Raising Butterflies with Kids

Raising butterflies with kids is magical and rewarding! Start with a cup of caterpillars and watch the entire metamorphosis happen right before your eyes!

Updated June 2022

Have you tried raising butterflies with your kids?

When I was a kindergarten teacher, we did this in my classroom every year. And then this spring, it occurred to me that it would be really fun to do at home with my two preschoolers, too!

It was such a fun and exciting experience, for all of us!

We used a butterfly house and sent away for the caterpillars, although you could also bring in caterpillars from your garden.

raising butterflies pin
Photo by Andrea Martelle

Raising Butterflies with Kids



  1. Order your caterpillars

    It sounds strange, but we ordered our caterpillars from Insect Lore on Amazon and they came a couple days later! It was a very exciting mail day in our house when they arrived!

    insect lore materials

    They came in a little cup with instructions, and everything you need to raise them to butterflies.

    watching baby caterpillars

    If you have a garden with caterpillars, you can also find some and bring them in that way.

  2. Observe and wait

    The next step takes a couple weeks. We watched the teeny tiny caterpillars eat all the food that comes inside the caterpillar cup.

    small caterpillars

    And then we watched them grow and grow.

    growing caterpillars

    And then, one morning we woke up and saw that the caterpillars were making their chrysalides! Each time we checked, another chrysalis had formed.

    cocoons in cup

    Once all the chrysalides had formed, we moved them carefully to the little holder provided and set that inside our butterfly garden net.


  3. Wait a little more

    Once the chrysalides are in the butterfly garden, you have to wait a little longer!

    After about 7-10 days, the moment you’ve been waiting for happens! And it will probably happen when you aren’t expecting it! At least, that’s what happened to us.

    butterflies in net

    We put orange slices in our butterfly garden to feed them so we had a chance to observe them.

    observing butterflies

Once we had observed our butterflies for a day in their net, we brought outside and released them! We bade each one goodbye as they flew away.

butterfly on orange
Photo by Andrea Martelle

We had such a fun surprise when we saw them flying around our garden later that day.

Raising butterflies is the most magical process to witness! And it’s such a magical process to share with kids!

butterflies pin graphic
Photo by Andrea Martelle

If you’ve been wondering how to raise butterflies, we highly recommend giving this a try. It’s super easy with a kit like this.

And if you’re really getting into butterflies, you can draw what you observe every step of the metamorphosis process, try a butterfly art activity, and read some butterfly books, too!

painted butterflies
Photo by Andrea Martelle

More Butterfly Activities for Kids

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