Polk County Conservation Board
Age level: 3 year olds and an
Season: Spring, Summer
Time: 1 hour
Title: Beautiful Butterflies
Craft: 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.
Story: Planting a Rainbow by
Lois Ehlert or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Caterpillar Finger Play from Nature
Hold hands up, fingers straight
All in a
Join hands together in a ball
and wiggle fingers
Crawling all around.
Next they will
Lay head to one side on hands
And we know why
Soon they’ll come out
As butterflies. Hold
hands up, finger straight,
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 www.monarchwatch.org
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.
Snack: 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
...prepared by Ginny Malcomson, Polk
County Conservation Board
Nature Tots is funded by Polk County
West Des Moines Park and Recreation,
and the Des Moines Chapter of the
Izaak Walton League.
Gross motor or kinesthetic
development (moving, running, moving your body, jumping)
Small motor or tactual development
(blocks, puzzles, sensory)
(songs, patterns, sound)
(understanding other people and
(understanding of the physical