Preschool Universe Theme: Caterpillars & Butterflies

A caterpillar transitioning into a butterfly is an amazing and inspiring sight. No wonder preschoolers are naturally drawn to it. Plus, who doesn’t love Eric Carle’s classic book the Very Hungry Caterpillar? There’s so much to explore about caterpillars and butterflies!

Math & Science

live butterfly garden kitObserve a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. You could watch a video (like this one on YouTube), or you could order a kit and see it in your own home!
Order some numbered paper circles by lining them up and gluing them together to form a chronological caterpillar. You could also do this as a patterning activity (red, yellow, green, red, yellow, etc).

See more Math & Science activities.

Language & Literature

Read some of these great books about caterpillars and butterflies: (click on image for more info from Amazon)

Pop-up book the very hungry caterpillarbook Good Night, Sweet Butterfliesbook clara caterpillarbook The Crunching Munching Caterpillar

book Are You a Butterfly?book My Oh My, a Butterfly!book from caterpillar to butterflybook Where Butterflies Grow

Retell one of these stories above. Let your child explain, in logical order, the plot or the stages of metamorphosis. You could use a flannel board so your child can illustrate the story as she tells it. You can make your own flannel board and felt shapes, or you can order them. Amazon even has a Very Hungry Caterpillar felt set available.

Reading & Writing

Spell caterpillar words. Write letters on circles of construction paper and then join them together horizontally to spell your child’s name or other word. Add googly eyes and pipe cleaner feet.
Practice fine motor skills, number recognition, and color word recognition by trying this color by number sheet from FirstSchool. (Certainly don’t insist your child complete this if he is not interested. If he likes this activity, you might encourage him to make his own color by number picture.)

Arts & Crafts

bandaid butterflies craftMake these cute butterflies out of gauze, bandaids, and paints or makers. (See detailed instructions at No Time for Flashcards.)
Craft each stage of a butterfly’s life cycle. Try using construction paper for the egg, leaf and cocoon. Use a clothespin and some pom-poms for the caterpillar, and a pipe cleaner and a coffee filter for your butterly. Of course you may have your own ideas for making these – for some inspiration see this post from Along The Way.
Create a caterpillar out of an egg carton. Cut out several connected sections of and egg carton. Let your child paint it however he wants, then poke some pipe cleaners through to make legs and antennae, add some googly eyes, and you have a caterpillar.

Music & Movement

kids and dad playing elefun gameCatch some butterflies with Elefun, a game by Hasbro that shoots butterflies up in the air to be caught with a net.
Pretend you are butterflies and caterpillars. Turn on some music and pretend to be a caterpillar by crawling on the ground; then become a butterfly and pretend to fly around the room.

  • Mikey

    Hi there! Following you from the Social mom’s site and wanted to welcome you aboard! Love the awesome preschool blog you have- lot’s of great stuff. I’m a mom with 2 preschoolers. Hoping you will come visit me too and return the follow.

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