Our kids live in such an interesting world. They have access to amazing technology, that can be a blessing (i.e., a fun way to learn, great entertainment on long trips, etc) and a curse (i.e., questionable effects on developing brains and social skills!). They spend long days in school and seem overwhelmed by homework, even in the first grade (as the mom of a first grader, I can attest to this).
So, I wanted to share a fun experience we recently had that was 100% technology-free, totally pure, and full of learning…just for the fun of learning. Last holiday season, my 20-something nieces bought my kids a butterfly pavilion (made by Insect Lore). We put it away because it was not the right time of year for butterflies, but come spring, my husband announced it was time to order our live larvae from California (the card to do so comes enclosed with the kit).
Well, I must admit that when I heard this, I was not thrilled. We live in an old house and spend a fair bit of money keeping bugs out of our house. I was not excited by inviting some in!
But, when our larvae arrived, they were in sealed containers, with their own self-contained food. And, really, they were cute, fuzzy caterpillars.
For several days, we watched our caterpillars eat and grow (our four year old obsessively read The Very Hungry Caterpillar during this phase of the fun!). They then spun beautiful chrysalides (which our little guy called “Raccoons” instead of “Cocoons”). Once this had been accomplished, my husband with his gentle heart doctor hands, transferred the Raccoons from their little jars to their mesh butterfly pavilion. Within days, we observed the “birth” of eight beautiful butterflies. We then fed them sugar water and cut flowers and this weekend, we will release them into the great outdoors.
Daily, our six year old kept a journal, noting what was happening with our very hungry caterpillars. The kids played an active role in keeping count of them, helping with their transfer to the pavilion, and feeding them. It was really an amazing experience!
For “city kids,” it is so rare that we have a chance to really experience the wonders of nature. I strongly encourage all you Calm Moms to show nature to your kids this summer. Get a butterfly kit like ours, go hiking, go on a boat ride, visit the beach….anything to get the kids away from the screens and show them our cool, wonderful world. Happy summer!