I love the springtime. My preschool students spent practically the entire winter counting down to spring, waiting and waiting to turn the arrow on our weather board. I would frequently remind the students that we’ll know when it is spring because the trees will grow their leaves back and (my personal favorite) Miss Sarah’s (my) tulips would blossom in splashes of red and yellow all over the front flower beds. Accompanied with the new leaves and flower buds are also bugs and butterflies. What a great theme that gave us for preschool. Today, I’m sharing with you eight bug and butterfly themed activities that are perfect for celebrating the new season.
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Picture Books About Bugs and Butterflies
These were some of our favorite books we read that fit perfectly in our bugs and butterflies theme.
Eight Bug and Butterflies Theme Activities
Yes, I know. We do a lot of suncatchers in preschool, however the novelty has yet to wear off. My preschoolers enjoyed creating this butterfly suncatcher. It is a nice fine motor activity, as well as a good lesson on perseverance. Many times young children will want to be done with a project before it is “complete,” and the same is true with suncatchers. I challenged my preschoolers to see if they could cover up all the gray (the color of our preschool table) with bits of tissue paper. Sometimes I would hold their partially finished piece in against a window so they could see how beautiful their artwork was becoming. I cut out each butterfly by hand, but using a Cricuit cutting machine or Silhouette digital scanner would work as well. Lay the cut out on contact paper and invite your students to cover the inside of the butterfly with bits of pre-cut tissue paper. I have found that contact paper is a wonderful adhesive for windows as it does not leave a residue, so I send the suncatchers home by sticking them to an unused zip top bag.
Butterfly Life Cycle Activity #1
Laekshore Learning has some excellent butterfly themed lesson plans and printables. I found this printable at Lakeshore Learning and used it to review the butterfly life cycle with my preschoolers.
Butterfly Life Cycle Activity #2
It was not my intention to spend so much time on butterflies, but my students were really, really curious and responsive, so we did a few extra activities. One such activity was inspired by Janice VanCleave from JVC’s Science Fair Projects. Students used white rice for the eggs, chenille pom poms for the caterpillar, a twig and square of brown lunch bag for the chrysalis, and colored paper for the butterfly. I prepared the template (click Butterfly Lifecycle Diagram, Circular for a copy) and labeled the stages of the life cycle, and students added the given materials. This was one of my favorite projects to do with my students. They could hardly wait to show their parents.
Bug Color Graphing
This math activity was inspired by Playdough to Plato in the post Sneak Peak: Bugs and Butterflies. I had found some insect stickers at the dollar store and placed one on each face of a wooden die. I was careful that each face had a different color bug. Giving the students a graphing template and some dot markers, I invited them to roll the dice and record which colored bugs were being rolled.
Insect Matching Activity
Students practiced differentiating attributes of various bugs. I used Insects Stickers (Dover Little Activity Books Stickers) and free paint chip samples from the hardware store to make a matching activity. (You’ll need two sets of stickers). One set of cards had the insect sticker and it’s name, while the other set had only the sticker. Students practiced looking closely at each bug to make matches.
Tissue Painted Butterfly Craft
Students used small pieces of tissue paper to “paint” onto a poster board cut out of a butterfly. We used some watered down glue (by about half) and painted the glue onto the butterfly cut out, then placed tissue paper over it. Once the butterfly was covered in tissue paper, the students again painted over the butterfly with the glue and water solution, causing the tissue paper dyes to bleed a bit and run together. Note: I was expecting this activity to take only about fifteen minutes, however it took my preschoolers closer to a half an hour. The product was well worth it!
Butterfly Concentration Game
I had purchased two sticker books of Little Butterfly Stickers (Dover Little Activity Books Stickers) to make a game of concentration. Using index cards cut down to about three inches square, I placed a butterfly sticker on each card, making sure that each butterfly card had a second copy for it’s match. This was a particularly difficult game of concentration because butterflies all have the same basic shape. My preschoolers would identify a butterfly by its color, but in this set many different butterflies could be the same color. This game really required a lot of patience and focus to remember the differences.
Bug Adding Game
This is such as easy game to play. Using stickers from one of those 1,000+ packs in the school section at about any store, I placed some bees and bugs in small sets of varying amounts, then grouped two sets together by circling them. The object of the game is to collect as many counters as possible before reaching the finish. Students roll a dice labeled only 1-3 and move their marker the designated spaces. The player then adds the two sets of bugs together to get the total for the given group, and is rewarded the same number of counters.
Bugs and butterflies theme is fun for every preschooler, and there are so many more ideas of what can be done with such a theme. Too many to add here, in fact, so more bugs and butterfly posts to come. Until then check out my Pinterest board, and enjoy the activities in this post!
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I love teaching by theme because I get to teach an inch wide and a mile deep. This is not to say that I don’t listen what my preschoolers want to learn, but I love providing tons of activities related to a sing;e theme so that my preschoolers can really become familiar with a specific topic.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction