A few weeks ago I visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park butterfly exhibit with my mom, my grandma, and my 3 daughters. It was a wonderful experience!
It was great timing because we had just visited one of Ellie and Hanna’s sweet friends that had her very own butterfly garden! The girls were very interested and excited to see her caterpillars and it reminded me of when my sisters and I used to have our own butterfly gardens when we were growing up. It is such a neat and fun way to teach kids about science and life cycles.
I decided to get the girls their own butterfly garden so that they could observe the caterpillars growing and moving through the different stages of their life cycle. They have really enjoyed checking in on the caterpillars each day and watching them grow. We bought this garden from Insect Lore on Amazon and it came with a coupon to get our 5 caterpillars for only $5.
It was also perfect timing for me to teach a lesson on butterflies for our preschool co-op. In addition to our regular curriculum here are the butterfly and bug specific activities that I shared with the kids.
During circle time I incorporate these fun movement/action songs:
“Butterfly Butterfly flutter around
Butterfly Butterfly touch the ground
Butterfly Butterfly fly so free
Butterfly Butterfly land on me
Butterfly Butterfly reach the sky
Butterfly Butterfly say good-bye”
“Five little butterflies by the door, One flew away and then there were four
Four little butterflies by the tree, one flew away and then there were three
Three little butterflies up in the blue, one flew away and then there were two
Two little butterflies out in the sun, one flew away and then there was one
One little butterfly all alone, she was so lonely so she flew home.”
My friend shares these two books with me so that I could read them with the girls to learn more about butterflies.
I read an excerpt of “My Oh My Butterfly” for preschool.
For snack time I taught the life cycle of a butterfly from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, then butterfly. I used an idea for a edible butterfly life cycle from My Little Yellow Room blog. For mine I used mini marshmallows for the eggs, sour gummy worms for caterpillars, puffy cheese snacks for the chrysalis, and butterfly shaped pretzels for the butterflies. I really like how she suggested giving the kids all the snacks mixed in a bag and then having the children sort them in the appropriate cycle before eating.
I used an idea from Finding the Teachable Moments for an insect sensory bin.
For more sensory fun I had the kids pick out a bug from the bin and press it into play-dough to make bug molds. They loved trying out all the different bugs.
To reinforce our shape of the month: octagon, I had the kids glue the octagon shapes for the caterpillars body and then we painted grass with forks for fun texture. I was inspired by this idea for cup-painting caterpillars.
We made cheerios caterpillar worms to work on fine motor skills and reinforce our number 40!
We made coffee filter butterflies inspired by mommygaga. I had the kids paint with medicine droppers and watered down crayola water color pain to mimic the way butterflies eat.
For closing I found some bug action cards on Pinterest and we moved like different bugs to shake our wiggles out.
Have you ever made a butterfly garden? I would encourage you to try this fun and easy activity with your kids. I loved it too!