Looking for a truly unique gift for a child that keeps on giving? The Live Butterfly Garden might just be it.
I remember receiving the butterfly larvae in the mail as a kid, watching them build coccoons, and hatch into butterflies. We’d watch them fly around the cage and I’d feed them sugar water from a dropper. Then after a few days of this I’d finally be convinced by the Grandparents that they needed to go free. We’d go out into the backyard on a warm summer afternoon and let them go, watching them flutter in the wind as they drifted away…
The Grandparents picked up the Live Butterfly Garden for the kids a month ago and WOW, what a hit. There hasn’t been a day gone by when the boys didn’t jump up in the morning and run to the caterpillar container to see what had changed, then call the Grandparents to give them the full report.
Here is how it works.
- You buy the kit, but you then have to order the butterfly larvae from the Insect Lore company via a provided form or the company phone number, which costs $3. THE BUTTERFLY LARVAE DO NOT COME IN THE BOX. This seems to be a common mistake that people make when they give this as a gift. If you’re giving it as a gift, you can crack open the box and call the company to order the caterpillars ahead of time.
- The butterfly larvae arrive in the mail a few weeks later. They are quite slow and hardly move at all. Don’t assume they’re dead, because they really only move an inch a day. Keep them out of direct sunlight and don’t disturb them.
- A week or so later, they’ll climb to the top of the container and form chrysalises. Wait a few days after they do this.
- Transfer them to the Butterfly garden habitat, where they’ll hatch about a week later. Feed them with fruit and sugar water after they hatch.
- Some people keep them in the habitat for their entire lifecycle, which allows them to breed and form more larvae, which requires more butterfly larve food. We let them go after a few days to enjoy the few weeks of life they have out in the open.
Once the butterflies are released, you can order more caterpillars from InsectLore and reuse the habitat.
The company also makes two other larger butterfly products. The Butterfly Garden Pavillion is double the size of the Butterfly Garden and comes with a voucher for 10 caterpillars. The Butterfly Garden Bungalow actually allows a child to crawl inside and play with the butterflies!
Note, you can purchase all three Butterfly Garden products direct from, whom we at The Toy Report could not live without. You ever try to drag little kids through a Large Chain Toy Store and come out with your sanity? Free shipping is your friend.
Note also that Insect Lore states the ages for this toy as 4-99. I would say the excitement for this one stops at around 9-10 years old, then picks up again around age 27. Try giving this to a 13 year old as a birthday present and you’ll be remembered as “the Aunt who gave me Butterfiles when I asked for Video Games”. Why 100 year olds can’t enjoy butterflies, I don’t know…
You can buy them online here: