Outdoor Hour Challenge #22 Butterflies

“If children are terrified of bugs, it’s usually because they caught the fear of adults around them.”
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1 page 58

Spending time outdoors at this time of the year usually brings us into contact with a butterfly or two. I know for our family we just about every day see some sort of butterfly in the garden. Little white ones, little bluish-gray ones, and big Tiger swallowtails frequent the many flowers and bushes we have blooming in our yard.

Let’s take this week to start looking for butterflies to learn about and talk about in our nature journals. If you have never learned about the life-cycle of a butterfly, check your local library for a good book on the topic. The Handbook of Nature Study describes the cycle with words but it is much more interesting to have a picture book that illustrates the most interesting of life-cycles.

Another way to study butterflies is to purchase a kit to hatch your own. This is the perfect way to observe each of the stages of life that the butterfly goes through.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #22
Focus on Insects-Butterflies

1. This challenge starts the beginning of our mini-focus on insects. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study the introduction to insects, pages 294-300. The Black Swallowtail and the Monarch Butterflies are specifically covered in the Handbook of Nature Study. You can read over those sections before your outdoor time in case you encounter those particular butterflies and to give you ideas for observing any sort of butterfly that you may have in your local area.

2. Use your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time to look for insects and in particular butterflies. Spotting butterflies might need to be done as you go about your daily activities and then taking the opportunity to do your observations at that time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a butterfly this week but look at this as an ongoing challenge as the summer progresses.

Here is a link to an article on how to attract and catch/release butterflies.
How to Catch Butterflies

3. After you have your outdoor time, provide an opportunity for working on a nature journal entry. You might consider drawing a butterfly and labeling its parts as a way of narration of the points you have discussed this week. If you found a different kind of insect, you can make a nature journal entry for that one as well.

4. If you observe more than one kind of butterfly this week, make sure to start a list of butterflies in your nature journal. I like to keep a running list in the back of my nature journal. Keep adding to your list of other insects as well.

For more insect nature study ideas: Insects on the Handbook of Nature Study

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  1. We did the kit from insect lore last summer, but I will have to re-order and do this again with the kids. It was so much fun.

    I reserved some books at the libary and we will focus on butterflies for a week. :)

    Thanks! :)


  2. I just wanted to pass this information on in case someone would like to do a study on butterflies. On Currclick, they are offering a free unit study on butterflies. This offer is only available for 1 more day and a new freebie will be shared on Monday.


  3. Hey Barb, Would you mind taking a picture of your list in the back of your notebook? I’m a visual learner and so I would just like to see how you do it.


  4. We enjoyed this study, and now we’re looking forward to ordering a kit to watch the butterfly life cycle first-hand!

  5. We plan to raise some butterflies to kick off our school year, as we did last year. Your butterfly photo is awesome!

  6. As usual – we love your challenges :). Our GOAL (ha ha – those goals and I never get along ha ha) was to go back and really work backwards on the challenges but this beauty practically fell in our lap. With the amazing interest my littlest twin has found it it – once again I feel as if the Lord has used your challenges to get me where we need to be! :) I also downloaded the currclick freebie and it looks good. We’re going to do a little mini unit using it too. :) Enjoy your week!

  7. We fell a little behind with our Challenges – too many reasons why! However, we went outside today and just focussed on insects – it was fun!!
    We’re also “growing butterflies” with the Insect Lore kit – we have chrysalids this week!

  8. We are having a lot of fun with our butterflies. Check out some of my other enteries on our Monarch. Especially our video on the chrysallis

  9. My 4 year old son & i have just witnessed one of our caterpillars hatching from its cocoon into a beautiful butterfly.

    Henry was amazingly engrossed by everything related to the butterfly and we really did a great journal entry for this challenge.


  10. Just did this one today. The butterflies weren’t out in their usual numbers but we found what we needed. It was fun and relaxed… for the most part. LOL! Had to make a compromise with my youngest but I think it will work out all for the better.

  11. We’ve been blessed to enjoy a three week cycle of the gulf fritillary. Now we are starting with black swallowtails. (Big smiles)

  12. i had to work on this challenge when i saw how many butterflies were on my peppermint patch…it was a crazy frenzy of fluttering wings!

  13. Is there a certain website or company that you recommend that I could buy a butterfly kit for the kids? thanks

  14. I have used Insect Lore in the past:

    Hope that helps.

  15. We focused on monarch butterflies for our study. We’ve been raising and releasing monarchs for several years now and it is always a highlight of our summer: http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/2014/09/milkweed-and-monarch-butterflies.html

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