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Need butterfly and tadpole ideas...


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Hello - I am planning a nature unit study for the spring and I was hoping someone might have some suggestions on the following.


1. Where can I obtain caterpillars and/or tadpoles that we can observe and what would be the best environments for them (containers/food/location to be kept, etc)?


2. When would be the best time to order to watch their transformations?


3. Any project ideas while we are oberving?


Anything else I am forgetting? If you haven't already figured it out I'm a city girl and have never done this before so please have pity on me and help me make this a success. :001_smile:


Thank you in advance for your help!

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www.insectlore.com is where we get our butterfly and ladybug larva and ants for our ant hill.


We love insectlore.com especially if it is your first time around. Target also sell frog habitats and you get a coupon to send away for the tadpole. We have done both butterflies and frogs 3 years in a row now and DD just loves it. Lady bugs are also a fun thing to do and once you have the butterfly habitat and the butterflies have gone, you can get live lady bugs from many garden stores and put them in there. To metamorphoses, but they are hardy bugs and the kids love to play with them.


2. When would be the best time to order to watch their transformations?

I would say any time during spring or summer, your window is large and they will only ship them to your area when the temperatures are appropriate.


3. Any project ideas while we are observing?


Check out my blog page from last year. It was for my then 1 and 4 year old so depending on your DC's age you may get a few ideas there.

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You could try making a lapbook about butterflies. Here is a link to help get you started. If you scroll down the page they even have a youtube video over butterflies.




Here is another site that explains lapbooking/notebooking a little better if you've never done one before.




HTH :)

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You can get tadpole and butterfly kits complete with habitat and food from Home Science Tools at http://www.hometrainingtools.com/ . There are lots of other insect related things there as well. If you are interested in dissecting or microscopes, etc, they have the stuff. Timing may vary on the frogs depending on the area of the country you live in...the kit will tell you. Not sure about the butterflies, as we've not opened ours up yet.


We also used their owl pellets for dissection and my kids completely flipped out! They loved it and I had to practically drag them away from the project when it was time to clean up.

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There is a butterfly pavilion that comes with a certificate for caterpillars to raise. Could you research what butterflies are common to your area, then plant plants in the early spring that the caterpillars like to eat? It may take well into summer, but once the butterflies find those plants they'll lay eggs there. Then you can bring some in to raise.


One year we were blessed with a passion vine (maypop) delivered by some animal to our front flower bed. Gulf and variegated fritillaries lay their eggs on it. We clip some off and bring the caterpillars in to raise. We supply them with fresh vine cuttings, and after a while, they attach themselves to the top of the container and transform. It is so cool. We do this every year. The passion vine is a perennial.


My neighbor grows evening primrose which luna moths like to lay their eggs on. We've overwintered a couple of luna moth pupae which later became moths.


Sometimes in the winter, you can find cocoons in sheltered places like under leaves and bring them in where a moth will emerge later.


I've never tried tadpoles from a science kit. The ones we've gotten from local puddles and creeks have not done very well. I need to figure out what we're doing wrong!


Have fun!


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If you live somewhere where there is milkweed, monarch caterpillars are easy to find and only need milkweed leaves to eat. We have brought in a couple each summer and been successful with them almost every time. We have also gotten the painted lady caterpillars from insect lore and had a lot of fun with them too.

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