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Nature Study and Spiritual Lessons from Caterpillars and Butterflies

We’re studying caterpillars again this fall. We try to find a caterpillar (at least one) every year in the early fall. Last year, we found some near the middle of August while they were still very tiny. I wrote several blog posts about that experience which became quite a saga. They are under the Caterpillar Chronicles category.

I found two this year. They were both almost full-grown caterpillars and ready to make a chrysalis by the time I found them. I didn’t have to work so hard to find fresh milkweed to feed them. I always try to find Monarch caterpillars. They eat milkweed, so I just go look on milkweed plants near the end of August when I want to find a caterpillar.

It is a great experience for children to watch a caterpillar form a chrysalis and then about two weeks later come out of the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. It’s very easy to do. It’s one science experiment that usually works out pretty well. Last year, I did have 2 butterflies that were afflicted with OE Spore and didn’t develop correctly. They couldn’t even get out of the chrysalis. Their wings were all shriveled. I had never heard of it. I had to do some research to find out what was wrong with them. I learned a lot from the experience, even though it was very disappointing and sad. We kept waiting for the butterfly to come out of the chrysalis, but he just never could. We felt really bad about it. But we had two that came out just fine and we got to watch them dry their wings and then fly away.

Our caterpillars are now both tucked safely inside their chrysalises. I hope they will both come out healthy and strong. We live in a different place now, so I have good reason to hope for different results this year. We were in Illinois last year. We’re in Pennsylvania this year.

There is so much to learn about caterpillars and butterflies, and even lots of spiritual concepts to talk about with your children. New life and transformation in the life of a Christian are powerfully demonstrated by a lowly worm-like creature hiding away in a safe place for a while and emerging as a whole new creature. That’s how we are to be – new creations in Christ. But we must stay hidden in Him to let Him transform us.

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