Beautiful Butterflies

Beautiful Butterflies

Pre-program Activity

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Have children color spots onto a round coffee filter with markers (not permanent markers). The coffee filter does not to be covered with color. Hang filters on a clothesline with clothespins and have tots spray it with water. Allow filters to dry until the end of program. When dry, wrap a pipe cleaner around to make the body of the butterfly and antennae. Use them for the Butterfly Boogie song.


Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert or
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Caterpillar Finger Play from Nature Scope

Ten little eggs,
All in a mound.
Out come caterpillars,
Crawling all around.
Next they will sleep
And we know why
Soon they’ll come out
As butterflies.

Hold hands up, fingers straight
Join hands together in a ball Extend and wiggle fingers
Lay head to one side on hands
Hold hands up, finger straight, and wave hands

Show & Tell

Using a butterfly poster, explain that butterflies are insects. Using puppets or pictures, count their legs (6), body parts (3), and antennae (2). Explain that butterflies come from eggs, become caterpillars, rest in a chrysalis (cocoons are for moths), and become butterflies.

Ask children to pretend to be an egg. Now break out of your egg. Munch the eggcase. Now crawl around the ground without your arms-you are a caterpillar! Munch lots of leaves. Yawn, now curl up. Wrap a towel or blanket around your caterpillars. Tell them to rest in their chrysalis. (Ask them to say the word. They can do it!) A moth comes from a cocoon. Now ask the children to crawl out of their chrysalis and slowly stretch out their wings (arms). Let your wings dry for a moment before gracefully flying around.

If it is autumn, explain that monarch butterflies are different than other butterflies. They fly south like many birds. Tag a monarch. Tagging information and supplies are available at

Activity #1: Butterfly Hunt

Show adults how to use sweep nets. Give each team a bug collection box and sweep net. Explain that they can catch butterflies, moths, or any other flying insect. Allow plenty of time to explore with the net. Gather and share what you caught. What did you see that you didn’t catch? Release your catches.

Activity #2: Flower Relay

Butterflies are attracted to colorful flowers. Hand out flower cards. (Flower cards are easily made by drawing a daisy-like flower on a piece of construction paper.) Ask each adult/child team to find a flower that is the same color as the card. When they find one, return the card to the instructor, and get another flower card of a different color. Repeat until all colors have been found by all teams.


Butterfly Boogie (Tune Hokey Pokey)
You fly your butterfly in.
You fly your butterfly out.
You fly your butterfly in,
And you flutter all about.
You do the butterfly boogie,
And you flutter all around
That’s what it’s all about.


Use butterfly tongues (straws) to drink nectar (juice) and enjoy flower-shaped cookies

Other books

Gotta Go, Gotta Go This is a story about a monarch caterpillar that has “gotta go gotta go” to Mexico even though he has no idea where that is.

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Ginny Malcomson
Nature Tots is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

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_ 1-2
_ 2-3
✓ 3-4
_ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.4, 10.3, 11.1, 11.2, 12.1, 12.4, 12.5, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: Other Resources: