Preschool Learning: Life Cycle of a Butterfly


I absolutely love teaching in the spring. I love studying changes in the weather (because we are all excited to see some sunshine), and the life cycles of plants and animals. It's a wonderful time to incorporate very relevant science concepts into the daily learning for children of all ages. COVID-19 has brought about many changes this year, but thank goodness, it has not kept the flowers from blooming! Spring is still here, to be enjoyed. So I have helped my own children develop a better understanding of life cycles this year with a butterfly garden and several life cycle crafts at home. I wanted to share some of our learning process with you today, including images of our caterpillars as they transformed into beautiful butterflies!


In my opinion, Eric Carle texts are must-haves for literature to support these concepts for young learners. The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiny Seed are featured texts in my classroom each spring. You can watch Eric Carle read The Very Hungry Caterpillar aloud online here!


After reading this text, we did a great little hands-on finger paint craft to represent each stage of the life cycle. You can see that process below ...

Around the same time, I ordered a Butterly Garden, which is a WONDERFUL investment, in case you were wondering. My kids were SO excited when their caterpillars arrived!

Look at those tiny little caterpillars!!! No worries, though, they certainly grew quickly! We had fuzzy, healthy caterpillars in just a few days, and THEN the magic started. In the picture below, you can see the first chrysalis as it was forming!

Isn't that amazing? We transferred the soon-to-be butterflies into the net cage and waited...

Days passed, and one morning, we woke up to find a beautiful little butterfly, freshly-emerged from its chrysalis!

One by one, each butterfly emerged...

I think I was just as excited as the kids to watch this whole process. We gave the butterflies a couple of days to get ready for the real world, and then we released them outside. My children truly loved watching each stage of this cycle.

Here are a few additional resources we used throughout this learning experience:

Butterfly Handprint Life Cycle Craftivity

Butterfly Life Cycle Sequencing Freebie

National Geographic Kids: The Butterfly Life Cycle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Animated Version

Life Cycle of a Butterfly Metamorphosis Song by Jack Hartmann


I hope this gives you a little inspiration for some spring-themed lessons with your children at home!

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