A month or so ago, Kansas Dad brought in a caterpillar he found in the strawberry patch and set it up in a jar for the kids to watch. We've had a great time with it. The kids named it Moe and First Son accurately predicted the molting. It had been in a cocoon for a while and Kansas Dad and I were a little afraid it hadn't survived, but this little guy emerged today.
here or here for more information). I used my book to identify it (Butterflies & Moths (Smithsonian Handbooks), but there are so many species and most of them aren't even in the book that it's difficult to be certain.) I'm not sure if it's male or female since we didn't see it open its wings. It left the jar, though, and is off flying around the Range. Hopefully its progeny won't destroy too many strawberries next year. (Kansas Dad fed a number of its ilk to the chickens.)
Raising this caterpillar was completely free (since we had the jar already) and a fantastic experience for the kids. We're definitely going to do it again and I'll document it better. I'm hoping I can convince First Son to draw the different stages, too. This year, I was just happy to let it sit on the counter and watch while Kansas Dad put in new leaves every day.