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Gift Ideas for Kids: Live Butterfly Garden Habitat
Butterflies start life as an egg. From the egg emerges a caterpillar that consumes its own eggshell, and then it begins to feed on the plant on which it was "born." Caterpillars crawl out of their skin, and this must be done about five times before they are ready to transform into a pupa. Finally, a butterfly emerges with spread wings and flies off. This development is considered a complete metamorphosis.
Butterfly gardens are a great source of enjoyment for grown-ups and children alike. You can take great photographs throughout the process. Get your kids interested in nature by getting a butterfly habitat and teaching them the process by which a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly.
Insect Lore was founded by an entomologist, which is a zoologist that focuses specifically on the study of insects. He wanted to create a kit for people of all ages to witness the metamorphosis of a real, live butterfly. It took three years of trial and error but he finally came up with just the right recipe for success. Thirty years later, over 11 million caterpillars have been shipped from Insect Lore's facilities in California and England.
Experience the wonder with a butterfly habitat of your own:
Mini Butterfly Bungalow & World Alive Butterfly Kit
Experience the metamorphosis from larvae to a beautiful adult Painted Lady butterfly with these butterfly habitats. These are smaller sized ones, perfect for home or even a classroom. Raise butterflies in these habitats and then release the adults into the wild. Comes with everything you need, including instructions on how to order the larvae by mail. These habitats are collapsible and reusable.
NOTE: If you are buying this as a gift for someone, buy it early because you have to order the larvae and it can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks to receive them. You can also specify the time frame you wish the larvae to arrive to you if you order very early, then you'll be sure to get them just when you need them to include with the habitat gift.
Live Butterfly Garden
This collapsible and reusable butterfly habitat comes with a feeder (you just supply sugar and water), an easy-to-assemble observation chamber and a certificate for three to five free Painted Lady caterpillars (you pay a $3 processing fee). Once the caterpillars eat and turn into larvae, it takes about three weeks to metomorphosize into a butterfly.
Slightly larger than the habitats above, this one measures approximately 13" x 13".
Although we loved our small butterfly bungalow and it had worked well for us over and over again, we eventually graduating to this slightly larger one. This is larger, but not too large for home use and perhaps perfectly sized for a classroom.
Get this one for up-close and personal observation time with your butterflies. Kids can actually crawl right into the tent and be right there with the butterflies!
Want to experience the metamorphosis up close? This large size bungalow is big enough to crawl in and get up close and personal with the butterflies. Comes with a coupon for 6-10 Painted Lady caterpillars and food ($5 shipping fee). This sturdy tent can be used over and over again to raise and observe butterflies.