Activity: Butterfly Life Cycle

Story by June 04, 2016
Happy June! It’s hard to believe this month of sunshine and blooming is upon us, but we couldn’t be more excited.

Of course, we’d love to take our Southern Hemisphere friends into consideration, so if that’s you, happy beginning of winter! A great time for rest and hibernation.

This month, we’re featuring activities dedicated to the life cycle. Children are so aware of changes in their environment, so we’d like to highlight 4 different cycles that you might see around you, and provide ways to explore them with your family.

Let’s get started!

This week, we’d like to talk about butterflies. They have one of the most extreme life cycles, going through 4 separate stages before ending up as the butterflies we see flitting about our yards.

First step in this activity: The Silence Game!
The Silence Game is a great activity for children who are ready to practice self-discipline and control. Some guides recommend age 4 and up, but assess your own family!

For the purpose of observing butterflies, the Silence Game could work like this: Find a nice place to sit in your backyard or local park. Explain to your child that butterflies are very sensitive to the presence of humans, so we must be quiet and still to be able to observe them!

Next, explain that we are going to sit in silence for a little while, listening very carefully for sounds around us, and watching very carefully for butterflies. When we’re done, we’ll talk about what we heard and saw!

This is a great activity for any kind of observation or listening activity you’d like to practice. In the classroom, the teacher will quietly call the names of children, who then walk as quietly as possible over to him or her. It’s quite fun!

Back to butterflies: If you were able to observe any, describe them to one another. “I saw a yellow butterfly with black markings on it!” Here are some open-ended questions you can ask to really call upon you and your child’s powers of observation:

Next step: Read a book about Butterflies!
Here is a lovely book recommendation from Beth Wood of Our Montessori Life. She’s also be contributing in Primary, an app for parents! Here is “A Butterfly is Patient”, by Dianna Hutts Aston:

“A butterfly is patient. A butterfly is helpful, protective, and poisonous. A butterfly is spectacular.”

Dianna Hutts Aston’s gorgeous book is filled with realistic images and interesting insect science. But it offers more. It’s simple prose invites the child to ask questions and seek out their own information.

Butterflies can be found on every continent except Antarctica. A child anywhere in the world can pick up this book and use it to explore the species that live in their region. It is an excellent book to keep out in either the classroom or a child’s bookshelf and is suitable for a child as young as two.

Lastly: Print out this page to color and talk about the 4 stages of a butterfly’s life cycle!

Here’s the life cycle:

The life cycle of a butterfly is fascinating in its complexity, and so foreign when you consider a human’s life cycle! We hope you enjoy your study of butterflies this weekend, and stay tuned for more life cycles through the month of June!

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