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Springtime Fun! Butterfly-themed Books & Activities for Young Children

May 22, 2024    |   Spring

As the weather warms up and we get closer to Summer, you and the children in your care might have noticed more butterflies in the neighborhood.  Young children are naturally curious about the world around them, and they often enjoy learning about nature.  Little ones are fascinated by butterflies and their transformation from caterpillars into colorful winged insects. In this article we share butterfly-themed books and activities that can be paired together to enhance butterfly exploration with the children in your care. 

Children’s Books about Butterflies

My Butterfly Bouquet

This children’s book by Nicola Davies tells the story of a young girl who finds wonder in nature as she plants a garden with her father to attract butterflies. The book explores the life stages of butterflies, their importance to our ecosystems and the revitalizing power of nature. 

A free read-aloud version of this book is available on Youtube.

 

Caterpillar Dreams 

This book, written and illustrated by Clive McFarland, follows a Caterpillar named Henri who dreams of traveling the world. Caterpillar Dreams is an inspiring story that highlights the value of friendship and reminds young readers to believe in themselves. 

A free read-aloud version of this book is available on Youtube.

A Butterfly is Patient

Written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long, A Butterfly is Patient explores the lifespan of butterflies, showing how they grow and transform from caterpillars. The book’s interesting facts and colorful illustrations make it informative and engaging for little learners.

A free read-aloud version of this book is available on Youtube.

Moth & Butterfly: Ta Da!

This children’s book, written by Dev Petty and illustrated by Ana Aranda, tells the story of two caterpillar friends who build their cocoons, and hang side by side. But, when they emerge, one is now a moth and the other is a butterfly. The book helps young readers learn about butterflies and moths, while reminding readers to celebrate differences. 

A free read-aloud version of this book is available on Youtube.

Butterfly-themed Activities

Butterfly Sticky Process Art

This collaborative sensory art activity invites children to create a butterfly using decorative items found in nature. You’ll need the following materials:  clear contact paper, a sharpie, tape, and natural items found in your outdoor space (such as leaves, flower petals, twigs, and grass). 

To set up the activity, tape a large sheet of contact paper onto a wall or fence and then use the sharpie to draw a large outline of a butterfly on the contact paper. If you happen to have googly eyes handy, you can add those to the butterfly as well! Then, invite children to decorate the butterfly’s wings using the natural items that were collected from outside.

Butterfly Symmetry Painting 

This activity is a fun art project that introduces a simple mathematical concept: symmetry!  With just construction paper and paint, children will be able to create their own colorful and symmetrical butterfly wings. (You’ll also want to give children plastic trays or use another material, like cardboard or newspaper, to protect the art activity table.)   

To prepare for this activity, you will need to cut butterfly shapes out of construction paper– a free template is available here. Folding the paper in half will speed up the cutting process. 

When you’re ready to set things up for the children to enjoy, place a paper butterfly on a tray for each child, and offer the children a few different colors of paint. Invite the children to place small droplets of paint on one side of their butterfly – using any color or design they would like. When they’re done painting, help them to fold the paper in half (with the paint inside) to squish the butterfly together. Then, open it up to reveal beautiful, symmetrical butterfly wings!

Butterfly Sensory Bin 

This simple sensory bin requires only a few materials: a container, dried lentils, pretend butterflies, and spoons/cups for scooping. Set-up involves pouring the lentils into the sensory bin and then adding the butterflies and the scoopers (which can be any plastic, metal, or silicone spoons, cups, or measuring items that you have available). Then, invite little ones to explore all of the unique colors and textures in the bin!

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