rose wanted to sit and gaze at them first thing every morning and Clara named most of them (Rey (from Star Wars) was her favorite, but there was also Rebecca and Brynn. The other two didn't get names, I guess.). But finally it was time to release them into the wild.
Clara was afraid to hold them at first. She really wanted to, but kept getting nervous and juts asking to touch their wings and have us help them flutter away. A couple of the butterflies flew off immediately, but two others were really mellow and just hung out on our fingers, letting us transfer them around. I'm glad that Clara finally found her courage because she was very much in awe of them and it was fun to see her hold them. Rose gently stroked wings, but that was it. She's still a little afraid of bugs and screams when her big sister does things like hold out worms to her.