Monday, August 01, 2005

Our very hungry Caterpillars

Raupe, Raupe, Raupe!!! Max (18 months old) has this word down pat. We have been observing 5 little caterpillars grow into big fat caterpillars and yesterday they started changing into pupa! This has been an amazing experience for all of us to see. I have to admit that I'm the most excited about the process.

This is what our caterpillars looked like, although I didn't take this picture :)

We ordered the caterpillars from Uncle Milton's and received them in a little transparent container. They've been eating and eating and eating since then. Then yesterday, they congregated at the top of the container and were noticeably slowing down. I figured they would slowly change and develop their chrysalid - but it only took a couple hours for the first two to change. It was amazing! The process was quite dramatic. They changed from being dark brown / black and hairy to being light brown and smooth (and of course tucked inside). Later I'll take the pupa out and place them in the net butterfly habitat.

This is a great activity for kids of all ages. I wish I had done this years ago! I can't wait to see the butterflies emerge! We're going to have to take them on vacation so we don't miss the show.

Here are some German websites with info on caterpillars.
German / English diagram of the butterfly lifecycle

Die bunte Welt der Schmetterlinge
Lots of information and pictures

Planet Wissen
Includes some great pictures of caterpillars and butterflies plus a wonderful video which shows the lifecycle of a butterfly from beginning to end.

Now that you've gotten hooked on caterpillars, why not try out some stories?
Eric Carle's Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt (The very Hungry Caterpillar) in a German boardbook version and in a German/English version and as a Singspiel on CD.

We're off on vacation for a couple weeks but I'll try to blog while we're away. I hope you are enjoying your summer! I'd love to hear what other projects your kids enjoy. Keep in touch!

- Sarah

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