Caterpillar Science

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 some one 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.

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!

We ordered caterpillars from Insect Lore on-line store,, and are eagerly awaiting the metamorphosis that will soon take place.