Butterflies are one of the most captivating creatures in nature. Their vibrantly-hued wings fascinate children and adults alike.
Make the case that butterflies undergo four stages of metamorphosis; use books such as Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to show kids this process.
As students work together on models that depict these steps, help students explain that a butterfly begins as an egg, then becomes an caterpillar, then enters its chrysalis and ultimately transforms into its magnificent form.
The Caterpillar Stage
An engaging life cycle for children of all ages, the butterfly lifecycle is one that intrigues children of all ages. Beginning as an egg and ending as an adult ready to mate and lay eggs again – this process involves four distinct stages that captivate young minds of all ages.
Teaching kids the life cycle of butterflies is an excellent way to inspire curiosity and creativity while simultaneously developing scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. Our collection of butterfly STEAM activities and worksheets offer many hands-on activities designed to show children the incredible transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.
This engaging activity uses realistic figures to teach children about the butterfly life cycle from egg to adult. First, students label all four stages on strips of brown butcher paper using dotted letters so even preschoolers can trace along, such as “Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis and Butterfly.” They can glue each strip to their butterfly body then customize each with popcorn on its egg strip, bent pipe cleaner on caterpillar strip, masking tape rolled up representing its chrysalis stage and add pipe cleaner antennae as their final step!
To reinforce this idea, read books that explore a caterpillar’s journey towards becoming a butterfly, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Follow up this reading experience with nonfiction titles providing more in-depth details of butterfly metamorphosis.
As another great way of teaching the life cycle of butterflies, songs can also be an excellent way to introduce and get students engaged with learning about butterflies. There are many great songs about butterflies available to sing with your class and can serve as an effective introduction into the topic and get children excited about learning all about butterflies!
For an enhanced learning experience, have the students draw pictures of each of the four butterfly stages and cut and paste them onto a life cycle sequencing chart. Alternatively, create and assemble a spinner review tool so they can visualize and recall its sequence of life stages.
The Egg Stage
Preschoolers will love learning about butterfly and caterpillar life cycles from these lessons, while simultaneously developing compare and contrast skills, language development, movement skills, nutrition skills, math skills and respect for nature. Children will delight in The Very Hungry Caterpillar rhymes and stories as well as various insect crafts that come alive! Our KidsSoup Resource Library also contains plenty of butterfly activities, worksheets, lesson plans and games that may come in handy!
Explaining the life cycle of a butterfly to kindergarten students can be straightforward when you employ engaging activities, books and resources. From using simple butterfly books during circle time sessions to more comprehensive lessons that detail each stage in its entirety – these lessons are guaranteed to hold their interest and hold onto students’ focus!
Your students can create a caterpillar and butterfly using craft sticks and paper. On each stick, students should trace a butterfly shape and pattern on its front surface; while on its reverse they can draw an egg or chrysalis to represent these stages in its life cycle. Finally, students will color both components before assembling them together into one unit.
This Butterfly Life Cycle Craft is an engaging way for students to understand the metamorphosis process and its stages, from larva to full adulthood. The free printable template makes this task effortless while its circular shape is great for placing small pom poms or other items as symbols for different stages of its life cycle.
This life cycle of a butterfly lesson is an engaging way to help students appreciate the importance of protecting our environment. Packed with vivid photographs, organized text and simple sentences suitable for second and third graders to read independently, this article forms part of my Rainforest Informational Articles set and can also be purchased separately. Alternatively, why not purchase a live caterpillar kit and watch its transformation into either monarch or painted lady butterflies as your students watch!
The Larva Stage
The larval stage of butterfly lifecycle involves eating plants. A caterpillar feeds on leaves, stems, flowers, fruit roots seed pods to gain strength. They will also shed their skin periodically as part of this process called “molting”, when their bodies have become too large to contain their old skins.
Once a caterpillar reaches full maturity, it will stop feeding and start building its cocoon on an appropriate branch or leaf. When ready, it will break free of its cocoon and emerge as a butterfly which will fly away!
Use this simple yet fun learning activity to engage children in the life cycle of butterflies. Working together, students should examine and arrange pictures representing each of the four stages in a butterfly’s life cycle to gain a better understanding of metamorphosis and fine motor skill development. They’ll also get practice cutting out and pasting images depicting each stage for this learning activity!
This nonfiction book for kids about the butterfly’s life cycle is an engaging way to introduce children to all stages of its development, from egg through caterpillar, chrysalis and adult butterflyhood. Colorful illustrations and easy-to-read text will keep children engaged throughout. It traces a butterfly’s journey from egg, through caterpillar and into adulthood.
If your classroom is following Common Core State Standards, this unit plan can be an excellent way to incorporate butterfly lifecycle stages into its curriculum. There are multiple activities such as spinners, mini books, crossword puzzles and writing prompts available as options.
As your students discover the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle, reading them stories like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar may help. Reading such tales allows children to comprehend that all living things go through cycles; experiencing such cycles firsthand will be something they’ll remember fondly for years.
The Adult Stage
Preschoolers can learn about life cycles through reading about flowers, trees and animals from our library books; but true understanding comes when they experience them first-hand through this butterfly life cycle activity! This activity gives preschoolers a unique chance to see this process take place naturally while making discoveries of their own!
Before assigning students their individual tasks, have them work in small groups to create puppets displaying four images from a butterfly’s life cycle. Provide each group with four sets of Butterfly Life Cycle Puppet Cards and popsicle sticks; encourage them to cut out these four pictures and attach a stick using tape for easy transport. At first, ask each group to stand before the class with one picture at a time, explaining that students will identify which stage of a butterfly’s life it represents; begin with egg stage (E). Next move onto caterpillar stage (C), chrysalis or pupa stage and so forth until all stages have been identified and students displaying those pictures can come forward at once to the front. Repeat until all stages have been identified!
As soon as a fully developed butterfly has been identified, they break open their chrysalis and crawl out, in order to begin stretching and drying their wings before emerging and taking flight! After two weeks or so they typically find a mate before beginning this cycle all over again.
For an engaging way to review the butterfly life cycle with your class, try this necklace project. Students will practice creating first, next, then flaps – as well as engage in whole-body listening by following directions step-by-step.
Enhance your butterfly life cycle lesson by having students act out each of its stages with their bodies. Have them stand with arms at their sides before raising them up in a circle above their heads as you say “Egg!” Then lower them slightly to form half circles as you say “Caterpillar!” Finally, have them raise straight out as you say “Chrysalis”, only to come back up again later when saying “Butterfly!” It’s an engaging way for young children to understand the life cycle of a butterfly!