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Life Cycle Activities: The Butterfly

Life Cycle Activities: The Butterfly

Running out of preschool science activities to explore with your students? The life cycle of a butterfly is a wonderful topic for young children to learn about, in turn helping develop their observation skills and understanding of sequence. A life cycle of a butterfly lesson plan can include everything from fun songs to a craft, combining science concepts with other developmental skills.

Kathy Charner’s Learn Every Day About Bugs and Spiders is a great teacher resource perfect for finding just the right life cycle of a butterfly craft for your classroom.

Here are some easy and fun activities you can try with your learners today!


From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Learning Objectives

The children will:

  1. Learn about the phases in a butterfly’s life.
  2. Learn to recite a poem together.


  • Images of caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies

What to do:

  1. Engage the children in a conversation about caterpillars. Shoe the children pictures of caterpillars. Ask the children if they know what caterpillars change into.
  2. Explain to the children that when they are ready to change, caterpillars make cocoons, and emerge form the cocoons transformed into new creatures. Show the children images of cocoons. Ask the children if they have ever seen a cocoon in nature.
  3. Recite the following poem with the children:

Caterpillars by Laura Wynkoop

Caterpillars can be green,

Or yellow, black, and white.

They even come in blue and red,

They’re really quite a sight!

       4. Show the children images of butterflies. If you have enough images of butterflies, encourage the children to dance around the room waving their images of butterflies around.


The Hungry Caterpillar

Learning Objectives

The children will:

  1. Learn about caterpillars.
  2. Memorize a song.
  3. Develop their small motor skills.


  • Book on caterpillars (examples: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman, Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards).
  • Leaves (optional)
  • Green and brown construction paper
  • Markers and crayons
  • Child-safe scissors


Ahead of time, cut out a caterpillar from construction paper and laminate. IF you don’t have real leaves, cut out and laminate paper leaves.

What to do:

  1. Read books about caterpillars to the children.
  2. Set out various materials. Show the children how to trace a leaf on green paper, and then help the children cut them out.
  3. Help the children trace the caterpillar outline on brown paper, and cut it out as well.
  4. Recite the following fingerplay with the children.

The Hungry Caterpillar by Kristen Peters

(Tune “The Eensy, Weensy Spider”)

The very hungry caterpillar (rub tummy)

Munched upon a left. (open and close hands like a duck quacking)

She made a cozy chrysalis (fold hands together)

To give herself relief.

She slept for many days

Growing as time went by.

When she awoke

She became a butterfly! (unfold hands keeping thumbs crossed, flap hands)

      5. Invite the children to repeat the song, acting out the lines using their cutout caterpillars and leaves. 

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