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128 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent educational gift, but beware additional charge
03.07.13
This is a fantastic set for children, and the company produces many others as well (stick insects etc). In the box, you get:
-pop-up butterfly habitat (essentially a nicely decorated net cylinder that is light enough to hang pretty much anywhere, but also free-standing)
-instructions (very detailed but clear and simple, and my children (10 and 5)...
Published 13 months ago by Beansmummy

versus
140 of 153 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product but with hidden costs.
I agree with the majority of reviews written with regard to educational value. It is an excellent idea and when my daughter was bought this as a birthday present I was very impressed, so much so that I bought a couple of extra sets for friend's Christmas presents.

Unfortunately when I opened it up I discovered that there additional postage costs to receive our...
Published on 29 Aug 2010 by Kryton


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128 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent educational gift, but beware additional charge, 3 July 2013
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
03.07.13
This is a fantastic set for children, and the company produces many others as well (stick insects etc). In the box, you get:
-pop-up butterfly habitat (essentially a nicely decorated net cylinder that is light enough to hang pretty much anywhere, but also free-standing)
-instructions (very detailed but clear and simple, and my children (10 and 5) read them with ease)
-voucher code to order 5 caterpillars from the company
-dropper

You do not get any caterpillars, and there is a P&P charge (currently 2.99) to be paid when you order the beasties, which come with their food. You can also only order them between March and September, so this would be a consideration if planning a Christmas gift for example. They are sent by first class post, on limited days.

You can order future caterpillars and food direct from Insect Lore online, who also produce larger sets aimed at schools. Their website is easy to navigate and the ordering process is very straightforward.

We have ordered our caterpillars, which were due to be posted out yesterday, and await them impatiently. I'll update this review once they are with us...

04.07.13 Day 1
Caterpillars arrived today, in a small transparent plastic tub (the size of a small tumbler), with 1cm or so of wax-like beige gunge in the bottom which they were eating happily. They are tiny - each under 1cm long, and 1mm wide - black and hairy. 4 are very active. One is dead (3 are guaranteed to make it to butterfly-hood; they come with a guarantee through which you can claim another pot of 5 if not). They arrived with another superb (but more concise) instruction sheet. Nothing to do now except watch and wait - you don't even need to open the tub, as they apparently grow and moult and grow some more in their tumbler without any other input required until they make their chrysalides. Exciting stuff...

06.07.13 Day 3
I was wrong. It wasn't dead, but caterpillar number 5 is smaller, paler and less active than the rest, and showed no sign of life until today. The others have grown already, and are happily chomping their way through the sludgey food.

08.07.13 Day 5
They are amazing. And enormous. The largest beast is now a whopping 2.5cm long and 4mm fat. The runt is still smaller than the rest at 1.5cm long. They have filled the bottom of their cup with messy webs that they cling on to when the children gently lift the cup to peer in at them.

10.07.13 Day 7
Now the biggest is 3.5cm long, 5mm thick (Runt still only 2cm long). They are very active and very hairy. Their food looks as if lots of teeny bombs have been dropped on it, with big craters and scattered debris. The rate of growth of these creatures is amazing (the children are intrigued but not as impressed as me). Perhaps the current heatwave is contributing. Surely it can't be long now until they pupate? I'm loving this...

11.07.13 Day 8
Up to 4.5cm long, and even Runt is over 3cm. They have eaten through to the bottom of their food (completely clear patches on the bottom of the cup) and are rather short of space now with 5 monsters in a container that would have comfortably held 100 with room to spare when they arrived only a week ago.

13.07.13 Day 9
We had one chrysalis this morning, and another 2 caterpillars hanging by their tail ends from the ceiling in J-shapes starting to exude gunge (it slowly covers them and sort of blunts all their spiky bits before hardening). By the evening they had formed their chrysalides, but the remaining 2 caterpillars had knocked chrysalis 1 off the paper ceiling. Not sure what to do about this; no advice in the instructions.

14.07.13 Day 10
All 3 chrysalides are on the bottom, and the last 2 caterpillars are hanging Js.

15.07.13 Day 11
5 chrysalides. They are all a pale beigey grey with markings, and look nothing like the black spiky caterpillars.

16.07.13 Day 12
Transferred chrysalides to the pop-up habitat. 2 remained attached to their paper circle, which now looks really moth-eaten and fragile, but held together while I pinned it to the mesh. I put the loose 3 on a paper napkin on the base of the habitat and the whole thing on a tray. They wriggle their tail ends madly when handled, even very very gently, and I ended up dropping them clumsily. Children sure Mummy has murdered their butterflies. Hope not.

19.07.13 Day 15
One hatchling appeared without warning overnight. This was one of the 3 fallen chrysalides; relieved not to have killed them during transfer! We hadn't noticed the chrysalis darken as the instructions suggest. It has made a huge mess; looks like watery blood, and has soaked into the fabric base of the habitat; very glad we had put it on a tray. We made up the 'nectar'; the instructions call for a crazily vast quantity of the stuff; really you only need about a tenth. Butterfly 1 very keen on it though. He is stunning, examined closely.

20.07.13 Day 16
Another hatchling. We spotted this one earlier, while its wings were still crumpled, and watched as it pumped them up. The butterflies seemed to have only 4 legs... until you realise that 2 very furry legs are held tucked up in a sort of old-lady-knitting position until they feed. 2 other chrysalides look a bit darker. We really want to see one hatch but so far both have been very early morning. Put out a plastic saucer of peach slices which both butterflies approve of.

21.07.13 Day 17
Another 2 butterflies hatched between 3am and 6am (rather sad that we know this I suppose). We missed the hatching again, but met them over breakfast as they sampled their orange segments. The habitat netting has quite a few holes filled in ith dried red meconium; the effect is rather pretty in a macabre sort of way. We added a tiny narrow-necked vase of buddleia which they immediately all flew to to drink the 'nectar' we sprinkled on it.

22.07.13 Day 18
Finally the Runt (we assume since he was always the smallest and last to do each bit) has hatched. We missed him too! Pah! All 5 butterflies hatched successfully though, and are all active and entertaining.

23.07.13 Day 19
A lovely hot summer day, so today we released our butterflies, one of whom (Runt, I swear) was unwilling to abandon its peach bits and stayed for 20 minutes even after we removed the food saucer (on which it was firmly perching) from the habitat. All the others fluttered out of the open habitat lid one by one and danced around the garden before disappearing off into the blue.

In the following few days I handwashed the habitat which was fairly messy and stained with meconium. It came up beautifully, dried quickly, and now awaits its next inhabitants. The whole thing has been superb; more for me than the children, I suspect, since they take everything new in their stride. Seriously cool though, to observe these creatures so closely, exploring, and feeding, and flying. We'll definitely be doing his again. And maybe some stick insects...
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209 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get close to nature with this utterly wonderful experience, 31 July 2008
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= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Absolutely superb present for the kids that amazes them and provides daily interest as they watch the tiny caterpillars transform into butterflies over a few weeks.

The kit contains a colourful pop-up enclosure with a feeding pipette and a coded voucher to redeem for a couple of quid for 4 or 5 tiny caterpillars. They can't put live caterpillars in the box of course. The voucher must either be sent by post or the code used on the Insect Lore website. I went for the web option used PayPal and effortlessly received the caterpillars within 2 days. You are sent a small clear plastic jar with half a cm of some kind of fatty substance at the bottom. The caterpillars remain in the jar (it has tiny air holes) eating away at the fatty food and growing at an incredible pace into large, black hairy ones. No additional feeding is necessary whilst in the jar and the lid must remain tight until they form chrysalises and hang from the paper that is on the underside of the sealed lid. Then, the paper from which they all dangle must be carefully removed with them attached and pinned into the enclosure and left undisturbed until they hatch into butterflies. Place in some flowers from the garden and a bit of orange, banana or other fruit, drip some sugar water via the pipette and they'll be very happy indeed. Three days later, release into the outside provided the weather is warm.

The kids were fascinated by the whole process, ran downstairs in the mornings to see the progress and took delight in observing nature so closely. I totally recommend this for any kids say aged 4+. You'll be happy to see the pleasure they get from it and somewhat chuffed as a parent (or relative) to have bought something unusual and educational.

And don't worry if the caterpillars hardly move or even stay completely still for some time - that's normal. They probably need all the rest they can get - as butterflies they will cover over 3,000 miles in the 5 weeks they live!
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150 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, 8 Aug 2007
By 
C. Tripp (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
My 3 year old daughter loved this and we did too! Her favourite story at the time was The very hungry caterpillar so she knew what to expect. We bought her a proper magnifying glass so she could see the caterpillars as they grew (they are very tiny when they arrive). I was annoyed that I failed to see one single butterfly hatch and missed all 5. I sat and watched one for over 30 mins as I could tell it was imminent but was distracted and by the time I'd looked back I saw that I'd missed it! This is not the fault of the butterfly garden though! If you look around the internet you can buy more caterpillars another year and use the garden again. So it's great value for money and gets 6 stars for educational value.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 20 July 2013
By 
Mad Saint Uden "Mad Saint Uden - it's an anagram" (Kent - UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 2:11 Mins

This is much more durable than it looks (by this I mean the net casing and the creatures within). It stands up well to my nearly 5 year old who was VERY excited. It looses a point as the zip is stiff and needs a big tug & for the first few goes we were scared it would break.

However all was well in the land of butterflies although we got one that came out deformed and can walk around but not fly :( this is all part of the learning experience - as is letting them go (we had tears until I suggested filming this).

Had to keep the cat away from fluttering wings.

By the way - in the VERY hot weather we did the life cycle in about 10 days!
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140 of 153 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product but with hidden costs., 29 Aug 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
I agree with the majority of reviews written with regard to educational value. It is an excellent idea and when my daughter was bought this as a birthday present I was very impressed, so much so that I bought a couple of extra sets for friend's Christmas presents.

Unfortunately when I opened it up I discovered that there additional postage costs to receive our caterpillars - a bit cheeky for a [...] product!

I am still confident that the item is a good buy but the price of the item is misleading.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An experience, 3 Jan 2010
By 
light (brighton) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
The Butterfly garden is basically a small pop up cylinder with a zipped lid. You also get a plastic pipette and an instruction leaflet and a postcard with a code number and details of how to get your actual butterflies. You can post off to get them or order online. The caterpillars are only available between mid or the end of February and Beginning of October (I suppose it would be too cold to release them) so if you buy this gift as a christmas present the recipient won't be able to use it until at least March. You also have to pay postage for the caterpillars which I thought was a bit of a cheek given the price of the kit (I think it was #2.50), you also may have to wait (when I ordered mine at the beginning of May the site said there had been high demand and that my caterpillars may take up to two weeks to be dispatched)
The baby (tiny,tiny) little caterpillars arrived through the normal post in a cardboard box and were packed in a plastic tub with a couple centimetres of what looked like fudge. We did need to be in as the box wouldn't have fitted through the letterbox. Basically you keep the plastic carton somewhere fairly warm (consistent temperature) and watch the five babies you get (3 are guaranteed to hatch into butterflies)eat the fudge, poo and get very fat. The caterpillars- are not cute little green ones but brown sluglike ones - my older daughters thought they looked revolting but my son loved them and couldn't wait for them to cocoon.
One caterpillar was a lot smaller than the others so we hadn't high hopes for his survival. After about a week the caterpillars cocooned- they climb to the top of the carton where there is a piece of filter paper and they attach upside down by a little thread and cocoon themselves. My son loved this - but you do have to be a little gentle and not shake the jar and disturb them at this point.
Once they have all cocooned (one of ours only half cocooned and the little one managed it three days after the others)you transfer the paper disc to your pop up "garden", safety pinning it to the side gently. You can decorate the garden with twigs and leaves and flowers and wait for the butterflies to emerge. We didn't actually manage to see any of the butterflies emerge, but all four did. They left a slightly alarming red stain all along the side of the container when they emerged - which again my older kids thought was just disgusting . Once hatched your child can have fun making a sugar and water syrup for the butterflies to eat or providing them with cut oranges. They can use the pipette to put sugar syrup on the flowers and leaves they have decorated the garden with and watch them flutter around for a few days before you decide to release them.

My son had a lovely time with this set and took many photos during his caterpillars development.

I thought for what you got the kit was overpriced, but my son did really like it. It would be great for a school group or sibling group too - although you do have to make sure that you book the caterpillars to arrive when you will be at home and not on holiday like a friend did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 20 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Just what my son wanted - although I was not aware that the caterpillers have to be ordered once you've received your kit at a further cost, making the total price a little more than advertised.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The kids love these, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
These are absolutely fantastic. I bought for my 6 year old, but my 2 year old also gets lots of enjoyment watching them grow everyday and now they have started to change. We are all very excited about them turning into Butterflies. Fast delivery of the caterpillars and very easy to order from the voucher. I would definitely recommend - FANTASTIC
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 1 Oct 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
This is absolutely fantastic. It was purchased for my 11 year old son and at first I wondered if it would be too young for him.
I was wrong, both him all his friends and my 8 year old daughter loved it. We even had the pleasure of seeing a butterfly emerge from its case. Its very educational + interesting. I would definately recommend it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 15 July 2009
By 
Liz "Liz" (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
This was a fantastic purchase for my class of reception children - all the caterpillars turned into butterflies - it was like magic for us all! Well worth investing in. I would just say though that the offer of purchasing more caterpillars at five times the original price was a little steep!
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