The butterfly unit in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 20, 2014

in Butterfly Life Cycle, Butterfly Life Cycle Unit, Flannel Board Stories, Science and Nature

Caterpillar to Butterfly

Last year, I had a parent give my class one of the best gifts ever. She gave us a butterfly kit. I hadn’t ever had one of these kits before and I was so worried that somehow I would mess it up along the way, but I followed the directions and my class and I were amazed with the process of watching a set of real caterpillars transform into butterflies…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

Because the process of changing from a caterpillar to a butterfly was going to take time, we visited the topic of caterpillars and butterflies on many different occasions so that we could draw our attention back to what was happening to our caterpillars along the way…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

The caterpillars start off in a small jar with food and after a week or so the caterpillars crawl to the top of the jar and form their chrysalis on a paper circle that is inside the lid at the top of the jar…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

While the caterpillars were forming their chrysalis, the children had to handle the jar very carefully and then I carefully removed the paper circle with the chrysalis attached and pinned the paper circle inside our butterfly house and we waited and watched some more…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

After about 7 to 10 days, our butterflies began to emerge from their chrysalis…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

The butterflies looked kind of dry and weak at first so we didn’t want to disturb them while they built their strength…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

Some of our parents stopped by to take a look too…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

Within a few days, the butterflies were strong and beautiful and fluttering around…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

And then came the day that we went outside to set out butterflies free…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

Two butterflies flew away as soon as we opened the top of the butterfly house but the others needed a little prodding…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

As you can see, this process went over several weeks so during that time I introduced different activities to go along with our study of the butterfly life cycle. We read different books along the way such as “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and “Waiting for Wings” by Lois Ehlert.

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

We also explored the life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly with these felt board pieces I made…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

I used the felt pieces to walk through the life cycle of caterpillar to butterfly with the children but also brought it the fun of fruits just like Eric Carle did in his book…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

At the end of our felt story, a butterfly came out of our felt story chrysalis too…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

I kept our felt butterfly life cycle pieces out for the children to draw their own life-cycles…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

We had all kinds of artwork, story telling, drawings, and discussions about the life cycle of a butterfly while we waited for our real butterflies to come. I even made the kids the cutest little caterpillar to butterfly snack wraps!

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

Such a fun study and all thanks to the wonderful gift a parent gave to our class!…

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

If you are looking for a butterfly kit of your own, check out Insect Lore.  Keep in mind that weather (extreme hot or cold weather) can affect the delivery of your caterpillars. So if you choose to do this project, build in lots of flexibility for ordering, delivery and time to let your caterpillars grow into butterflies! And when you receive your caterpillars, read the directions carefully! For those of you who have caterpillars that are native in your own environment, perhaps you can collect a few to watch them grow and change. Of course, you will need to read up on what kind of food to have available for them and anything else that might be important to know for this process.

The Butterfly Unit by Teach Preschool

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