DIY Backyard Butterfly House: Books for Kids GIVEAWAY

March 19, 2015

Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: The Seeds of the Milkweed from

Week at a Glance:

  • Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: The Seeds of the Milkweed
  • Written & Illustrated by The Second Grade Students of East End Elementary
  • DIY Backyard Butterfly House made with Window Screens
  • Butterfly Garden Plants
  • Monarch Butterflies
  • Gardening with Children

Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: The Seeds of the Milkweed from

Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: The Seeds of the Milkweed

Written & Illustrated by The Second Grade Students of East End Elementary

Why we love this book:

My children have been fascinated with butterflies for quite a few years now. They are especially interested in monarch butterflies and their migration through the Texas Hill Country and the South Texas Central area where we live. We have read books on monarchs, watched documentaries on monarchs, attended lectures on monarchs and have even planted our very own monarch butterfly garden. With all of this in mind, I was very excited to find a book about monarch butterflies and the milkweed plant written and illustrated by second grade students. It is a delightful science book written in a similar pattern to This is the House That Jack Built.

Unfortunately, I found this book at a Scholastic Book Fair and have not found it available new online. So if you are the winner of this cute science book written for children by children, you will have snagged a hard to find collectable!  Come back over the next few weeks for more activities and chances to win.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House

Yes, We Easily Built This in a Day

DIY Backyard Science Center for Kids

Meet MacGyver our Little Nature Guy!

This week, I am highlighting MacGyver’s very own backyard butterfly house. But before I share the step-by-step directions, there are two things you need to know about MacGyver’s personality. First, he loves all things creepy-crawly nature oriented. Anyone who knows MacGyver, knows this! He is a little creepy-crawly walking encyclopedia and what he doesn’t know he makes up hypotheses. Second, he has a very obsessive personality. This aspect of his personality is quite exhausting for his mother and yet his father and I often indulge him. We indulge him because his interests have pushed him to become a motivated, independent learner.

DIY Backyard Science Center for Kids

Creepy-crawly Nature Lover / Obsessive Personality = Butterfly House

For years, MacGyver has relentlessly bugged us to build an enclosed, walk-in butterfly house. A couple of years ago, we helped him create a Backyard Science Center. That kept him quite occupied and almost content. However, he went on and on with his need for a butterfly house. He researched, he drew designs, he even got Grandpa in on the building designs. (Grandpa is a retired engineer and home designer.) We knew it was time to once again indulge his growing interest.

DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 1: Pick a Space – Things we Considered

  • Will the garden get enough sunlight?
  • Will we be able to water the plants easily?
  • Where does Mommy think it will look nice? (Very important!)

DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 2: Plan a Design

  • MacGyver, Daddy and even Grandpa brainstormed many butterfly house designs.
  • Then we replaced all of the old wood windows in our 1950’s home and Mommy hit upon the jackpot idea!
  • When we replaced the old windows we saved all of the old wood framed screens.
  • First, MacGyver and Daddy played around with design ideas on paper.
  • Building day, MacGyver an Daddy layed out the screens in their planned design.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 3: Build a Base

  • Mommy had the idea of using our basic square foot garden as a foundation for the butterfly house and garden.
  • That Mommy she has some good ideas.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 4: Add the Walls

  • We connected two screens to create each wall of the butterfly house.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

  Step 5: Add the Door

  • First,they built a frame for the front of the house and the door.
  • We used a screen for the door and put it on a hinge.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 6: Put on the Roof

  • We did not buy any extra screens.
  • We simply made what we had work! Hence the unique roof design.
  • We used the screen material you can buy on the roll, to enclose the triangle ends of the roof.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 7: Add a Square Foot Garden Frames

  • We used our basic square foot garden design, leaving a grassy walk area.
  • We also added a square foot garden to the back of the butterfly house so we could plant a butterfly garden to attract butterflies.
  • I keep saying WE, I really mean MacGyver and Daddy.


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Step 8: Plant Butterfly Garden

  • MacGyver researched both nectar plants and host plants.
  • Next week, I will share some of the recommended nectar and host plants.
  • We will also take a closer look at monarchs, their migration and milkweed.


Make Your Own Butterfly House from

Step 9: Admire Your Backyard Work of Art!

  • MacGyver and Daddy were quite impressed with their work!
  • I don’t know where MacGyver gets his obsessive personality (umm, no comment) but I do know Daddy indulges our many DIY projects!


DIY Backyard Butterfly House made from window screens from

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Step 10: Collect, Add and Observe Caterpillars

  • This is the first caterpillar MacGyver added to his butterfly house and he took it from the caterpillar stage to the butterfly stage.
  • MacGyver collects caterpillars from our yard, hikes, friends and family.
  • We actually have people save caterpillars for him.
  • He adds the caterpillars and observes them during their metamorphosis.
  • After the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis, MacGyver releases them back into nature.

Follow Jeannine’s board Gardening on Pinterest.

Monarch Resources and Art for Kids from

You might also like: Monarch Butterfly Resources and Art for Children

Books for Kids GIVEAWAY: The Seeds of the Milkweed from

We’re GIVING AWAY one copy of The Seeds of the Milkweed

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries. Answer the following question in the comments section of this post. Do you have butterflies or snow in your yard this time of year?  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.) The Rules: No entries after 11:59 pm Central Time, Sunday, April 5, 2015 The winner must be a resident of The United States. The winner will be selected at random and announced Monday, April 6, 2015. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

Enter GIVEAWAY Again at post: Planting a Butterfly Garden with Kids

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharing this week:

Mama Smiles

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda March 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

WOW!!!!!! This site is really AMAZING!!!!! I LOVE, all the information you have provided, as well as the step by step guide. I LOVE butterflies too…..! But, maybe a little too old to build an enclosure. I would however love to have one for my grand kids. YOUR a really AMAZING BOY!!!!!! Keep up the GOOD WORK. REMEMBER, change CAN and DOES, start with one person!!!!!!!

Elizabeth March 20, 2015 at 10:25 am

I am totally cracking up at the -Mommy having to approve the location- part. Too funny. This is so cool!

By the way I know EXACTLY where MacGyver gets his obsessive personality. :)

I can’t wait to see this in person. Have you considered charging for tours? :)

Elizabeth March 20, 2015 at 10:27 am

You need to add a bird bath in there for their watering hole. I’ve seen them in commercial butterfly houses I’ve been to both in the US and in the Caribbean.

Jeannine March 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Rhonda, thank you for your encouraging words! I will be sure MacGyver reads your comment.

I know, I know Elizabeth! Someone recently got Daddy to remodel a beach condo. (Uummm, wonder who that could be?) We are lucky Daddy indulges all of our crazy ideas!

The bird bath is an excellent idea. We have one in the garden but one in the butterfly house is something we need to add. We do put cut fruit in butterfly house for the butterflies when they emerge from their chrysalis.

Tiffany March 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

Now I know why a certain someone came home talking about milkweed seeds. We are very happy to be back where there are butterflies in our yard this time of year. Snow at Easter is just plain odd.

Jaclyn Reynolds March 22, 2015 at 7:35 pm

We are getting more and more bugs! Can’t wait to see the butterflies this year!

Julie Waldron March 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

Neither one. But it is cold!

Megan Swinney March 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Rain right now.

Jeannine March 25, 2015 at 5:29 pm

I feel so blessed. We’ve had a bit of rain the last few weeks so everything is Spring green. This week is all sunshine. It’s glorious! We are busy in the garden and are on the look out for monarchs.

Erin Hussman March 31, 2015 at 1:36 pm

We are very flexible in MN!!
Right now no snow or butterflies.

Audra April 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Rain and a lot of worms right now

Angela Saver April 3, 2015 at 8:55 pm

We have butterflies in our yard by this time!

Montanna Kawzinski April 4, 2015 at 10:33 am

We have butterflies. Very little places for snow in California

julie moore April 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Well, we are getting to butterflies. No snow at least

Laura J April 5, 2015 at 12:56 am

We normally still have a bit of snow…but this year…it has been so different. We actually set a record high of 83 last week! Today about 40! We planted milkweed last year and cannot wait for it to come up! We did our first mini container garden last year…and had caterpillars on our carrots. We had so much fun watching them grow…I wish we had a butterfly house so that we could have watched them spin and turn into a butterfly!!!!

Laura J April 5, 2015 at 1:02 am

I follow you on Pinterest

Bonnie Boucek April 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Neither one — we are too cold for butterflies and too warm for snow. :(

Bonnie Boucek April 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Following pinterest.

Bonnie Boucek April 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Pinned the book.

Bonnie Boucek April 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Pinned butterfly house.

Anne Perry April 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Butterflies, bees and lady bugs

Holly E April 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

We have butterflies, no snow. I live in the South lol.

liz l April 5, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Usually now in April

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