Have you ever seen pictures of the Insectlore butterfly kits? Over the last year or so I have seen pictures popping up and have always wanted to try it when both kids were a little older. Last June we met Sarah from Insectlore at a blog event and were instantly gripped to all their little company has to offer for the world of insects.
I have always been fascinated with nature and bugs which is something both kids have definitely inherited too, making snail hotels, bug houses and desperately wanting to keep every lady bird and woodlouse as a pet! I knew one of these kits would be perfect for Alf that has a real fascination with nature and working out how things work. We luckily got to review a kit over the past month and I must say from the off, the whole thing has been a real adventure to watch and totally fascinating for us all.
The full kit...
The kit contains everything you need to get started which to begin with is super easy as the caterpillars have everything they need right there in the little pot. The simple to understand booklet gives you all the information you need to know about the whole process with step by step instructions on how to keep, grow and release your butterflies.
When our kit arrived we were sent five teeny tiny caterpillars which were maybe 2mm long if that, so cute and the kids got stuck in straight away with their magnifying glasses watching them wiggle and squirm.
Within a week the caterpillars had grown to what I would say were 'normal' caterpillar size and it was lovely for the kids to be able to see them so close up, look at all their markings and tiny legs and see how quickly they can grow!
One thing I did notice was that one caterpillar was a different colour to the rest and we were excited to know if this meant it was a different type/gender to the others as we had zero clue and presumed they would all look the same.
The chrysalis stage...
After a couple of weeks, the fully formed caterpillars group on the lid of their pot, each hanging in a J shape, this means they are ready for the chrysalis stage and is just amazing to see, it's so strange that they just instinctively know what to do!
One by one the caterpillars transform into a chrysalis! You can see the fine silky webbing around them which has to be removed ready for their transformation so their wings don't get tangled.
After a couple of days, the chrysalis are ready to be transferred to their new home, the net pop up enclosure that comes in the kit!
Transferring from pot to new home...
We were then ready to transfer our little friends to their new home which was really easy. We just had to remove the lid (as above) being really careful not to move them too much. The chrysalis shake when they feel movement to scare off predators, really bizarre to see!
Next it was just a case of waiting for our butterflies to emerge! Within 24 hours all 5 had broken free and were pumping their wings, finding their feet and exploring their home which we added fruit and sugar water to.
Setting the butterflies free...
Last weekend, after giving the butterflies a few days to fully grow and get stronger, we headed to a local nature reserve to set our butterflies free. The kids were a bit sad to see them go but after explaining how much they would love the freedom to explore, they were happy to help them break free to enjoy the rest of their days.
Alf loved that the butterflies came to land on his flower on the way out, as well as one landing on his finger and leg. I assured them we can send off for more caterpillars to do it all again and they were thrilled. It was kind of a nice feeling watching them grow, find their wings and fly away on their adventures. I'm not sure I'll be as happy when it's the kids turn to do the same!
We've loved our butterfly kit and it's something we will now do over and over again. I really can't find a single fault, the price is great for the kit, it's fascinating for all ages, really easy to do and the lowest maintenance 'pet' we've ever had! This would make the perfect gift for kids of all ages, maybe even grown ups, I know I enjoyed it. If you want something to do over the Summer holidays, this is it!
If you want to find out more about our set and all the other goodies from Insectlore, you can visit their website by clicking here. It's not just butterflies they do, you can even have your own ant hill, how cool!
Have you tried a butterfly kit yet?
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