Thursday 19 May 2022

Butterfly Garden Complete Kit from Insect Lore (sent for review by Bright Minds)

This Spring we were invited by Bright Minds to review the Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore. This is a complete kit which contains everything you need to raise your own butterflies - including a voucher to send away for live caterpillars when you are ready to begin. 

InsectLore Butterfly Garden Kit Box front showing contents and smiling children

Because you raise real live animals, you can only use the kit in Spring and early Summer - which is when the butterflies (Painted Ladies) hatch.

Inside the box are:
30cm reusable pop-up butterfly habitat - a plastic wipe clean mesh fabric, so that you can see what is happening inside without having to unzip the transparent plastic lid.
Voucher for cup of 3-5 caterpillars with food (some older kits require postage, newer sets don't)
Easy to follow colourful instruction guide
Feeding pipette

Insect Lore Caterpillars to butterflies home grow kit contents on table

Ordering my butterflies online was super easy and I didn't need to enter any payment details. I was also offered some excellently-priced bargain add-ons, including different butterflies, food or seeds for just £1. You choose a date when your butterflies will be posted, there are several to choose from each month. Bear in mind this is a postage date, not the day you'll receive them.

When you receive your caterpillars, they arrive in a small lidded pot (it has air holes) which has food included at the bottom. You also get a cardboard chrysalis station and sachet of sugar to feed your butterflies when they emerge. (This is the closest our kitten ever got to our insects.)

Insect Lore caterpillars package contents

Throughout the next few weeks you are sent some emails reminding you to check on your caterpillars and see how they are progressing. It tells you what sort of stage they will be at, and is really useful for understanding what is happening. They grow really quickly.

Butterfly Garden transformation and growth of caterpillars

Once all of your caterpillars have turned into chrysalis, it's time to insert the lid of the pot into the chrysalis station. That's actually quite scary, but they didn't fall off. There is a lot of silk, or 'frass', which you remove to help the emerging butterflies - so that they don't get tangled. 

Chrysalis of the Painted Ladies with frass

When we moved them one of our chrysalis started moving a lot, which you can see in the video - this is a natural response to ward off predators, and it stopped after a few minutes.

chrysalis station placed in butterfly habitat

The butterflies emerge really quite quickly, and you can see some development through the chrysalis itself, changing of colours as the caterpillars evolve. When a butterfly emerges there may be a red patch and it can look like it's bleeding, but in fact this is it's first poo - similar to the meconium a human baby passes after birth. 

emerging butterflies painted ladies

 Our caterpillars arrived on 29th March, and were all butterflies by 26th April. You can watch your butterflies for a couple of days and let them build strength - don't forget to feed them their sugar water - and then it's time for their release. 

Side view of painted lady butterfly being released from butterfly habitat

We were lucky - we had 5 caterpillars and 5 butterflies. Nature is brilliant, but not perfect, and although you can expect to have at least 3 healthy butterflies, they may not all develop. I warned my children that could be the case. 

When we released the butterflies they were a bit tentative at first, and it was quite a blustery day, but dry and warm. Teatime or early evening is apparently the best time to release them. 

Butterfly release looking straight at tiny creatures face 2504

We had a fantastic experience. The Painted Lady butterflies are absolutely gorgeous, and it's rare to get so close to such small insects. Here's a short video showing our month (it's mainly tall and thin because I posted the clips to Instagram at the time). 

We have put our butterfly habitat away, ready to order more caterpillars next year. It is fun, educational, easy-care and a great way for children to experience the joy and responsibility of raising 'pets' without long term commitment or expense. The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden is available to buy now from Bright Minds, who have lots of other scientific and educational toys which are also fun! Caterpillars will be available in Spring and early Summer. Recommended for anyone aged 4+ (with adult supervision). 

We were sent our kit for review. 


  1. This kit is fascinating, seeing the butterflies grow from caterpillars. Stuff the kids I might get a kit for myself. x

    1. Hahahaha. I'm the same! I reviewed it for myself really, and it didn't disappoint. They are so beautiful, and you don't usually get chance to see them so close up like that. The wings are amazing. :D


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!