Thursday, August 12, 2010

Butterfly Preschool Lesson Plan

This butterfly preschool lesson plan teaches the metamorphosis caterpillars experience as they grow into butterflies.  It reviews colors, and includes a song, craft, and story.

1. Freeplay

2. Circle/Whole Group: Bring children to school table full of books and pictures about butterflies. Ask them to figure out what the lesson is about. Ask them what they know about butterflies. Are they insects? How can you tell?

3. Song: The Butterflies Go Flying. Follow the melody and format of The Ants Go Marching. For example, “The butterflies go flying one by one. Hurrah, Hurrah!…” Stand and act out the words.

4. Story: Adios, Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable by Peter Elwell. What did Oscar want to do when he got older? How did he do it? What do you want to do when you get older? Act out the story.

5. Craft: Butterflies. Each child needs a piece of coffee filter paper. Let them paint lightly with water-soluble paint on the filter paper (drops or lines!). (Or let them draw using watercolor markers.) Gently mist the filter paper with water from a spray bottle. While it dries, children can use markers to decorate a popsicle stick like a butterfly body and head. Be sure to include antennae! (Alternatively, while it dries you could make pom-pom caterpillars.) When the filter paper is dry gather it across the middle to make butterfly wings and glue or tape it to the popsicle stick. (You could also twist it in a wooden clothespin or a pipe-cleaner, but be aware that they have sharp ends.) Voila! A beautiful butterfly!

6. Learning Activity. A Butterfly Garden. (You can purchase the kit from The kit comes with a certificate that you mail in to receive your caterpillars. Toys R Us also carries these kits. Take care of getting these supplies in advance!)

Guide the kiddos in telling the process of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. You can use Oscar or another book for pictures of the steps. Tell them that we get to watch real caterpillars grow into butterflies! Assemble the habitat as a group and discuss the food that the caterpillars will be eating. Ask the kiddos to guess how many days it will be a caterpillar and record the guesses on an observation page. (note: The entire process from caterpillar to butterfly usually takes about three weeks.) Prepare an observation page in advance. (The observation page should include a space at the top for guesses, a column to record the day {ie. Day 1}, and a column to record the stage the butterfly is in {ie. Each day that it is a caterpillar, draw a simple caterpillar. When it is a butterfly, draw a simple butterfly.} Make the Day 1 entry and tell the kiddos that each day they will be checking on the butterflies and feeding them right after Weather (after their naps).

7. Snack: Caterpillar Carrots and Crackers. Cut carrots into "pennies" and cook very briefly in the microwave to remove some crunchiness. Give each child several carrots, several round crackers, a large drop of ranch dressing, and a spoon to create their caterpillars. They can "draw" features with the dressing and spoon, then eat their caterpillars!

8. Learning Activity. Butterfly Camouflage. Tell the kiddos that butterfly colors often match the places they visit. This is called camouflage. It makes it hard for animals to see (and eat!) the butterflies. Camouflage. It is a lot like hiding. Today we are making camouflage butterflies. Give each child a cut out butterfly. (Prepare these in advance by cutting out coloring-book style butterflies for each child--you can print 4-9 on a sheet of copy paper.) Tell them to pick somewhere to hide their butterfly and color it to help it hide. Demonstrate by coloring and "hiding" a butterfly on a table, wall, or object. Give kiddos crayons or colored pencils and time to color. When they finish, let everyone "hide" their butterflies and then look for each child's butterfly.

9. Freeplay outside. Begin by playing Hide-n-Seek. Camouflage is like Hide-n-Seek. Let each child take a turn finding the hiding "butterflies," then freeplay.

10. Circle to review and summarize day.

Supplies for the day:

butterfly books

Adios, Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable by Peter Elwell

coffee filter paper

paint or watercolor markers

popsicle stick

glue or tape

water in a spray bottle


optional: pompoms

Butterfly Garden Kit

Caterpillar to Butterfly Observation Page



Ranch dressing


Butterfly cutouts

crayons, colored pencils, or markers

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