One of our favorite memories of My Father’s World Kindergarten with Alex is the caterpillars we raised, watching their transformation into butterflies. I think we all enjoyed every day of that amazing process! It’s such a wonderful lesson in how God can miraculously transform not only a caterpillar, but also us!
Max will be starting MFW K after Labor Day, but we accidentally got a jump start on the butterfly project this time around. During the month of July, we had fun bringing in Queen Anne’s Lace flowers, placing them in jars of colored water, and watching the flowers change color.
A few days into our color changing, I began to notice small black bits all over the kitchen counter. Looking more closely at the flowers, we found a teeny-tiny caterpillar living on the underside of one of the flowers! I do mean tiny; I’d never seen a caterpillar so small!
We decided to move the flower to a different cup and place it in our butterfly garden. I wasn’t sure if we could raise him all the way to a butterfly, but we did! The process can only be described as a miracle – a nearly microscopic squirmy thing transforming into a gorgeous butterfly? Amazing!
After a bit of research (thanks, Google and MFW K Facebook group!), we were able to figure out that this was a black swallowtail. We’d originally guessed a monarch, but as the caterpillar grew, we knew that couldn’t be true.
We had him for close to 2 weeks before he finally stopped eating excessive amounts of Queen Anne’s Lace, settled in at the top of the butterfly garden, and began his transformation.
11 days later…
We knew it would emerge soon. The chrysalis was becoming very transparent, and we could see the butterflies wings right through it. We left the butterfly garden on the table while we were eating breakfast, and suddenly Alex called out, “Whoa! Oh, WOW!”
Alex got to watch the butterfly emerge, and we all got to see it just moments after it emerged!
It was sooooo ugly; for one brief moment, I thought maybe we’d been wrong, and somehow we’d raised some sort of creepy insect. It looked like some kind of ugly wasp! (I didn’t grab the camera instantly – it’s already looking a little less wasp-like by the time I snapped these pictures about 2 minutes after he emerged.)
I just love the AWE of my children when they experience the emerging butterfly!
You’ll notice that the bottom of one of his wings is damaged slightly. Because of this, we opted to release our butterfly quickly because he needed room to fly freely without getting tangled in the edges of the butterfly garden.
After waiting for a rainstorm to pass, we headed out to the driveway. Alex unzipped the butterfly garden, and then we waited. It took a few minutes for our butterfly to realize he was free.
Once the butterfly flew out, he was gone in a HURRY! We had hoped to let it land in our hands, but it just took off! In each of these pictures, you can see a tiny speck of butterfly in the sky, but he flew HIGH and FAST! I’m so glad we let him out of the little cage; he was definitely ready to FLY!
Here’s what was left of the chrysalis…
Since we did this now, I think we will skip the butterfly habitat when we reach that unit. This one was a free, unexpected gift that just happened into our kitchen while we enjoyed the summer wildflowers. We’re grateful for these little glimpses into God’s amazing miracles!
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