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We are studying biology this year, so this spring seemed like the perfect time to casually learn about butterflies with these educational butterfly activities.
Big formal lessons are not always necessary.
Kids are natural learners, so if there are fun educational materials lying around, they will learn. This is actually one of the principles behind unschooling. One of the benefits of being eclectic homeschoolers is that we can borrow philosophies from a variety of educational styles.
The idea is that if parents provide a wide variety of educational experiences and materials for their children, then the children will naturally learn without the need for textbooks or formal lessons.
Now, I’m not an unschooler. It just isn’t me. I like structure, routine, and carefully planned lessons. But, I see the value in providing lots of educational experiences for my kids.
Use your child’s natural curiosity as a spring point for learning.
Educational Butterfly Activities
Observe the butterfly life cycle
I ordered the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden from Amazon so we could watch caterpillars change into butterflies. There was a mix-up and I did not receive any caterpillars with my order. A quick chat with customer service straightened that out.
FYI, I found Insect Lore more responsive and helpful through the instant chat feature on their website than through email.
It has been exciting watching the caterpillars grow and start the metamorphosis. They are living in their tent in our living room so we can easily see them. We check on them every morning and a few times throughout the day. The caterpillars were teeny tiny when they arrived in the mail, but they quickly grew. About 1.5 weeks later they were in their chrysalises.
We are still eagerly waiting for the butterflies to emerge.
An Instagram follower suggested making sure that there are no birds perched nearby when releasing the butterflies from their net.
We are planning to plant a pot full of butterfly friendly plants in hopes that our new butterflies hang around our yard all summer.
Update: This was one of our absolute favorite of the educational butterfly activities. We will definitely be repeating this process. I saved the butterfly habitat so we will only need to buy the caterpillars and their food.
Color in a butterfly coloring book
Dover puts out some amazing educational resources. This Butterfly Coloring Book is no exception. Each page features a different butterfly.
The common name, Latin name, and a few sentences describing each butterflies unique qualities are printed on every single page. The back of the covers contains color illustrations of each butterfly so you don’t need to guess (or Google) a butterflies appearance. All of that information makes this an excellent educational butterfly activity.
Decorate with butterfly stickers
Dover also makes butterfly sticker books. We have two packs – the Little Butterfly Stickers set and the Decorative Butterflies Stickers set. They are both quality sticker books, especially considering they cost less than $2. The Little Butterfly Stickers set even includes the names of the butterflies.
I put the stickers in our boredom busting basket so Hannah and Ben can use them in any way their heart desires. They would be fantastic as a story starter or to add to spring drawings.
Explain the life cycle phases using pasta
Your children can retell the butterfly life cycle using pasta! All you need is pasta to represent each stage of development, this worksheet, and glue.
I recommend just looking through your local grocery store’s pasta selection with a creative eye, but some pasta choices might include:
ditali – egg phase
rotelle – caterpillar phase
shell – chrysalis phase
farfalle – butterfly phase
Hands-on lessons like this make for awesome educational butterfly activities. Kids don’t even realize that they are learning.
Play with a butterfly sensory bin
This butterfly sensory bin is the perfect way to use up the extra noodles from the butterfly pasta activity.
Toddlers will enjoy standard sensory bin activities (scooping, pouring, measuring, sorting, etc.) and elementary kids can create patterns (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly, repeat). Honestly, my kids are upper elementary/middle school and they still enjoy a few quiet minutes pouring noodles in sensory bins.
You can pour the leftover noodles in a bin and call it a day, but dying the pasta bright colors makes it a little more enchanting.
What are your favorite educational butterfly activities?
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