Live Butterfly Garden – The Start of a New Family Tradition

By Shannon Gurnee
In Family
July 28, 2013

Last year I bought the Live Butterfly Garden at Wal-Mart when it was on sale. It comes with the pop-up garden and a certificate for 5 free caterpillars. I ordered the caterpillars and they arrived a couple of weeks before the kids’ birthday. They were a big hit come their birthday party. So this year my mom purchased the 5 little caterpillars off the website ( – $14.99 + tax, S&H). And thus starts the beginning of a new family tradition!

 Birthday Kids turn 6  New Caterpillars

The tiny caterpillars arrive in a small container with some kind of food paste in the bottom.  As they begin to munch and munch, they get bigger & bigger and create spin silk throughout the cup.  They grow to 10 times their original size until they climb to the top of the cup, hang upside down and harden into chrysalides. This is such an amazing process and it usually coincides with the kids learning about caterpillars’ metamorphosis in school.  Carter & Caitlyn were giving me the play-by-play of the life cycles of the caterpillars and butterflies.  

Hungry Caterpillars  Caterpillars Hanging Upside down  Moving Chrysalides

One fell, but that's ok.   Carter's school work.

Once the chrysalides have hardened, we remove the lid and there’s a slip of paper that they’ve attached themselves to & we use a safety pin to attach it to the netting in the butterfly habitat.  Then we were transferring the chrysalides, one of them fell off the paper.  Luckily I had watched a youtube instructional video (  & they said to place it on a piece of paper and warned us that it may begin to wiggle.  They wiggle to ward off predators, but it was really cool to watch this and incorporate some life lessons to the kids.  Then one-by-one they begin to “hatch” into beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies.  I think this year it only took 8-10 days of transformation.  

New Butterfly  Flowers, fresh fruit, and sugar water. More butterflies. Feeding the butterflies fresh fruit.

Last year the butterflies went cannibal, eating 2 of themselves.  This year, all 5 butterflies were friendly and survived to let us release them.  We placed flowers and oranges in their habitat and dripped sugar water on them to watch them get stronger.  After a few days we decided it was time to release them.  Caitlyn and Carter were able to handle them before they flew off to our garden.  So amazing to watch the kids laugh as they hold and talk to the butterflies.

I highly recommend starting your own family butterfly tradition! 

Releasing day.  Caitlyn and her butterflies.  Caitlyn & her butterflies.Carter holding the butterfly.   Happy butterfly, happier kid!   Goodbye butterflies.

Please note that I did not receive any compensation or free products for this post.

About Has 2083 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

5 Responses to “Live Butterfly Garden – The Start of a New Family Tradition”

  1. mel says:

    I think Hayley would go gaga over this. She absolutely loves butterflies! This looks awesome and your kids are so wicked cute!!!

  2. Kristyn says:

    what a fun new tradition to have with the family. My daughter would love to raise a butterfly garden!

  3. Terra Heck says:

    I think that would be fun and educational for kids. I’ll have to check into purchasing a butterfly garden myself.

  4. Jennifer Young says:

    We got this same one for my daughter for her birthday last year and she LOVED it! It was so fun to watch the caterpillars growing and changing each day and watching them emerge as butterflies. I must say though, it was a surprisingly bloody process, lol. We didn’t get new caterpillars this year, but I think we will again in the spring, it was a lot of fun!

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