Butterflies Activities for Kids
In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about butterflies and moths. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Butterflies topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Butterflies
Animals grow and change in very different ways. Have students pick an animal or draw one out of a hat. Encourage students to select from a wide range of animals, including mammals, fish, insects, birds, marsupials, monotremes. Have students conduct research at the library or online to find out how their animal grows, changes, and reproduces, and then ask the student to prepare a report or poster. Encourage them to be creative, using photographs, drawing pictures, or even finding video clips on the Internet and sharing them with the whole class.
As a literacy connection, have your students write a profile or biography of an important person. This person can be a community helper, a family member, or a historical leader. Students should write about the person’s life, from birth through childhood to adulthood, and describe any major changes in the person’s life. A biography can tell about the life cycle of a person!
Learn about butterflies that live or migrate through your school’s community. You can use reference guidebooks to learn about what butterflies are in your community. Create a checklist and have students try to find them all! You may wish to see if there is a botanical garden in the area where you can take a walk with your students to look for different butterfly species. Fields, backyards, and even school grounds can be inspected for butterflies. Encourage your students to take notes, take photos, or draw pictures of butterflies that they see. You may want to create a local butterfly field guide with all the information students gather.
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Life Cycle Study
If possible, plant a butterfly garden together. You can plant flowers that attract the caterpillars, moths, and butterflies which are native to your area. Together with your child, conduct research to learn about what flowering plants attract butterflies, how to nurture those plants, and what else butterflies need to survive. Learn about what plants you can easily grow to bring in butterflies to your garden. You may want to consult your local gardening store, and also to learn about the world’s most successful butterfly conservatories and gardens, like the Kipepeo Butterfly Project in Kenya, or Butterfly World in Florida. You might even find pupas for your own garden! This is a great opportunity to teach the life cycle of both plants and animals and foster a green thumb too.
Many species of moths are nocturnal. At night, turn on a light outdoors and observe moths together. Your child may observe how the moths are attracted to light or their flight patterns. Encourage him or her to look at the moths closely–they may look similar, but there are probably different species right in front of their eyes. Your child can draw pictures and take notes and learn more about the species in a reference guidebook, and also use the book to note the differences between moths and butterflies.