Butterflies fascinate kids and grownups. Children learn many lessons from observing these “flying flowers”. Let these charming insects teach your kids about pollination, metamorphosis and more.
Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden
Every garden attracts a few butterflies that are wandering by, but you can make your garden a destination for these colorful visitors. Would you like to attract more butterflies to your yard? It’s simple, really. Making a garden more appealing to butterflies requires only a few steps and is a rewarding project that brings kids and parents together in Mother Nature’s classroom.
It’s common knowledge that butterflies love flowers, but did you know they prefer flowers with bright colors and strong scents? Groups of blooms in vivid shades of red, yellow and orange attract the butterflies’ eyes and draw them in. They also like a flower large enough to offer a good landing pad.
Types of Flowers Preferred by Butterflies
Butterflies favorite flowers include a mix of wildflowers and cultivated blooms. They are strongly attracted to daylilies, marigolds, asters, butterfly bush, goldenrod, daisies and milkweed.
Make sure to include some of the caterpillar’s preferred blossoms as well, so your children can observe the entire life cycle of the butterfly. Those include hawthorn, thistles, milkweed and others.
Don’t forget, pesticides kill caterpillars and butterflies, so avoid their use. Instead, include in your garden plants that naturally repel pests. Adding a few plantings of mint, marigold, and petunias should do the trick.
Other Tips and Tricks for Courting Butterflies
Make sure the butterflies have a place to quench their thirst by placing a shallow pan or birdbath in your garden. When your flowers are not in full bloom, set out red and orange sponges soaked in a solution of sugar and water so your flying visitors will have a source of refreshment and nourishment.
Even butterflies have to take a break now and then. Include a few flat stones in your garden so weary travelers can have a comfortable spot to rest. Put a couple in the shade and a couple more in the sun. That way they can relax and cool down or, if they prefer, bask in the sunshine.
Another fun project you can share with the kids is creating butterfly houses for your garden. These colorful little homes theoretically give hibernating butterflies a secure place to slumber. No one knows if that is factual, but the homes still contribute a fanciful element to your yard. You can purchase them already made or buy a kit and build it yourself. The kids will love to help with the painting and decorating. When finished, just hang them in the garden, preferably at a child’s eye level.
Enjoying Your Butterfly Garden with Your Kids
Once you have created an inviting atmosphere for butterflies, there are numerous activities you can enjoy there with your children. Purchase a book about butterflies so you can work together to identify the species that visit your home. Read poems about butterflies and talk about the butterfly’s metamorphosis from homely caterpillar to graceful glider. Older children can hone their photography skills and younger ones can put their artistic talents to use by recreating these “flying flowers” with crayons or paint.
Share your love of butterflies with your children by creating a garden that attracts these fascinating creatures to your home. While you’re at it, how about sharing some butterfly kisses with your kids, too?