We live in a technology-dominated world where the pace of life seems to increase at an alarming rate. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with the rapid changes and we can become disconnected from the natural world.
This is unfortunate because it is in nature that we can find a great deal of peace to help us cope with modern life. When it comes to butterfly gardening for kids, there are considerable advantages to consider.
Creating a butterfly garden may be an exercise in creativity, but it has tangible benefits for your family and your other plants too. Observing the metamorphosis of butterflies up close can stimulate the curiosity that kids have about the natural world.
This can inspire in them a love for nature that can last a lifetime. So here we’ll delve into the question of what the benefits of butterfly gardening for kids are.
Encourages Observation and Curiosity of Butterflies
The observation of butterflies has four main benefits.
1. Satisfying Natural Curiosity
A butterfly garden is an ecosystem that will be teeming with a wide variety of insect and plant life. This is in effect a natural classroom where kids can get their questions answered about these various species of plants and animals.
Although the focus will be on the lifecycle of the butterfly, there is a wider interplay between them and their environment that’s interesting to explore.
2. Observing the Butterfly Life Cycle
Attracting butterflies into a purpose-built butterfly garden is the perfect opportunity to observe their entire lifecycle up close. This will begin with the laying of eggs and the eventual emergence of the hungry caterpillar.
The small caterpillar will then consume large quantities of tasty plant matter that you planted for them to grow and become stronger. When the time is right, the caterpillars will form a chrysalis to make the change to a butterfly.
When the butterfly finally emerges, it is a magical experience for kids and adults too. This can instill in the kids a real understanding of nature and how all living things are interconnected.
3. Butterfly Garden Inspires Creativity
Butterflies appear frequently in the art and mythology of cultures everywhere in the world for very good reasons. The lifecycle of a butterfly can be observed multiple times throughout the lifespan of a single person.
It can be seen as a metaphor for the fragility of life and the importance of struggling to survive. Although younger artists may not understand the wider implications of these observations, they will still be inspired to draw, paint, and photograph these fascinating creatures.
This gives them a valuable creative outlet and as a bonus, you get some colorful art for the refrigerator door!
4. Improving Kids’ Observation Skills
We live in a world of distractions, and it can be hard for kids to develop observation skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. To observe a butterfly properly, it’s important to be calm, patient, and methodical after the initial excitement passes.
Close observation of the butterfly can reveal the species, its preferred food source, and a host of other interesting information. Developing a keen eye for detail at earlier ages is a wonderful way to encourage a child to be observant and mindful of their surroundings.
Environmental Awareness and Conservation Learnt When Creating a Butterfly Garden
One of the best aspects of butterfly gardening for kids is that a better understanding of the role they play in our ecosystems is possible. These are beautiful and fascinating creatures to observe, but they are excellent pollinators too.
As the butterfly flits from one flower to the next to find nectar, they are covered with pollen that they transfer. The pollen is transferred from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of the next. This helps the plants to make seeds and this fertilization ensures that genetic diversity is maintained.
Watching this process take place in a butterfly garden is a fantastic way to see the interconnected ecosystem in more detail. This may develop in the child a certain sense of responsibility for the environment and the preservation of habitats.
Planting gardens that are friendly to pollinating species will make the plants healthier and improve their chances of survival, which is local conservation in action.
Hands-On Learning Experience for Kids
As you can see, there are tangible benefits for the environment and the education of young children when you create a butterfly garden. But, aside from these lofty goals there is another key reason to plant a garden of your own, it’s fun!
The excitement starts to build at the planning stage when the family can sit down and create their designs.
Everyone will need to learn which plants they need to plant, where the water source will be located, and the food that caterpillars like to eat. Understanding these needs will be important to attract a female butterfly into the garden to lay her eggs.
During the planting stage, the kids can get their hands dirty and learn more about soil preparation, watering, maintenance, and more. This will instill a real sense of pride when the garden begins to flourish, and the butterflies start to visit.
Promotes Connection with Nature for the Whole Family
Many parents have perfectly natural concerns about the amount of time that kids spend indoors. Playing computer games can be a lot of fun, but this and other activities form a disconnection from the natural world. Getting a kid away from a phone or tablet screen and getting them to look at the world around them is a laudable goal.
When we go outdoors, we can breathe fresh air to oxygenate our bodies and sunlight is essential for vitamin D to stay healthy. Working with plants is good exercise and close observation of nature can improve patience and observation skills too.
Enhances Cognitive and Motor Skills of Children
Planning, planting, and maintaining a butterfly garden can help a child to develop valuable cognitive and motor skills that will be beneficial in other areas of their life. A natural curiosity about nature can be fostered as the interactions between these species of plants, birds, animals, and insects are observed.
With experience, it will be possible to make predictions about the behavior of these various species with some accuracy. This development of critical thinking skills is sadly absent in modern education, but it is essential for success.
Working in the garden will improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as the child plants seeds and learns to work with various gardening tools.
The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly takes time and a child needs to learn patience to focus on the important details of each stage. This is a stark contrast to the modern world where our lives are often driven by a desire for instant gratification.
Stimulates Creativity and Artistic Expression
Natural forms and colors have inspired artists and creators for millennia and this tradition continues to this day. Butterflies and the plants they visit can be a mesmerizing source of inspiration for a young budding artist.
Drawing, painting, photography, videography, and even a documentary format are all creative outlets. When a child can express their new connections with nature in this manner, the results can be extremely life-affirming and satisfying.
With all this information shared, you can see that butterfly gardening for kids can be a wonderful introduction to the magic of nature. Witnessing the transformation of a butterfly egg to a caterpillar, chrysalis and an adult butterfly up close is fascinating. This can spark the curiosity of kids and help them to develop a lifelong love of nature that can enhance their lives.
Anne Gilbertson is a work-at-home mum, working online building websites who in her spare time writes a blog about creating a butterfly and bee-friendly garden. Her garden is a place of enjoyment and relaxation to help balance working at home, family, and leisure.
Check her out at butterflybeegarden.com/