By Lisa Brown
Teaching children about butterflies can be done in a respectful way. We do this by teaching them to be observers in the butterfly’s natural habitat. A wonderful way to teach children all about butterflies is to teach them how to create a butterfly garden!
You can teach children through books and online all about the different kinds of butterflies and where they live. You can share with them information about the butterfly life-cycle. Teaching children about butterflies is magical!
Teaching children how to create a butterfly garden is a wonderful way to help children capture insight about the needs of butterflies. By creating a beautiful butterfly garden, you are teaching kids how important plants are to the life of butterflies.
Teaching them safety from harmful pesticides is extremely useful for all of us to keep in mind for the sake of all living things. Safe pest control in the garden that doesn’t kill butterflies.
We all play a part in caring for God’s fragile creation! Teaching children how to create a butterfly garden teaches them about the needs of nature.
How many butterflies are endangered because they have nowhere to go?
Following are ideas that you will need for a butterfly garden. Included are creative ideas to help make your butterfly garden special for you and your children.
How to Create a Butterfly Garden with Kids
Butterfly Host Plants
Butterfly host plants make your butterfly garden caterpillar friendly. You can start growing seeds inside to get them ready for your garden. Check out my last blog post about starting your garden indoors.
A good butterfly garden has plants that will attract butterflies and caterpillars. Host plants provide a nice place for butterflies to lay their eggs. Butterflies like to do this under leaves so that when eggs hatch, the caterpillars have food.
Monarch butterflies like the milkweed plants!
Milkweed is a toxic plant, so it’s important to teach children about safety around plants. Put a cute garden fence around plants that are toxic so that kids learn to stay out and pets can’t get in either.
Other host plants that do great are nettle, clover, dill, fennel, and parsley. All these plants do best in the shaded part of the garden. Herbs are fun to taste and kids enjoy picking.
Butterfly Nectar Plants
Nectar plants make a garden butterfly friendly! With nectar plants you want to have a variety so that flowers are constantly blooming and providing nectar throughout the whole season.
Nectar plants do great in the sunny part of the garden.
Butterflies are attracted to plants that are purple, blue, white and pink. But really, butterflies like all colors. Some of their favorites are mums, zinnias, alyssum, butterfly weed, coneflowers (echinacea), phlox, and oregano.
You can also purchase seed packets for butterflies.
Landscaping Your Butterfly Garden
When arranging plants put the tall ones in the back, medium size ones in the middle, small ones in front and around borders.
Arrange similar plants in clusters instead of spread out all over the yard. This will make it easier for the butterflies to find nectar and use less energy flying around.
Butterflies like mud and sand puddles to flock for salts and nutrients as well as water. This is definitely a fun activity for kids to do!
Give the kids shovels so they can dig a pool in the ground. Add rocks to help hold the water. Daily they can check the pool and fill it up with water. You can also add twigs and rocks for the butterflies to sit on.
Butterflies like to bask on flat rocks in the sun. They need a resting place to warm up their tired wings and muscles. You can have your kids use non-toxic paint to decorate rocks.
Butterfly Garden Decorations
Children learn best by being present, observing, and getting hands on. Your butterfly garden needs to be a place that is fun for them. You could set up a little garden table with chairs!
You could also add a sand box with shovels and buckets. Kids enjoy making their own paths or designs with river rocks. Kids can make little landing spots for butterflies and with a variety of supplies. They can create little sculptures with empty flower pots, trays, bowls, small bricks or freshly cut tree wood.
Butterfly boxes are definitely fun to make with kids and they can look adorable in your garden. Little butterfly houses can make a great place of shade and rest for a tired butterfly. Just think how exciting your kids will be when a little friendly butterfly visits their home that they helped create.
Caring About Butterflies
Feeding butterflies fruit is another wonderful opportunity for kids to connect with nature. Butterflies like to land and suck on oranges and grapefruits! You could have your child cut slices for their little friends and serve the juicy fruit on a hanging tray from a tree branch.
Projects like this help children learn to be responsible by taking care of their garden. Ownership of the garden builds confidence and a sense of appreciation. Children learn that their actions and choices in life matter and effect the world around them.
Have you created a butterfly garden with your children? What tasks did your children help create?
Lisa Brown is an aspiring writer and owner of The Family Roadmap Blog and a Parent Coach at the National Center Of Biblical Parenting. She has a 10-yr. old son, a 7-yr. old daughter, and has been married to her husband for 12 yrs. Prior to marriage, she worked over 20 yrs. enriching the lives of hundreds of children and families. Lisa has a Bachelors in Social Work and Early Childhood Education. To meet with Lisa about a parent concern or if you would like for Lisa to write an article or blog post, you can contact Lisa here.