There are so many terrific ideas for butterfly units.  We have included some of our favorites that we have found to be successful.  Click on each photo to enlarge.


Life Cycle         

This project reinforces the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly.  We used a 10 inch circle  of construction paper for the yellow background and the blue paper was about 8 1/2 inches.  The children wrote the stages on the outside of the circle.  This idea was given to us by Paige Brown of Fairfield, California. 

1.  Egg  In this section, each child drew a small branch with a leaf.  They glued rice on the leaf to represent the egg stage.

2.  Larva  Stage--In this section, each child draws another small branch with a leaf.  We use a curly pasta piece to show this stage.  My curly pasta has broken off on the sample!  I apologize! 

3.  Pupa Stage--Draw a small branch with a stem to glue on a shell pasta.

4.  Adult---Another branch is drawn in this section with a bow tie pasta to represent the adult butterfly.  We found colored pasta for this.



  Symmetrical Butterflies

Each child is given a butterfly pattern to cut out. We use several different patterns to have some variety.  The butterfly is folded in the middle and then opened.  They are instructed to put dots and dabs of different colors of paint on one side of the butterfly only.  The butterfly is folded closed and pressed.  They are thrilled to see the pretty designs when it is opened.





Butterfly Puppets

We purchased this finger puppet from Lakeshore Learning for the kids to use in our unit.  It has a little knit pocket on the back that the kids use on their finger.  It is made from very thin fabric and flutters like a real butterfly when they wiggle their finger! 




Painted Butterfly

Each year we order caterpillars from Insect Lore.  They are quite expensive if you have to buy the butterfly pavilion and the caterpillars.  However, we use the net pavilion  each year.  Click on the butterfly for the link to their site.  It is really fascinating to watch the butterflies go through the stages.  It is also a real thrill to release them and watch them fly away! 






Story Writing Ideas

Click to enlarge.

We use this story starter for children to write and illustrate their own story of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  We bind them and everyone enjoys reading the stories.





Tissue Paper Butterfly

These butterflies are made with an old fashioned clothes pin.  A yellow pipe cleaner was wrapped around the head of the clothes pin for the antennae.  Four layers of tissue paper was used for the butterfly wings.  The wings were rounded on each side. 




Butterfly Songs

"Fly, Fly Butterfly"
(tune of "Skip to My Lou")

Fly, fly butterfly,
Fly, fly, butterfly,
Fly, fly butterfly,
Fly in the sky so high.
Flitter, flitter butterfly,
Flitter, flitter butterfly,
Flitter, flitter butterfly,
Flitter up and fly up in the sky.
Oh my, butterfly,
Oh my, butterfly,
Oh my, butterfly,
Do you always fly so high?

"Pretty Butterfly"
(tune of "Up on the Housetop")

First comes a butterfly
Who lays an egg.
Out comes a caterpillar
With many legs.
Oh, see the caterpillar
Spin and spin
A little chrysalis to sleep in.
Oh, oh, oh, look and see,
Oh, oh, oh, look and see.
Out of the chrysalis, my, oh, my,
Out comes a pretty butterfly!

"If you're happy and you know it"

There are four layers in the rainforest.
There are four layers in the rainforest.
Forest floor, understory, canopy, emergent
There are four layers in the rainforest.



Links to Other Butterfly Resources

Click on the butterflies for links to more ideas!


Butterfly Bibliography


From Caterpillar to Butterfly  by Deborah Heligman
I Wish I Were A Butterfly  by James Howe
Life Story of a Butterfly  by MacLeod
Butterflies and Caterpillar by Barrie Watts
Butterfly and Moth by Paul Whaley
Butterfly House by Eve Bunting
Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Very Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Book by Eric Carle
Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibson
Butterflies, Moths, Monarchs and More by Joni Hunt
Butterflies and Moths by Angel Julivert
Amazing World of Butterflies and Moths by Louis Sabin
Butterflies by Karen Shapiro
Charlie and the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise
Caterpillar's Wish by Janice Morrison