Preschool Nature Study: Butterflies and Cocoons

My mom teaches science and likes to help her students learn about nature, so last week when we were visiting my parents in Virginia we got to see her Monarch butterfly cocoon.  Isn’t it lovely?  The cocoon is a milky blue and jade with gold accents.  It looks like jewelry.

When the butterfly hatches out of the cocoon, it has to dry its wings before it can fly.  My mom let Hannah hold the butterfly that was drying.  At first she was not so sure about this listless creature.

But she took to it pretty quickly!  We missed the second butterfly, because it hatched while we were gone, but it was neat for the kids to see the process in real life!

We have looked at several books about butterflies from the library, but I haven’t found any living books that really met our needs.  Two reference books that we do like are Look What I’ve Found: A Cocoon, a board book about the butterfly life cycle over the different seasons of the year, and Caterpillars and Butterflies from the Usborne Beginners series.

If you know of any great books about butterflies and cocoons, please share with us in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Preschool Nature Study: Butterflies and Cocoons

  1. It’s a lot of fun to catch a caterpillar or two outdoors, put them in jar, feed them with leaves from the plant on which you found them, and watch and wait and see what kind of butterfly hatches. The first time we did this, we got a lovely swallowtail to come out (God’s generous providence?)! It was soooo fun…. There are tons of lessons here – picking a good food source, not bumping the jar, trying to create a realistic environment, estimating and guessing the number of days until he becomes a butterfly, cleaning out the poop carefully every couple of days, feeding the caterpillar, observing him eating and moving or not moving, watching for the lines of silk around the jar until he actually weaves the coccoon, watching him be still and change into the coccoon, and letting the butterfly go safely after he hatches (What? We can’t keep him?)

    We have two more coccoons sitting on the counter right now….

  2. We’ve raised butterflies once already–some “leftovers” from dh’s work. (He trains science teachers.) We’ve read several good butterfly books. Here are some links to my reviews.

  3. I love the look on Hannah’s face in the first picture….she’s so expressive 🙂 So sorry we missed you guys again. One of these days we really need to get time to get together. Perhaps we can make a trek to IN.

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