Nature study can be as simple as a short walk in the neighborhood or as elaborate as a week in a National Park. Don’t make it hard.  This month, We are going to look for Caterpillars and Butterflies. If you can’t find these critters in your yard, you’ll be able to find pictures of these creatures and many others online to explore with your children. Remember: you don’t have to know all the answers to your kids’ questions because you can look up the answers together. 

Questions to Consider

Here are some questions to consider with your kids while you explore:

  • What color is the caterpillar? Does it have a pattern?
  • What differences do you see between the caterpillar and an earthworm?
  • Is one end of the caterpillar shaped differently than the other?
  • What do the caterpillar’s legs look like? Are they all the same?
  • What do caterpillars eat?
  • Do all caterpillars make the same kind of chrysalis?
  • What happens to form the chrysalis? (If you can’t observe this in person, you can use one of the videos below.)

Caterpillars to watch for

  1. Black Swallowtail (parsley caterpillar) 
  2. Monarch  
  3. Painted Lady 
  4. Red-Spotted Purple 
  5. Viceroy





Handbook of Nature Study: 

Have you heard of Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study? It’s a fantastic book covering all kinds of creatures, plants, and habitats. Since it has all sorts of resources in it, you should download it for free at

Anna Botsford Comstock talks about Caterpillars on pages 315-352 of the linked edition of the Handbook of Nature Study. Take a few minutes to read those pages, and keep those ideas in mind as you and your kids watch the weather this month. That way, you may remember the answers to some of their questions, and you have another handy resource to check when you can’t.

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