In addition to being the first day of spring, did you know that today is Very Hungry Caterpillar Day? Eric Carle’s beloved book is a wonderful way to get kids excited about caterpillars and butterflies. Butterfly conservation is super important. Here are some easy ideas for teaching kids about butterfly conservation. Affiliate links are included in this post.
Butterfly Conservation for Kids
Experiencing nature and seeing the animals and plants that we want to conserve is my #1 tip. Go look for butterflies outside – in your backyard, at the park, or on a hike. Where can you find them? Butterflies like bright colored flowers. As the flowers bloom in the spring, be on the look out for butterflies.
Visit a butterfly conservatory. We are fortunate to have two locations in St. Louis. At the St. Louis Zoo, you can visit the Mary Ann Lee Butterfly Wing of the Insectarium. The Missouri Botanical Garden has the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. (The Botanical Garden is located in Tower Grove and the Butterfly House is in Chesterfield.)
Butterfly conservatories are a fabulous way to see lots of butterflies up close and personal. Most conservatories have several different butterfly species from around the world. You can experience all of their beautiful colors and patterns. Watch out for their cool camouflage, too. Below is the underside of a blue morpho’s wings.
Here’s the top side of the blue morpho butterfly. This one landed on me a few years ago at the zoo.
Here’s Lily at a recent visit to the Butterfly House. She’s sitting and watching the butterflies fly around her.
All three of my kids loved visiting the Butterfly House. Aiden had his camera handy and was busy taking pictures of butterflies and plants. Baby Elon hung out on my back in the baby carrier. He was all smiles watching the butterflies fly by.
My favorite picture may be this one of the owl butterfly. I think it is aptly name, don’t you?
Take the opportunity to look at chrysalis while you’re there. You might even get to see a butterfly emerge.
Plant a Butterfly Garden
An important part of butterfly conservation is providing a place for butterflies to live, eat, and lay eggs. You can set up a small butterfly garden to help out.
Butterflies like habitats with full sun. Your garden will need plants with nectar for the butterflies to feed on as well as plants for the caterpillars to eat. Choose native plants to attract local butterflies. Butterflies like bright colored flowers with strong scents.
It is also important that the area be free of pesticides. Caterpillars and butterflies are greatly affected by pesticides. You can add plants that naturally repel pests like marigold, mint, and petunias. Ladybugs and dragonflies are excellent at pest control as well.
A butterfly garden helps butterflies and it allows you and your children to observe the butterflies, too!
Read about Butterflies
The following butterfly books are great for encouraging learning more about butterfly conservation.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors
Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Field Guides)
Fliptomania Monarch Butterfly Flipbook
Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons
My, Oh My–A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
Do you have a favorite butterfly book?
Very Hungry Caterpillar Day
Download an activity pack for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have fun with the book.
Try our 3 Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired scavenger hunts, too.
To celebrate Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, Penguin Kids is giving away 5 copies of the book.
We’re sharing conservation ideas this week for the Storybook Science series. Follow along with the rest of our Storybook Science here. Bloggers will be sharing a new science idea inspired by a children’s book each day of March.
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