Butterfly Science


Butterfly Science

Butterfly Science

Butterfly Science activities for preschoolers through second grade.


Butterfly Life Cycle Bracelets

Children sequence the life cycle from egg to butterfly using a colored pipe cleaner (looped at one end) and the following beads:

one white pony bead (the egg), as a spacer I added a flower bead (for the butterflies to drink from), next one red and two green pony beads (the caterpillar), another flower spacer, then a brown or gold bead (the cocoon), another flower spacer, and finally a butterfly bead.

My class really had fun and wore their bracelets home and shared the butterfly life cycle with their parents!!


As we are observing real caterpillars going through their stages of development (metamorphosis), we are creating a butterfly life cycle tree in our classroom. We got some big sturdy branches with no leaves (see if someone needs to prune dead branches from their tree), put it in a 5-gallon bucket full of sand and began to create the cycle. This process took several days and was in conjunction with our learning of the cycle. First, we cut out green construction paper leaves and attached them on to the branches. The kids then glued on caterpillar eggs (cotton balls) to the underside of the leaves (so the birds can’t find them!). Then we made the classic egg carton caterpillars and attached them on to the tree. We used brown coffee filters to twist into shape and make chrysalides and attached them to the leaves. Finally, we made SYMMETRICAL butterfly cutouts and attached them to the tree as well. What a sight! The kids were really able to articulate the life cycle process!


Monarch Life Cycle

September is a good month to find monarch caterpillars on milkweed plants. If you live in an area that has milkweed, look on the plant in early September for the black, yellow and white striped caterpillar. Be sure to collect some milkweed plant, also. Put the milkweed in a jar of water (to keep it fresh) with the caterpillar on the plant. Place both in an aquarium or bug house with a lid. Your children can watch and document the amazing metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly! This project takes about 4 or 5 weeks, depending on the size of the caterpillar when you collect it. It is well worth the time!


Have the children glue small pompoms on an old-fashioned clothespin. Then have the children put them in a small paper bag which would be the cocoon. The children leave the “cocoons” at school overnight. At circle time, talk about how caterpillars turn into butterflies. Tell the children that in the morning when they come back to school their caterpillars might be butterflies. After class, glue pre-cut wings to each child’s caterpillar and return to the bag. The children love it and it is a great visual for learning.


Butterfly Life Cycle Day 1: Make caterpillars: glue 3 green pom-poms (insects have 3 body parts) to a clothespin, add wiggle eyes if desired

Day 2: put your caterpillars in a cocoon. Paint the outside of a toilet paper tube with watered down glue, cover with brown or green tissue paper. Cover one end, place caterpillar inside, cover another end.

Day 3: (or what a few days to enjoy those cocoons) make wings for your butterfly. I like to color the coffee filters and spray with water then dry. Poke your cocoons open and make your butterfly.

The kids really enjoyed this hands-on way of learning the butterfly life cycle!


We ordered caterpillars from Insect Lore online store, http://www.insectlore.com, and are eagerly awaiting the metamorphosis that will soon take place.


I read this on another, sharing site. I thought it was wonderful and worth sharing with all.

Using macaroni for a butterflies life cycle.

Put it all on a paper plate divided into 4 parts.

For eggs-use rice, caterpillar-use spiral, cocoon-use shell, butterfly-use bowtie.


Butterfly Science

Butterfly Science activities for preschoolers through second grade.

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2 Comments

  • Susannah March 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm Reply

    I found this idea on another website, and tried it with my preschool kids. It worked great! To teach your children about the life cycle of a butterfly, divide a paper plate into fourths. Glue each of the following into separate boxes: a piece of rice (caterpillar egg), a spiral noodle (caterpillar), a shell noodle (cocoon), and a bow tie noodle (butterfly). It gives the children a reference for the different stages of life.

  • Lana March 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm Reply

    This is a visual aid that I made to help show the change from caterpillar to butterfly. I took a toilet paper tube and wrapped it in yarn to make a cocoon. Then I found a dowel rod about three times the length of the tube. At the top I fastened a butterfly that I made out of felt so that it was very colorful. In the middle of the rod I made a pom pom caterpillar. I put the butterfly end into the tube so that the caterpillar was visible. As it entered the cocoon a butterfly emerged out of the top. My 2-year olds enjoyed changing the caterpillar into a butterfly.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.