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The spring metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly encourages pre-school and kindergarten children to explore science, color, shape and creative expression. What a wonderful way to learn! 

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Healthy Caterpillar 
Mytzi B. shares this healthy popcorn snack.

Materials: Lunch size brown paper bags, pipe cleaners, 2 cups of popped popcorn for each child and yarn.

Description: After reading, The Hungry Caterpillar, we talk about healthy snacks.  Then we make a caterpillar by using a brown paper sack and putting the popcorn in it.  Next, using yarn, tie off making three to four sections. You use the pipe cleaner as the antenna.  Then the students have a healthy caterpillar snack to share later!

Caterpillars & Butterflies
 This cooperative effort between child and teacher to learn / teach how a 
 caterpillar becomes a butterfly is from Joy W.

 Materials: A fallen branch from a tree, the more branches attached to it the 
 better. Toilet paper rolls, pompoms, googly eyes, photocopies of butterfly 
 wings, tissue paper, yarn, and pipe cleaners. 

Day One Monday: Child constructs a caterpillar out of three pompoms and glue on tiny eyes.  Child then inserts the caterpillar into the toilet paper roll, and wraps roll in tissue, (Chrysalis).  Tie tissue and close with yarn. 
Previously, the teacher has set the branch into something solid to keep it upright, 
like a bucket of sand.
Child  chooses a branch for "chrysalis" to hang on. We  have a three day week and I would do Monday as "day one".
When the children leave on Tuesday, take the chrysalis' off the tree and carefully unwrap. When you are constructing this project with the children, keep in mind that you will be "deconstructing" it to add the butterfly wings at a later date. Use the photocopied wings and glue to each caterpillar. Fun foam wings would probably work also, although they are a little thick. Tissue might work, too. Add antennae.
 If you can  afford color copy wings, this makes the unwrapping so much more special.
On the last day of the school week, at circle time, have the children get their 
cocoons and caution them to carefully unwrap.  The looks on their faces when 
they see their caterpillar has transformed into a butterfly is priceless! 

Comments: Incorporate ad nauseum into your plans how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.  Use all the scientific words, little ones love big words!  This is much nicer than the often disastrous live cocoons in the classroom.  The poor tiny butterflies often don't make it outside.  I've seem them get trampled, etc.  Cruel!  I've never seen one of those "live butterfly" kits that worked. 

Zipper Lock Bag: Butterflies
Kim L. suggests this easy butterfly craft activity.

 Materials: Self sealing plastic sandwich bags, various colors of tissue paper,
 clothes pins, black marker and clear tape.

 Description: Wad the tissue paper and fill the plastic bag (one per child). Seal the bag. Use the clothespin to separate what will be the wings by sliding it down the middle of the bag. Place a piece of clear tape to secure the bottom of the butterfly. Use the black marker to add a pair of eyes

Comments: We then used them to decorate our bulletin board!

A Caterpillar's Transformation
The children will make an egg carton caterpillar, and a paper bag "chrysalis" during this activity by Lisa G.

Materials:  Egg cartons (cut in half the long way, or if you don't have enough, cut in half again, so you have 3 egg cup sections),tempera paint of various colors  (bright colored "fabric/puff paints are optional),  pair of googly eyes for each child optional),  a white paper lunch bag (I asked and got these for free at the deli) for each child.

Directions:  Children paint their egg carton section, and decorate the bags with crayons or markers while the egg cartons dry.  Later that day, or the next day, they add stripes and spots with the "puff" paints, and glue on the eyes.  (We decided not to put on the  pipe cleaner "antennae" we had planned to, after looking at our classroom
caterpillar, and some models and pictures of caterpillars, none of them had antennae!  You can add these after the butterflies "hatch").

After the paints have dried, the children put their "caterpillars"into the "chrysalis" they had made.  Put these up on the wall or ceiling.  In a few days (or on the day after your real butterfly hatches) teachers can take the "caterpillars" out of the bag and use the bag to make the butterfly's wings.  We placed our "butterflies" around the room, before the children arrived, so that when they did, the room was filled the excitement of butterflies emerging from their chrysalis!

new song Caterpillar Song
Preschool and kindergarten youngsters can dramatize the changes a caterpillar makes with this song by Cheri N.

Three Caterpillars
Tune: Three Blind Mice

 (Three) caterpillars, (three) caterpillars
  See how they crawl? See how they crawl?
  They roll up in a chrysalis,
  And wait for metamorphosis,
  A sight you wouldn't want to miss!
 (Three) butterflies, (three) butterflies.

Teachers can change the number as you see appropriate!

Comments: The children loved acting out the parts!

craft and art activity Spring Caterpillars and Butterflies
Tracy offers this hands-on activity saying, "Learn about caterpillars and how they change into  butterflies."

Day One: Coffee filter, water color paints, brush and water.
Day Two: Clothes pin, 4 green pompoms, 2 wiggly eyes and glue.

Day One: Paint with water colors on coffee filter, making sure NOT to soak with too much water. Let dry over night
(This will be used to make butterfly).

Day Two: Glue the wiggly eyes on green pompom (head).  Then glue all 4 pompoms on clothes pin, making sure the one with the eyes goes on first and on the end of the clothes pin (caterpillar).

Then take the coffee filter (wings) and the clothes pin, insert the coffee filter (wings) into the part that opens and closes of the clothes pin. The coffee filter will be bunched up in the middle.  So now you have a butterfly.

Mega Metamorphosis
Cheri N. encourages children to cooperate with each other as they create a project together.

Materials: Paper plates (large), green paint, markers (for face)/or use googly eyes, yarn.

Description: Have each child paint a plate green.  Paint an extra one for the face.  When they are all dry, make a face on one of them and then staple them together to resemble a caterpillar.  Hang with string from the ceiling. 

One time, when my class was on the playground, I attached cellophane wrap to both sides of the caterpillar to make a giant butterfly.  The children were amazed!

Comments: This was a great group project!

B is for Butterfly
Combine the letter B and butterflies with this collage activity
by Cheri N.

 Materials: Large pattern of letter B (one per child). 
Collage materials: sequins, glitter, tissue paper, crayons, markers, paints, etc.  Large craft stick and glue.

Description: For younger children, cut out the letter B.  For the older children, they can cut out their own. Ask the children to decorate their letter B with the various collage materials. 

After they are finished, have them draw a face on one end of the craft stick.  Have them write their name on the center of the stick (or teacher can write name for younger ones).  Have the children glue their B to the craft stick.   Beautiful B Butterflies!!

Comments: The children enjoyed the results.  Especially if their name started with B.

Magic Butterflies
During this activity by Anna B. teacher and child work together. 
The focus is listening skills and following directions.

Materials: Coffee filters (round), pipe cleaner, squirt bottle with water, washable markers, permanent marker.

Description: Children use the washable markers and color the whole filter.  Use the permanent marker to write their names.  Take it outside and squirt till wet.  Do not get overly wet.  Let it dry. 

After it is dry have children put hands in middle of paper one at the top and bottom and work paper till hands meet scrunching the paper together.  Tie it together by wrapping a pipe cleaner around it and bend the ends to make antennas.

Comments: The teacher might want to wear gloves.  Let kids spray the water on the coffee filter paper.  Ink runs, so be careful.

Children will make a sequential art project which will tell the story of the life cycle of a caterpillar / butterfly during this early childhood activity by Missy Dee.

 Materials: Lima beans, tongue depressors, yarn, glue, white cotton or stuffing, green pipe cleaners cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inches long, a three section piece of a cardboard egg carton, paint, pipe cleaners, a large butterfly cut from an 11 X  18 inch piece of black construction paper, glitter, sequins, bug sequins, etc.,  clear contact paper.

Day 1:  Glue lima bean onto tongue depressor.
Day 2:  Glue small green pipe cleaner onto tongue depressor.
Day 3:  Wrap cotton around tongue depressor, secure with string or yarn.
 Day 4:  decorate butterfly using craft items. They will stick to the contact paper and they make beautiful hangings!

Comments: I put small pieces of saran wrap over the contact paper so that the small pieces of glitter etc.,  would not fall off!

Life Cycle of a Butterfly
Jill G. and her group of four and five year olds use art and crafts to interpret the metamorphosis of a butterfly during this preschool activity.

Materials: Paper plate, small beans, pasta for a caterpillar, cocoon, and a  butterfly.

Section out a paper plate into four sections.  Label 1,2,3 and four. 
Read a book about the life cycle of a butterfly. Then take the beans and place them in section 1, the caterpillar spiral pasta in section 2, a shell type pasta for the cocoon in section 3 and finally a butterfly shaped pasta in section 4. 

Pasta can be dyed using about a cup or more of alcohol to a few drops of food  coloring and mixed. This should be done separately by the teacher.

Comments: children love it.

Caterpillar to Butterfly
Cheri N. offers this activity plan for children to "magically" watch the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly.

Materials: Spring clothespins, various color/sizes pompoms, collage materials, coffee filters, eye droppers, water, pipe cleaners, food coloring, toilet paper rolls, yarn.

 Description: Talk about how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

First day, have children make a caterpillar using the clothes pin, 
 pompoms, collage material, and pipe cleaners. Have children put their caterpillar inside a toilet paper roll.  Then have the  children wrap yarn around toilet paper roll, to look like a cocoon.

Next day, have children decorate the coffee filter with the food coloring / water mixture using eye droppers.

On the last day, have the children remove the yarn and the caterpillar.  Have  them scrunch up the middle of the coffee filter and attach the caterpillar in  the center.  Magically a butterfly appears!

Comments: This is a great way to show them how a caterpillar turns into a  butterfly!

Craft Activity: Clothespin Butterflies
Dawn W. offers this springtime project. 

Materials: Old fashion clothes pins (not the pincher type) tissue paper, glitter, pipe cleaners, glue.

The children loved adding these beautiful butterflies to our flower 
garden.  The children can paint clothespins various colors, let dry.  Tissue  paper needs to be layered in three's to give a full wing effect. 

Cut a set of the tissue papers into circles the size of a small coffee lid.  Push tissue paper flat inside  clothespins.  Fluff out the wings (pull tissue paper apart) to give fluttering image.  Light glue and glitter bring the wings to life.  The pipe cleaner twists around the round head, and then form into circles at the end to make the 
antennae.  Wiggly eyes can be added on either side of the pin's head, or drawn in.  If suspended from a string, the string has to go in before tissue paper. Lay flat to dry.

Comments: Every year, each group thinks of a little different butterfly that they would like to make.  This is the first year we have used glitter, and they turned out beautiful. Gayle's Note:  Thanks to everyone who sent in variations of the Clothespin Butterfly 

Suncatcher Butterflies
Shannon tells how to create colorful butterflies to hang in windows using clothespins.

Materials: Different colors of cellophane, clothes pins without the springs in them and pipe cleaners.

Description: Take 2 pieces of colored cellophane and cut them to the desired length of your wings 4 the butterfly.  Slide these under the 2 prongs of the clothespin.  Then wrap a pipe cleaner around the top to create the antennas.  You can also add mini wiggly eyes if desired.

New Beginnings (Press-n-Go Butterflies)
Chris offers an activity which combines  natural science and fresh starts.

Pattern of butterfly done in black construction paper, a variety of different color paints. 

Teachers take the pattern of butterfly let the child put drops of paint on one half of the wing.  Fold the other wing over and then watch as the child opens their butterfly back open to see their masterpiece.

Comments: The kids were amazed at how those little drops of paint came together and made so many different designs, and parents just loved them.

Art Activity: Butterfly Wings
Kelly C. teaches  about the symmetry of butterfly wings as she encourages children to use creative art skills during this early childhood activity.

One paper grocery bag with handles for each child, paints and brushes.

As we study butterflies, we learn about the symmetry of the design of butterfly wings. I use this activity to reinforce that concept.

Teacher cuts the side panels out of the paper bags resulting in a large open rectangle with the handles on each end.

Children paint a design on one half of the paper bag (I draw a marker line down the middle to help designate "one half").  Help children fold bag in half making a print on the blank side.   Some children like to "fill in" areas that may not have printed fully.

When all the butterfly wings have dried we go out on the playground and the children "fly" by holding onto the handles with the bag lying across their back.

Comments: In the fall when we study caves or around Halloween, I cut a large scalloped edge on one edge of the bag and the children paint them black for "bat  wings"

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" / Puppet Appeal
Trish H. used children's literature to develop this creative early childhood education lesson plan and says, "The objective to making and using the puppet when telling the story is to let the children see and use their visual perception as well as language skills. The puppet reinforces the days of the week, counting, sequencing, and good nutrition.  And making the puppet helps the children to see how helpful they need to be."

Teacher project first:  Hot glue, colorful sheets of felt,  bags of wiggle eyes, colorful pipe cleaners and poster board cut outs of the fruit the caterpillar eats.

Children's project next: Same material but use craft glue.  Ask the parents for old socks a week before the project then dye the white socks green. 

Description:  What could possibly give the story, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"  the appeal but to make a reversible puppet, caterpillar / butterfly?  Teachers hot glue wiggly eyes and felt strips to an old green sock to create the caterpillar. 
Reverse the sock. Then hot glue wiggle eyes, antennae, and decorated wings to the inside of the sock. 

Use the puppet to retell the story as followed in the book. Use the precut fruit made from poster board, with the centers cut out so that they are large enough to fit over the puppet.  When the caterpillar eats each amount of fruit on the days mentioned in the book have the children place that fruit on the arm representing the caterpillar eating his way through each item.

When the caterpillar starts to change into a beautiful butterfly, pull it off one hand, reversing it as you pull.  Now, slip it onto the opposite hand.  It's a beautiful butterfly!

Comments: Even a quite shy withdrawn child will not pass up the opportunity to come out of their cocoon to place the food on the arms of the very hungry caterpillar.

Beautiful Butterflies
Jerri T. helps preschool children develop fine motor skills and gain an understanding of how caterpillars change into butterflies with this early childhood education lesson plan.

Empty egg cartons, paint and paintbrushes (different colors),colored pipe cleaners, brown wrapping paper, tissue paper (different colors).

Description: Read a story and discuss the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a good example).

Have the children make caterpillars: Give each child 1/2 of egg carton (equals 1  row of 6 cups).  Children paint and decorate the strip.  Add pipe cleaner antennae's.

Have children roll their finished caterpillars up in brown wrapping paper cocoons and hang them around the room.
After children leave for the day, carefully open the cocoons and attach tissue paper wings. Then roll them back up and hang as before. The next day have the children check their cocoons. They will be so surprised to see that their caterpillars have changed into beautiful butterflies, just like magic!!

Butterfly Balloons
Connie shares this preschool activity about butterflies and how they fly. Remember, balloons can present a choking hazard to young children, so use caution!

Materials: long balloons (blown up), scotch tape, tissue paper,may use stickers or permanent markers.

Description: With permanent markers, write child's name on balloon, then let child make face and antennae on rounded end of balloon.  Children may decorate tissue paper rectangles with stickers, or markers for butterfly wings.

Crunch tissue rectangle in center and tape to top of balloon for wings.  Let children make their butterflies "fly" by moving their butterflies up and down.  Have Fun!

Spring Butterfly Art Activity
This lovely creative idea for spring is submitted by Ian. 
You will need: Cardboard (or oak tag), felt tip markers, crayons, hole puncher, string.

"Let the children trace around Butterfly shapes of different sizes, then design their own patterns on the wings. Cut out the butterflies (traced onto cardboard), punch holes on the wings (or body) and thread a piece of string through the holes.  This will create a lovely Butterfly chain to display in the classroom, to which each child has made a contribution.  Write the child's name in the butterfly's body."

Gayle's Tip: During storytime try reading 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

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