How to Meet a Butterfly
He had been sitting patiently for at least 15 minutes with his tiny finger outstretched. He was doing everything right but there was no butterfly. We were in a butterfly exhibit and my impatient, active son had been sitting quietly waiting for a butterfly to pick him. We had talked beforehand about how you attracted a butterfly and how butterflies startle easily. Given his current state he had obviously taken this advice to heart and yet, no butterfly.
Why were we here waiting for butterflies to land? It started with a book by Bill Martin Jr.
Bill Martin Jr. is the author of more than 300 books for children. His titles include classics such as Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend checking out his Big Book of Poetry. It is a fabulous compilation for children. I love most of his books, but our current Bill Martin Jr. favorite is Ten Little Caterpillars.
READ: Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr.
(find it online here)
Ten Little Caterpillars is informative and engaging. It combines the talents of Bill Martin Jr and Lois Ehlert to create a bright counting book that is perfect for reading aloud. Given the great variety of butterflies in the world, it makes sense that caterpillars be as diverse. This child appropriate non-fiction book offers a wealth of fascinating information about the world of caterpillars staged in a fun counting book format. Lois Ehlert's illustrations offer their typical depth, brilliance of color, and attention to detail. Together these two celebrated children's book creators have done it again. Ten little caterpillars are out in the world around us and this book beckons you to learn more about them. 2+
*More awesome Butterfly picture books for children on The Jenny Evolution.
GO: Butterfly Garden
Obviously, if you believe in learning through adventure and your heart has been captured by a book about butterlies, to a butterfly garden you must go. Butterfly Gardens exist throughout the United States. They are often located within museums or gardens. Sometimes they are permanent year round exhibits, others visit for a season each year. Search in your area to find one near you.
*Best Places to see unique butterflies in nature from Frog Mom.
I personally love visiting butterfly gardens. I know they freak some people out, but I think butterflies are beautiful and fascinating in their diversity. The best one I have visited was at Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State University campus.
This time we were in Wisconsin visiting the Milwaukee Public Museum which has a year round Butterfly Exhibit on the bottom floor. This is the first time our twins had seen a real butterfly and they were entranced. My son was particularly determined to have a butterfly land on his finger.
*Consider bringing this Butterfly I Spy Game printable from Simple Fun for Kids.
Tips for Visiting with Children:
*Know your child. If they are sensitive to touch the idea of butterflies flying around their head and potentially landing on them might be scary.
*Prepare your child. Let them know what they will be seeing. Talk about the butterflies beforehand.
*Stress the importance of being gentle and quiet. Butterflies are extremely fragile and easy to startle.
*To get them to land, help your child find a spot near some butterflies to sit. Encourage them to be quiet and to move slowly.
*Take pictures so you can remember your favorites and look up more about them later.
*Find more tips for Visiting a Butterfly Garden or House on Something 2 Offer.
Back to that quiet butterfly garden and my waiting child.
After at least 15 minutes, a black and yellow butterfly hovered near his hand, darted away, and then flew back sitting down on his little outstretched finger.
"Mom!" he said in a hushed tone. His eyes were huge and never left the butterfly for the full 10 seconds it sat still on his finger.
Then it darted away but the magic had taken hold. He talked about that one moment for days and weeks to come. That butterfly had chosen to come sit on his finger. It's the kind of thing no book or butterfly matching activity could ever quite replace.
*Find the Letter B is for Butterfly worksheet on 3 Boys and a Dog.
*Create a Butterfly Journal for observing on Books and Giggles.
*Explore symmetry + butterflies with LEGO butterflies on Planet Smarty Pants.
*Research more about the butterfly you liked best.
*More butterfly science on Schooling a Monkey.
*Plant your own butterfly garden and leave a sweet treat to entice them to visit. Tips on Our Daily Craft.
*Explore a Butterfly Sensory Bin with a scavenger Hunt on Living Montessori Now.
*Explore Butterfly Wing Patterns with these printables from Craft Create Calm.
*Butterfly Count + Match Since our kids are interested in learning to count right now, I also made this simple count and match game. It is an easy game to practice counting, recognizing numerals, and matching.
Butterfly Count + Match DIY Game
*Draw or Trace a Butterfly shape onto paper. I printed a butterfly outline from the computer and then placing it under the paper against a window, I traced it 20 times on white paper. Make them as colorful as you want. I did a few different butterfly types so they looked different and colorful, but my kids couldn't match them by color alone.
*Number your butterflies. I numbered my 1-20. Use whatever numbers your child(ren) is working on.
*Use a hole punch to cut holes out of colored construction paper.
*Use a glue stick to attach the punched out circles onto the butterflies. Obviously match the number on the butterfly with the correct number of circles. (See example in the picture)
*Laminate with Contact Paper to make the butterflies more sturdy.
I like to introduce an activity like this to my kids first. I demonstrated counting the dots on one side. Together we decided what number we were looking for and then searched the basket. Once we had matched a couple together, they were on their own unless they asked for help. One of my kids tends to rush when they count so I encourage them to slow down and use their finger to point to the dots occassionally.
This activity can be an individual activity or a cooperative project. My twins like to work together to match all of the butterflies. One is a more confident counter and I like that this provides the other with a peer model. It is also a great cooperative task when they are working together. Lots of discussion about numbers and checking their counting and negotiating takes place.
After doing the activity at the table once, I placed the basket in our fine motor and math area to use during play time. For a more confident counter, this would work well as a Quiet Time activity as well.
*Drawing, painting, or making a photo book about Butterflies .
*Make a Butterfly bookmark from Living Ideas.
*Cupcake Liner Butterfly craft from Raising Little Superheroes.
*Painti butterfly skies with Butterfly Sensory Painting on Parenting Chaos.
*Butterfly Suncatchers from Crafty Mama in ME.
*Window Cling Butterflies on Gym Craft Laundry.
*Try Marshmallow Stamping Butterflies and Other Bugs with these free printables from Play Dough + Popsicles.
10 Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr.
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