At the end of our study of butterflies, we had a party with a few family friends. Initially I was going to have them do tons of butterfly activities, but as I started really delving into info about butterflies, I changed it to have them go through the life cycle of a butterfly.
I was amazed at all the things I didn’t know about butterflies! I learned so much planning all this. And, the kids had fun too! (Ages 3 1/2 to 11) You can find the directions I used for each of the stations here. The only thing I told them to do was to bring an extra shirt.
Antennae making — I just put out some headbands, pipe cleaners, little pom poms, construction paper, scissors and tape. And let them figure out what to do.
As you can see, kids came up with different ways to make the antennae — some were more successful than others at creating their vision. 🙂
Once they were done with their antennae, they grabbed a bag of food. I asked them to create the life cycle — egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly.
I gave them each a bag with a couple plum tomatoes, a Persian cucumber, a few quarter slices of orange, a few peanuts, a couple apple sticks (similar to a pretzel stick) and a knife. I knew what I was thinking each food would be used for, but fortunately I refrained from giving an example and let them decide how to do it. And everyone’s was different and right. It was great!!
Once they’d all finished making their cycle (some had to stop eating), I told them to curl up into a ball and become an egg. over by the tree, since eggs were laid on leaves. 🙂 Then when they “came out”, they put on their extra shirt. And, I told them they needed to “crawl” like a caterpillar — three steps forward, one step back.
Then I told them about the ways caterpillar’s features can protect them. I showed them a few pictures — I was amazed at this!! There are some crazy caterpillars out there. They chose two items to put on. (Look up caterpillar snake heads! They’re crazy!)
Here were the hilarious results. 🙂
They weighed themselves to figure out how much food they’d have to eat if they were a caterpillar. As well as a little caterpillar math to figure out how many more muscles a caterpillar has than us. Then they went to the next station which was food, as they just figured out, caterpillars eat. I used foods from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (sausage, pickle and cheese)
They took off one dress up item they put on.
Then they grabbed a couple of these wings and help each other tape them under their shirts. They’re called wing pads. Did you know about these?! They exist in the caterpillar because when it forms a chrysalis (the last layer of skin), the wing pads are ready to become real wings. They don’t completely transform, they already have parts that are ready to become a butterfly. Crazy!!
They ate some more food. (strawberry, muffin and lettuce) And took off the other item of dress up clothes they put on.
Then it was time to shed their last skin and become a butterfly. First, they decorated wings I made out of big pieces of paper. (Well, my husband made them. Mine would have definitely not been symmetrical. 🙂 )
Then they shed their wing pads and last skin (extra t-shirt) and become a chrysalis or pupa (which was a coat).
They paused under it, then emerged.
And attached their wings.
Once they were a butterfly, they needed to do what butterflies do, get rid of their meconium (red water). I had them just sprinkle some on the ground. They found this hilarious. 🙂
Then they had to put together their proboscis. They took two parts of a cut straw, and put them together. And they grabbed a spoon to act as their feet and body for pollinating. They had to keep the straw in their mouth, no using hands!
Then it was time to do what butterflies do: get nectar and pollinate! I told them to “fly” or skip to the “flowers.” I put out cups all over while they were doing the activity. I put the same number of cups with juice as there were kids present, and double the amount of cups without juice. My hope was they’d wouldn’t find theirs until they “pollinated” a few times. Next to each cup was a bowl of flaxseed. When they go to a flower, they needed to scoop some flaxseed and drop it at the next flower and then scoop some at that flower.
They had to keep doing it until they found a flower with nectar. Once they’d found a “flower” with nectar, they were done. (I ran out of time, but I was going to put paper flower petals around the top too.)
Once they finished, they came to me and grabbed a piece of paper from a bowl that said how they died. The papers said: natural cause (2), eaten by a spider, eaten by a bird, eaten by a person, broken wing, and you finished laying your eggs.
Then it was time for a lesson in symmetry. The younger kids got the ones in the picture below. I put the Lego that matches in a baggie for them to do. This was for the 5 and under kids. They all found it a little bit hard.
Check out the butterfly study we did before the party!
If you want to order caterpillars, you can order on Amazon
Find more ideas on my Butterfly Theme Pinterest Board