The life cycle of a butterfly is a really neat look at life cycles. Kids can watch the metamorphosis happen. We got an inexpensive butterfly kit so that we could observe it. This is the kit we purchased (affiliate link).
You can see in our enclosure that we have several cocoons and several empty shell cocoons that the butterflies have already emerged from. We were watching as they broke their way out. The cocoons began to shake and wiggle, and then eventually we saw the butterflies emerge.
We released the adult butterflies in the garden so they could live out their lives.
Watching the whole process was unforgettable. We will definitely do it again.
Life Cycle of A Butterfly Craft
Because we didn’t get to see the egg stage of the butterfly’s life, we made this craft to help us further understand the process. We made butterflies from coffee filters and paint, then pasted them on to a piece of construction paper with other stages of the life cycle of a butterfly.
Coffee Filter Butterflies
- Fold a coffee filter in half.
- Draw a butterfly wing outline on half of the circle.
- Unfold and drop paint in small amounts on on half of the filter.
- Fold coffee filter in half, squishing paint toward the outside.
- Open back up and allow to dry.
- Fold once more and cut out outline of butterfly.
Next, prepare the construction paper by dividing it into four parts, three small boxes at the top and one large box at the bottom.
In the first square write or have the kids write egg. Then glue a grain of rice onto the square. Draw an arrow pointing to the next box. Write caterpillar in this center box. Use circle shaped label stickers to make a caterpillar. Draw an arrow to the third box on the top row. Write pupa, cocoon, or chrysalis in the next box. Use a piece of masking tape, sticky side out and rolled onto a cylinder to represent the pupa stage. Now draw an arrow down to the large box. Write butterfly in this box and glue your coffee filter butterfly into this section.
- Use the butterfly to discuss symmetry. Both sides of your butterfly turn out exactly the same. Have the kids look around the room and identify other symmetrical objects to reinforce and see if they understand the concept.
- Before you make the caterpillars, use the sticky dots to make patterns. Have the kids copy your patterns, predict what comes next and make their own patterns.
- Count your sticky dots.
- Identify colors of the paint, sticky dots and construction paper.
- Learn about which types of butterflies commonly live in your area. Get pictures of them and see if you can find some outside.
- Sketch some butterflies with the real patterns you might find on their wings. You can either observe them outside or look in a butterfly guide, or both.
- Older kids can learn more about the body parts of butterflies, how they eat and which types of plants they eat along with migration habits and so on.
- Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman.
- Learn the letter B and practice handwriting. You can make your own handwriting practice sheets here.
More From Layers of Learning
Here are some more explorations and activities you might like.