One of the most enjoyable activities I’ve done with my boys was introduce them to the wonder of butterflies. Years ago we purchased a butterfly kit where you send in for caterpillar eggs, place them in a netted cage, and then watch and wait with wonder. And wonder it was!
However, I’m not big on waiting and I just didn’t like the idea of having to send away for caterpillars every time I wanted my kids to discover science, learn about their lifecycle and actually become aware of those magnificent creatures around us.
So, as I often do, I decided it do it myself. How? Well, a friend had mentioned that the butterflies in her backyard were attracted to curly-leaf parsley. Done— that’s all I needed to know! What started out as an experiment has resulted in numerous years of parsley-growing, butterfly-enjoying entertainment. And the best part is that it never stops. There aren’t five caterpillars to watch- there are endless amounts throughout the seasons, at least here in Virginia.
During those times, the kids and I eagerly run outside each morning to look for eggs, shout out in wonder at how the fat caterpillars have become and marvel at how much of the lush parsley plants have been eaten down to the nubs. We then find ourselves searching the underside of our porch and outdoor furniture to locate the ever-mysterious chrysalis. It’s a daily adventure that we love– not to mention that once we see a butterfly, anywhere, we claim that it must be one of ours! Proud parents we are.
I was at the store yesterday and spotted seed packets again, to include my ever-beloved curly-leafed parsley (not flat). So, now it’s your turn. Get out and sprout your seeds! My calendar says that Spring will arrive soon. Let’s get ready. By the time to warm weather arrives, you will have numerous parsely plants to transfer in order to witness your own children’s delight!
My boys were 3 and 4 years old when we began this adventure. Five years later we are in full swing of a family tradition. Go to the store or local farmer’s market. Plant a little magic, instill the feeling of wonder, gain a new passion and enjoy the excitement. Let me know how it goes!