When my first child, Elijah, was one, we would go for walks every day around our apartment complex. There was a field behind the complex full of weeds and wildflowers. Eventually that field would become more apartments, but that summer in that field of weeds, we found caterpillars. We hunted for them all summer and ended up releasing 8 monarchs. We kept a journal with dates of when we found them and when they hatched. We got out our crayons and drew a big "J" in our journal. Eli called the monarchs his "buh-fys". We had such great fun that summer. At the end of the season, I made him a little photo book entitled "Eli's Butterflies". It was our story of that summer. Eli is almost 9 now and even though some of the novelty has worn off for him, that book remains in his "special drawer" with all of his other most treasured possessions.
I have four kids now and am so delighted that they have ALMOST as much fun as I do every summer raising monarchs. The older ones are so used to it, the novelty has worn off a bit for them. My three year old however, was my partner in crime for my 2014 tagging season. She helped me release all 30 monarchs. Every morning she would wake up and run over to the rearing containers to see if another monarch had hatched. If one had, she would do her usual dance of excitement. This is the most incredible gift I can give to my kids. It shows how magical nature can be and teaches them to respect it. It is also one of the easiest traditions you can do with your family and it lasts all summer long!!