Watching the life cycle of caterpillars and butterflies is amazing--even more so for preschoolers! Use this caterpillar and butterflies preschool theme to teach concepts throughout your curriculum. This theme is endless in the possible activities and adventures your preschoolers can participate in!
Caterpillar and Butterflies and their classroom homes can be purchased through Amazon. Here are the two items I've used.
NO Caterpillars Included but you can add $5 for caterpillars to be sent!
Let the Caterpillar and Butterflies Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme or click the link below to go to the specific preschool lesson plan or activity type you are looking for.
Materials Needed: Round, white coffee filters; pipe cleaners; markers; eye droppers; water
The children color the coffee filter. The more they color it the better!
They then drop water onto the filters. This will spread the color out and make some pretty remarkable looking color collages. When dry, pinch filter in the middle and wrap a piece of pipe cleaner on the pinched part.
VARIATION: Use the pinch type clothes pins instead of pipe cleaners. The children and add antennae and small googly eyes on these.
VARIATION #2: I've not tried this yet, but it was suggested to pre-pinch the coffee filters and instead of the children coloring them with markers, you provide to them a variety of cups with water and a large amount of food coloring (or liquid watercolor) for them to drop onto the filters.
Either variation will make many of your students want to make many of these butterflies! Encourage them to try using 2 primary colors only (like red and blue) and see the different types of purple that can be made when the water is added!
Egg Carton Caterpillars
Materials Needed: cardboard egg cartons (cut so that 3 cups are still connected in a row); pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, glitter, sequins, etc.
The children decorate their caterpillars any way they want to!
When the glue is dry, hang all of your caterpillars from the ceiling.
After a few days, before the children arrive, wrap each one with green tissue paper as a chrysalis!
Have the children make the coffee filter butterflies as above, but don't pinch the middles.
When those are dry, remove their caterpillars from the ceiling and have them add their coffee filter wings and some pipe cleaners as legs to make a butterfly!
Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific Space theme questions while making these fun snacks!
Have a taste test of all the foods in the Very Hungry Caterpillar book.
Make a chart with each food listed in a column on the left side. Make two more columns next to that one- one that says YES and one that says NO. Label the chart: Do we like what the Very Hungry Caterpillar Ate?
In advance, print each child's name as many times as the types of food you have listed on the chart.
As each child tries each food, ask if they like it. Then ask them to place one of their pre-made name tags under either YES or NO.
Review the chart over the next few days to discuss:
Which food did most children like? Dislike? Which has 3 names? Four?
Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!
Check 'em Out!
Place magnifying glasses, small bug containers with plastic caterpillars and butterflies in them and several non-fiction caterpillar and butterfly books in your science center.
"Hatch" Butterflies, of Course!
Materials: Order caterpillars so that you and your children can watch the life cycle. There are many companies who sell these. Ask for references for local places from your local librarian!
Once your caterpillars form their chrysalis, make a paper chain with the children to count how many days it takes for them to become a caterpillar. Add a chain each day. This typically takes a couple of weeks.
Below are the links again to ordering from Amazon:
NO Caterpillars Included
Straw Paper Caterpillars
Materials needed: straws with the white straw paper still on them, water, eye dropper, flat, shallow pan (like a cookie sheet).
Rip one end of the paper off the straw.
Place the unopened end of the straw on the cookie sheet.
Now, squish the paper all the way down to the bottom (you know, like you're opening the straw!)
Remove the straw.
Now the paper should look somewhat like a caterpillar!
Drop a few drops of water into the tunnel of the paper and IT WILL MOVE like a caterpillar!
It's pretty cool! Repeat as interested OR......provide one straw to each child for them to try at the science table!
Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme!
Stencils and Pencils
Materials Needed: stencils of caterpillars and butterflies, sharpened colored pencils (or markers that fit in the stencils). Encourage the children to trace onto paper and color in and dictate stories about their tracings.
Ask questions such as: Where do you think this butterfly will go? What would it do there? Then what would it do? Does it have any friends? Are they also butterflies?
Miscellaneous Activities for Your Preschool Classroom's Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme!Caterpillars and Butterflies
Theme Field Trips
Many preschool teachers like to take their students to a local Butterfly Pavilion. I personally do not think this is a good idea. One of the rules of this place is that you are NOT to TOUCH the butterflies or hit them...ok, nuff said? This rule does not work out well with preschool children who have BUGS, as far as they are concerned, landing on them! I would recommend letting your students' parents know where there is a place so they can take a one on one field trip, but I would not do this as a group school situation.
You could, perhaps, see if this local place can bring the field trip to you!
There is so much to see, just enjoy being outside where butterflies live, even if you don't see any!
Hey there! Welcome to Preschool Plan It! I’m Cheryl, a preschool teacher of over 20 years.
I KNOW, I know, you spend hours of time developing your preschool themes, activities and preschool lesson plans each week. You are commited to planning preschool themes and activities that are engaging hands-on, interactive, fun AND meet the goal of supporting each child’s level of growth and development.
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