The butterfly unit in preschool

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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By | July 20th, 2014|Categories: Flannel Board, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Ten little caterpillars in a jar

The book titled “Ten Little Caterpillars” by Bill Martin Jr. is a wonderful book to use as an introduction to exploring the many different kinds of caterpillars and butterflies there are in the real world…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

“Ten Little Caterpillars” is a beautifully illustrated book that takes you on an adventure of finding a different caterpillar on each page until you work your way through all ten caterpillars…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

At the end of the book, the children can look through all the different caterpillars as well as the beautiful butterflies they change into. My students were extremely curious about each type of caterpillar and wanted to know the different caterpillar and butterfly names.  After all, there are so many cool names such as the woolly bear caterpillar and the painted lady caterpillar…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

In preparation of reading this book to my students, I made up a set of caterpillars out of craftsticks and pompoms. The children certainly could have made these for themselves but I wanted to use them as part of the story telling experience in circletime…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

We read the book a second time only this time, we also counted ten caterpillars from our caterpillar jar…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

We counted and compared our pretend caterpillars to the caterpillars that were in the book and found some similarities but mostly we found differences…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

And we looked to see if we could form any patterns with our caterpillars…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

And then I gave each child a caterpillar to keep as a story book token to bring home. The children carried their caterpillars around with them throughout the classroom day…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

And used them as inspiration to draw caterpillars in their journals or simply kept them out for play…

Ten Little Caterpillars | Teach Preschool

Our 10 little caterpillars (plus the extras I made for play) were a simple and fun addition to our day. The children enjoyed using them for play and they made a great story book token to promote conversation about caterpillars at home too!

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By | July 17th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Butterflies all around the classroom

Spring is my favorite time of the time of year.  Everything awakens and returns to life!  Trees begin begin to bloom as the grass slowly turns to green.  Birds return with their familiar song.  And butterflies emerge.  Spring is a wonderful time to explore butterflies and their life cycles!  Today I am sharing some great ways to learn about butterflies all around the classroom…

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

Read It!

We like to begin our day with circle time and a good book.  One of our favorite books to read about the butterfly life cycle is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle…

The very Hungry Caterpillar and Activity | Teach Preschool

Sing It!

We like to include in our circle time a song or fingerplay.  This is a fun action song by Deborah to get your children moving!

Look at the Butterflies
Oh, look at the butterflies in the sky.
Spread their wings and start to fly.
I’ll sneak up close and try to catch,
One little butterfly in my net!
(Repeat changing the number to two, three, four, and five)
Dr. Jean also shares some fun butterfly lifecycle songs and fingerplays!  You can find them by clicking over to Dr. Jean‘s Music .

Create It!

Art is a fun way to explore a new concept!  There is so much inspiration available for creating caterpillars and butterflies that I had a difficult time narrowing down what I would share with you today.  I love these “Very Hungry Caterpillar” inspired tissue paper caterpillars

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Activity | Teach Preschool

And these colorful caterpillars are great for learning about circles…

Our beautiful butterfly foldover paintings  are a super way to explore butterfly markings and the concept of symmetry…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Act it Out!

We have a small puppet theater in our classroom that our children play with everyday.  I think that they would just love to create their very own hungry caterpillar puppet like this one from Classified Mom

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

Dress it Up

I don’t know of a child that doesn’t enjoy dress up or role play.  Fun at Home with Kids let her daughter help create her very own dress up set with  these gorgeous DIY cardboard butterfly wings

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

Grow It

Racheous Lovable Learning shares her family’s experience of growing a monarch butterfly from a chrysalis.  We are planning on ordering a butterfly kit for our classroom this year and Rachel’s experience has me really excited to share this process with our class!  Read about Rachel’s post on learning about butterfly life cycles

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

Write It!

Maureen over at Strongstart has also shared her class’ experience growing caterpillars.  They documented their findings in journals.  She also shares many other great extension activities. Read more on how to journal the experience

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

Feel It!

Sensory play is an important part of preschool!  These butterfly sensory bags would be great to make with a toddler class…

Butterfly Sensory Bags by Teach Preschool

Or add some fun props to your playdough for your preschoolers to  create their own sparkly, squishy butterflies…

Snack on It!

And after all that butterfly exploration around the classroom, your children will surely enjoy the opportunity to create their own butterfly snack

Butterfly Snack

I hope that these butterfly activities will inspire you as you continue to build on the interests of your own students.  For even more inspiration, please visit our Pinterest board

Butterflies around the classroom by Teach Preschool

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By | April 3rd, 2014|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs

Our children love to create fold-over paintings.   So it was no surprise that they all really enjoyed making these beautiful butterfly fold-overs to decorate our classroom…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

To begin creating their butterflies, the children folded a plain piece of paper in half …

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Next, the children took a pair of scissors and snipped off the corners of their folded paper…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

While the paper was still folded, the children then snipped 1, 2, 3, 4 small slits down the folded side of their paper.  For some children, we drew small lines on their paper as a guide.  These small slits will be used to hold our butterflies’ antennae…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Once the cutting was complete, the children were ready to paint their butterflies.   The children unfolded their paper and spread it out in front of them.  Then they selected their paint and spooned it on to one side of their paper…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

When they had their paint just as they wanted it, the children were ready to fold their papers again.  Once their papers were folded over, the children gently rubbed their hands over the top to evenly distribute the paint…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Then they were ready for the big reveal…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

Some children added more paint and repeated the fold over process.  Those that were satisfied with their butterfly’s colors, went on to add their antennae.  For the antennae, the children taped together two bendy straws…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

The last step was to weave the straw antennae through the slits that they made in their paper at the beginning of the activity.  For some children, this step proved to be a bit challenging, partly because the paint was still wet, so we offered our assistance as necessary…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

This was just one of many different ways we explored butterflies in our classroom. This particular process required some guidance as it included the challenge of folding, snipping, and weaving. We had to look for the “folded” edge and the “corners” of our paper but our students were ready for this type of challenge and did a remarkable job…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

When the children were finished, we had beautifully painted fold-over butterflies decorating our classroom windows in preparation for our up and coming Mother’s Day Tea Party…

Beautiful butterfly fold-overs by Teach Preschool

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Links to grow on:

Fantastic foil fold-over painting by Teach Preschool

Butterfly sensory bags for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Tissue paper caterpillars by Teach Preschool