Raising Butterflies
Outdoor Activities for Kids

If you are looking for outdoor activities for kids that they will love, try..... RAISING BUTTERFLIES!

First things first....you need to find a Monarch egg or Monarch caterpillar.

You find these on......MILKWEED.

If you don't have any Milkweed in your garden, you have some options:

  • Buy some Swamp Milkweed (my favorite) from the local garden center or nursery
  • Grow some Tropical Milkweed ...but this takes time (instructions on link)
  • Go to a "weedy area" near your home where there might be some Common Milkweed and check for eggs or caterpillars (below)

Activities for kids while raising butterflies:

  • Watch for the female Monarch to hover over the milkweed and briefly touch down, then check the leaf for an egg.
  • Check the underside of the Milkweed leaves daily for eggs or caterpillars.
  • Remove the leaf and follow the instructions in Raising Monarchs.

  • Make sure there is always fresh milkweed leaves and change the water daily. (I have found best method for Common Milkweed is to cut stem, put in water and refresh the water again after the "milk" stops flowing.)
  • Clean area of caterpillar droppings (fresh paper towel) daily.

  • Fascinating changes kids can observe raising butterflies:

    1. (3-5 days) Egg turning black - caterpillar hatching
    2. (4 times) Caterpillar is still for a long time - sheds its skin and eats it!
    3. (10-14 days) Caterpillar spinning button of silk - attaches its rear - swings into "J" position
    4. (less than 24 hours) caterpillar antennae becomes limp, caterpillar straightens and moves, skin splits - chrysalis appears!
    5. (1-2 hours) Chrysalis dries - forms beautiful golden necklace
    6. (9-14 days) Chrysalis turns black and transparent - Monarch wings can be seen
    7. (less than 24 hours) Chrysalis gets slightly "cloudy" and starts to split from bottom sides - butterfly emerges!!
    8. (1/2-1 hour) Butterfly pumps fluid into its wings - wings expand

    Is your Monarch........


    monarch male

    monarch female

    Some math activities while raising butterflies include:

    • Mark stages on a calendar and keep track of number of days and hours between the stages.
    • Compare these numbers through summer broods - are they different as temperature increases?
    • Keep track of how many leaves the caterpillar eats - does this change alot as it grows?

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    Raising Monarchs

    "Last year I ordered a packet of 75 Tropical Milkweed seeds from you and had 100% success! I raised 159 Monarch butterflies over the course of the summer. I gave many friends beautiful plants and they were enjoyed by all.


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