Cian is absolutely fascinated by the frog life cycle at the moment. As he is waiting for the tadpoles in Fergus’ pool to grow, we decided to start looking at the butterfly life cycle. When we last looked at this, Cics was only one, so this was all new to him.

Day 1: 2nd May

Cici was very excited by the arrival of our caterpillars.

He got straight to work painting a ‘very hungry caterpillar’, but wan’t the only one busy that evening, the caterpillars had already grown by the end of the day! Cian showed Ioan the butterfly life cycle using his figures and was very happy to see the first ball of frass (caterpillar poo) which meant they were eating well.

Day 2: 3rd May

Cian took charge of changing the date on the calendar for us every morning.

The caterpillars had grown more over night.

Day 4: 5th May

Day 5: 6th May

Cian explained to the caterpillars that it is the King’s Coronation today.

Comparing the sizes of the caterpillars.

Day 9: 10th May

Cici enjoyed retelling the caterpillars what had happened to them already and what was going to happen next.

Day 11: 12th May

Reading the butterfly book.

Cian explained how the caterpillars hold themselves in place on a twig, or the lid of the pot, using sticky silk.

Day 14: 15th May

Cater, the first caterpillar now definitely looks like a chrysalis now. Cics decided to name it “Chrys“.

Pillar, our second caterpillar was now hanging in a ‘j’ shape. Cici thought, “Alis” would be Pillar’s name when it hardened.

Finny pointed out some of the caterpillar’s skin (exoskeleton) on the floor of the pot. He explains this process more below.

Day 16: 17th May

Colin the caterpillar was also hanging from the lid. We now had three chrysalides.

Day 17: 18th May

Cici was excited to open up the butterfly house.

Day 17: 18th May

Cian showed me how a spider uses sticky, silky thread to spin a web, similar to the webbing in the caterpillar pot.

Day 18: 19th May

Cics built his chrysalis station, then we carefully took the lid off the caterpillar pot, cleaned the webbing off it and stood it up in the chrysalis station.

Finny and Cian discussing the difference between an endoskeleton like ours (a skeleton on the inside of the body) and an exoskeleton like the caterpillars (a skeleton on the outside of the body).

We went on to observe the process from chrysalis to butterfly, then released our butterflies.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.