It’s time to hit the garden. Why not get the kiddos involved with the garden and with pollinators? All you need is to designate a small 4X4 area in a bright sunny spot in your yard and allow them to make informed decisions about what to put in their garden. Use this time as a learning experience and teach them about the importance of pollinators and what their job is within the balance of the ecosystem and the food chain.
Do some research with the kids about which flowers attract butterflies, not just for nectar but also for host plants for their eggs and larvae (caterpillars). Find easy-to-understand guide points here to cover with them in the garden. Coneflower, buddleia, lantana, and goldenrod are just a few attractors. Milkweed, asters, parsley, and daisies are a few examples of hosts. Both types of plants are needed for a truly successful butterfly garden. Attractors provide food in the form of nectar while hosts provide a place to lay their eggs, and after hatching, they will provide food for the baby caterpillars.
Providing wet sand for their water needs is a great idea. Butterflies extract moisture from sand, that’s why you often see them at the edge of creeks and rivers. The actual water itself is a bit more than they can handle, so they extract moisture from the soil or wet rocks. Make your garden a one-stop shop for your butterflies. You can add hummingbird feeders if you would like to ramp up the interest or plant a few flowers just for them. Often butterflies and hummingbirds like the same kind of flowers. That is where your hummingbird feeders may help alleviate some of the competition and ensure that there is enough for everyone.
You don’t have to make it complicated. just build some knowledge and create memories with the young ones! You can find a printable learning guide here with a printable butterfly garden and butterflies to have fun with, even on a rainy day.