The wonderful world of nature is only a few clicks away.

The butterfly net slices through the air and brushes beside the dancing butterfly as it flutters away.  You watch your daughter chasing the elusive butterflies as they float on the wind from bush to bush. You think back to when you were growing up and remember the times you had with your parents chasing butterflies. "It got away, Daddy." she yells back as she is off chasing another one. The butterfly net ballooning out as it sails through the air, like a distant battle flag from times past, raised up high above the marching troops. In the turmoil of the chase your daughter trips and tumbles headlong into the grass.

The battle flag flies through the air, free at last from the clutches of the flag bearer. "Daddy. Look at all the ants." Breaks the silence as you expect tears not words of wonder. There, on the ground, little black ants had found a dead spider and were carrying it back to the ant nest. What seemed like hundreds of little scurrying ants had completely covered the fallen prey, and the black shape of a spider slowly glided along the ground. How do ants all work together so they don't trip over each other. The wonders of nature have surfaced again. "What's on my leg?" Breaks the silence, as you look down and see a little green frog that had hopped out of the grass and landed on the only bare piece of ground, your daughters leg, in the sea of grass. The frog is intently watching a red and black ladybug devouring a carpet of aphids. Wondering if it could flick its tongue out and impale the ladybug on its sticky end. Before the frog can do anything your daughter shakes her leg and the frog in one bound disappears into the undergrowth. 

You loved nature and your daughter is also a nature lover, maybe it is heredity. How do you nurture this love of nature to watch it grow and blossom into a possible career. Think vet or biological scientist or something along the lines of biotechnology. Maybe your daughter will follow this career path and forget about becoming a teacher like her daddy. What about a biology teacher or science teacher.  Now, how do you bring the wonders of nature home so your children can see it without having to go out to the park. Well enter the wonders of technology. As long as you have a computer, an internet connection and a credit card the wonders of nature are only a few clicks away. But how do you choose what to buy. It is right here in this little ebook. Just click on the product you are interested in, and you will see some pictures with more information and a price. When you have found something, whether it is just a butterfly net or a complete butterfly habitat, hit the order button and in a few days hopefully the mailman will deliver it to your door. The world of internet shopping has just opened up for you.  

Butterflies In Your Bedroom

  Kids seem to love most things that nature throws at them. And that includes little bugs running around the house, and flying in the windows. When I was a kid I loved nature. And butterflies were part of that love. Along with my sisters and brother we caught caterpillars. Then we put them in a box to watch them hatch into butterflies. Our favorites were the Monarch butterflies or painted ladies as they were the most beautiful.

  Back in those days, when I was a kid, we had to actually go out and look for caterpillars and butterflies, the pet shops never stocked them. Now, the modern generation have it so easy, they can buy them on the internet and the postman delivers them.  

  I can still remember running around with a butterfly net trying to catch butterflies, even now my daughter does the same thing. But the Internet has changed all that. We brought the butterfly net over the Internet. Then when she never caught any butterflies, we did the modern generation thing and ordered them through the mail.  

  None of this walking around the park looking for the plants the butterflies like, so you can get the caterpillars. Also we kept our butterflies in a shoebox, with a few holes in the lid and sides to give them

some air. Now you can buy a readymade butterfly enclosure, like a big butterfly net that keeps your butterflies safe and sound.

  The internet has changed life as we know it. But kids are still the same. They are still fascinated by what nature can do. And nothing is more fascinating that watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.

  Weíll now have a look at what the mailman can delivery to your door. All you need these days is an internet connection and a credit card, and the world of nature is yours.

  On the market these days are a number of different butterfly habitats. So weíll have a close up look at a few of the most popular products out there.

 Butterfly Pavilion seems to be one of the bigger of all the most common butterfly nets. And it is a good design. It is built in a spiral so it squashes down fairly flat when not in use. 

With most mail order critters you first buy the cage then send away for the bugs, and butterflies are no different. Here you order 10 caterpillars and the company guarantees six to be perfect specimens. Most customers got all 10 alive through the post therefore ending up with 10 butterflies.  

  The pavilion is around 2 foot high so it is quite large. You can either hang it up or put it on a table or the floor. It is made from quite heavy see through cloth mesh. It is actually an amazingly simple design, wire support in a cylinder shape so it can either hang up or stand up, and it is complete with zippered entry so you can get in and out.

  You also receive a very informative booklet that contains lots of butterfly facts. As well as instructions on how to put it all together and how to keep your caterpillars and butterflies alive.

  After you have set up your butterfly pavilion you order the caterpillars. The caterpillars are pretty hardy so most survive the trip by US mail. They come in two cups complete with food.

  Read the instructions before opening these cups. The caterpillars are supposed to stay in the cups so they can turn into chrysalides by hanging from the top of the cup.

  Everything is supplied but you have to supply your own sugar water, which somehow manages to drip all over the place and cause a mess. But people being people, they love to add some food so most drop in apple slices or run around outside looking for leaves to feed the caterpillars which grow amazing fast.

  After you receive the caterpillars they take about a week to grow big enough to pupate into chrysalis. Then the waiting game starts again while you wait for the butterflies to hatch. That takes about a week to 10 days.

  You now have a pavilion full of butterflies. The instructions recommend you let them go free as long as the weather is over 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this weather thing some people have kept their butterflies and ended up with 2 or 3 generations in the one pavilion. So you can keep using the pavilion but you have to find your own food. After your butterflies have returned to the wild you can still keep track of them by adding a butterfly feeder to your garden.

  It is amazing what people can dream up nowadays. In my day we were messing around with shoeboxes. And it never occurred to anybody to make up a little butterfly cage like what you can buy nowadays. Nature has come a long way since I was a kid.

  There is also a smaller version called the Butterfly Garden which is about half the size of the Pavilion and comes with only five caterpillars. This is for the younger insectologist who is just starting out. 

  Another product is the Butterfly Bungalow which features a carrying handle and large viewing windows. Included is a Color-it-yourself habitat, a certificate for 5 caterpillars, crayons, feeding kit, fun-filled fact guide and a life-cycle fold-out to color.  Ideal for the kids, gives them something to do while they are waiting for mailman to deliver the caterpillars. 

  The last one we will look at is the World Alive butterfly home. This butterfly kit has white butterflies and is about a foot square. It is for the young insectologist and comes with little tweezers and a magnifying glass, as well as the standard activity book. 

    Nature will always fascinate children. So it is these little educational toys that can make a big difference in how we bring up our children and how much they will learn. 

As the cities have gotten bigger, nature usually comes to us on the TV but these new generation nature toys are a welcome addition to our homes.

 

  Ants In The Living Room. .  

  Ants can live anywhere, so why not put an ant farm on the coffee table next to the TV, to give you something different to look at when the ads come on. Anyway pet ants are easy to look after. And watching ants is a good way to introduce nature to your children.

  There seems to be no end in what you can buy through the mail. Ants, butterflies, frogs and ladybirds can be delivered to your door in secure packages. Ready to be dropped into your readymade bug habitat brought from your local toyshop or possible also delivered by the mailman. As cities have got bigger and nature gets further away we are bringing it back to live with us in our living rooms. Also it might be something to do with us, the parents, trying to recapture our childhood. Reliving our experiences with our ant farms that we had 20 to 30 years ago.

  The ant farms nowadays are amazing contraptions, nothing like the a big glass pickle jar with a book on top to keep the ants in. But they still do the same thing. That is to provide a living experience for our kids. Everything comes in the mail, ants delivered separately.

  The main drawback from buying an ant farm is the time it takes to get your ants. After buying the farm and setting it up, you send your certificate back to the company and then your ants are delivered. You cannot buy the whole thing ready to go sort of thing. It is a two-stage process. And this waiting game kind of takes the excitement out of the project.

  As ants are temperature sensitive the companies usually only post the ants when the weather is favorable. That means if it gets too cold you end up with a packet of dead ants delivered by the mailman. If this happens, the company will usually send you another packet of ants for free.

Also, there is no queen ant with the colony so the ants are short lived. They canít reproduce so they die off as there are no baby ants to take over.

  Ant farms are very popular and there are many to choose from. From the NASA Jel Filled ant farm that ended up in space, to the standard one color design that is available nearly everywhere.

We will have a look at a few of the most popular ones available to see which is the most promising.

  The first is an Ant Farm Village. This is three separate ant farms hence the name 'village.' They are all joined together with Antway Connector Tubes and the ants climb up Ant Stairs to get from one farm to another. But they are all quite small and one is circular, so if the ants are hiding in the middle you canít see them. The idea behind the three habitats is to start with one and join the others as the colony gets bigger, but there is only one problem with this, no queen ant.

  Like the other farms they all have plastic models of the standard farm on top so anybody looking at it will work out it is a farm. The main problems with this model seems to be the construction with some people having trouble putting it together, and others saying there were too many holes in the containers so the little ants could break free and make a run for the garden.

  The next on the list is the Giant Ant Farm. This is a bigger separate unit with just one container a bit over 1 inch think, so it is easy to see the ants. It is ideal for group viewing as it is nearly a foot high and one and a half feet wide. Plenty of room for the ants to do their thing.

  The main problem seems to be, the base is not wide enough and it wobbles and sometimes falls over. When that happens the ants usually die because the tunnels collapse. The idea is to make sure the tunnels do not collapse, so you have to be extra careful when you are moving the ant farm. Do not shake it or drop it as that will be the end of your ants.

  The ants in this model are Carpenter Ants and they can give you a really good bite, so keep your fingers out of the cage. Also the color scheme is pretty bland. Mine was just straight green and no other color. Green box, green base and green silhouette farm scene on the top. 

  The next one is the Xtreme Ant Farm, and this is a bit better than the Ant Farm Village. It has got good viewing spheres with a couple of magnifying glasses as windows so you can get a close up view of the ants.

  The construction is pretty sturdy and it is supposed to be escape proof, but some people had their ants escape. I think it is all in the way it is put together, so read the instructions carefully. Some others had their ant farm invaded by other smaller ants. The big red ants are no match for the little black ants.

 This ant farm looks like a take off from one of those mouse exercise cages with climbing walls, vertical ramps and gravity hoops.

  The last one we will look at is the Ant Hill. This is a very basic ant farm shaped like a cone so you have a three-dimensional viewing area the same as the Xtreme Ant Farm. Here most of the activity goes on inside the sand dome so you only see the ants running around the outside of the hill. It has a very wide base so it is pretty stable. If you are a bit worried about having stinging ants running around the place, this is probably the safest as it has a locking lid.

  My suggestion is if you are really into ants, buy one of the habitats then go and find your own ants. Find a good ant nest and grab the queen ant and a bunch of others then your ant farm should last a long time. Why wait for the ant to arrive in the mail. Also there is some debate about what species of ant you end up with if you order through the post. Just remember most ants bite so be careful.

Pet Frogs On The Fridge

  Nature in the mail nowadays can bring us many wonderful creatures that the parentís generation had to go out and find in the backyard.

It is simply amazing what the mailman can bring you. The most common are butterflies and ants, but even the more difficult to keep alive in a plastic tube in the mail like frogs and fish are also available.

When I was growing up we had the butterflies and the ants and they were wonderful things.

Ant farms are another part of nature that we grew up, but we couldnít buy them through the mail.

There are a few nature things nowadays that I didnít have, and one of them is the frog farm. Our generation was not really into frogs, dominated by the --Frog And The Princess-- stories.

 

Somehow I think we were taught things like, frogs were ugly and something to cut up during biology classes. So I never had anything to do with frogs.

But the generation gap or should we say the marketing gap doesnít stop our kids from watching eggs turn into tadpoles then into frogs.

On the market there are a number of frog farms and we will look at two of them.

The first is Surf Frogs' . This is a live frog habitat that is quite an amazing contraption. It is the same concept as the other nature in the mail critters, and that is, first you buy the frog habitat home then you send away for the frogs. This habitat is unique, quite large at about 17 inches long, under a removable two-top vented plastic dome. Plenty of viewing space to see the frogs.

The beach scene is a standard beach scene with a floating surfboard, a palm tree and a sandy beach made of plastic and an umbrella. Not really a frog scene as I think frogs live in lakes and ponds and not at the beach.

The farm is escape proof and should be break resistant. There have been no problems with assembling the habitat, but some customers said their frog managed to get out, as there was a slight problem with the feeding hatch.

The next frog habitat weíll look at is the Planet Frog

This is more a frog home, as it looks like a pond with a little hut and lots of plastic grass and weeds. This habitat has a removable lid and magnifying glass in part of the roof. There is also a warning not to leave the magnifying glass in direct sunlight, as we should all know what happens sunlight shines through a magnifying glass.

This is a lovely looking frog home, less dramatic that the Surf Frogís Habitat, but it is a pretty flimsy contraption. The plastic is very thin and it bends and wobbles all over the place if you try to move it. As the top only sits on it can come off very easily, so some frogs have managed to escape. But you can still see the metamorphous from tadpole to frog.

Both sets come with the standard instruction booklet, frog food and the mail away coupon to order your tadpoles.

With any nature thing in the mail there is always a problem with live delivery of the critters, and that is the same with the tadpoles. These companies seem to have got it together, so if your tadpoles arrive dead you can always order again. The other main problem is expectations of what the critters are going to do. As most things in nature are governed by temperature, sunlight and season, what happens to your frogs can depend on where you live. So donít expect too much from the frogs then you will not be too disappointed.

Anyway watching nature in action, even if it is just the life cycle of a frog, is a very exciting part of life so you kids should love one of these frog habitats.

Ladybugs On The Window Ledge

Of all the insects in the great outdoors, the ladybugs or Ladybirds as they are sometimes called, are possible the most beautiful. When you are outside in the garden, sometimes ladybugs will land on you and crawl on your clothing. And you can see one of the wonders of nature close up and personal. Ladybugs are also beneficial to your garden as they eat aphids .

 Ladybugs nowadays come in many shapes and sizes. We have ladybug jewelry , ladybug watches , ladybug cups and ladybug pictures on our clothes and walls . So why wouldn't we want the real thing, real ladybugs growing up in our homes. And now, thanks to modernization, we can. When I was a kid we keep our ladybugs in an old pickle jar . But things have changed drastically since then.

 Now you can have your very own ladybug habitat complete with a dozen or so ladybugs in your bedroom, and you can watch them as often as you like. We can thank the wonders of modern living for this. The wonders of the post office, the credit card, and of cause nature through the mail.

  The most common ladybug habitat on the market the Ladybug Land habitat. It is a very simple kind of habitat just a plastic bowl over a colorful plastic base but it does the trick, and the ladybugs are very visible. Also on top there is a built-in magnifying glass to give you a better view of what is going on in Ladybug Land.

  This is the standard nature through the mail box-set, so you have to order the little ladybug larva after you have assembled the main ladybug habitat. This can take some time, which is always a problem and the company will not send the larva out during winter, so the wait could be longer. Also they will not ship them to Oregon and Hawaii, but they will send them to Alaska, weather permitting.

  You receive a certificate for 15-20 live larva and after sending away, the larva come in a tube with their own food supply. The company guarantees that 10 will be perfect specimens. If there are any problems they will send you more. As with most of the nature in the mail critters, they come with an instruction booklet and fact sheets.

  Even though the Ladybird Land seems to be the only ladybird habitat on the market there are a couple of similar products available.

  One that looks quite promising is the Ladybugs with Lantern Habitat. This habitat is more like a butterfly habitat, a collapsible butterfly net cylinder very similar to the Butterfly Pavilion.

  Even though this is not a habitat as such, you can send away for somewhere between 75 and a 100 ladybug larva. This would ideal for the home gardener with an aphid problem. First you could have your kids grow the larva into ladybugs and after they are big enough the kids could release the ladybugs into your garden. The product specs recommend letting the big bugs free after you have shown your friends and keep them for a couple of days.             

  You can also buy a large tub of Ladybugs at the local garden center, but for an educational experience this should be well worth the difference in price.

  Also the collapsible lantern can be reused to house other insects, whether flying or crawling.

   If you want ladybugs in your garden have a look at the Ladybug Cabin. This beautiful looking ladybug home would be a welcome addition to your garden. After you let the ladybugs go, wait and see how many make a home in the Ladybug Cabin.

  One aspect about insects, ladybugs included, is they are temperature sensitive and that means if it gets cold they will stop growing. So if your larva or ladybugs stop getting bigger, move them to a sunny spot on a window ledge. That should cure the problem.

  Ladybugs are very beautiful insects, therefore a ladybug habitat where you can see the ladybugs up real close, would be ideal for the young insectologist in your family.