We are doing some life cycle exploration to help kick off Spring in our house! Right now we are focusing on the life cycles of butterflies and of plants. The focus of this will be raising our own butterflies! Before we dive right into observing our super cute baby caterpillars,
I wanted Mack to understand the process and the order of how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. Mack (3 years old) is very into sequencing and patterns at the moment so this is a perfect introduction for him. Rather than going right into worksheets and books I wanted to first give him a chance to simply play and grasp the concept. This allows him to use his tactile senses to really explore and understand what a life cycle means. Insect Lore has many fantastic products for raising bugs at home or in the classroom, I chose to use their butterfly life cycle figures for our play.
We discussed what each of the items were and the differences between a chrysalis and a cocoon. A cocoon is spun from silk and generally produces a moth whereas a butterfly hatches from a chrysalis, a much harder structure. Mack understood this right away and was quick to correct his dad when he came home and called his chrysalis a pupa 🙂
I presented the activity to him like this, there is something about a basket and a tray that seems inviting to him. It’s always nice to have little things to work on and explore that are not part of his everyday repertoire of toys. I then asked him what he thought would come first and to place it on the number 1.
This activity reinforced number recognition as well! Next came the caterpillar, chrysalis and the butterfly!
He sat and repeated the process a few times, exploring the little figures. We talked about the colors of the painted lady butterfly and the caterpillar and what caterpillars and butterflies like to eat. We will continue our life cycle exploration by raising our own caterpillars (also purchased from Insect Lore) making Very Hungry Caterpillar crafts and working on some fun spring worksheets from 1+1+1=1, a fantastic homeschooling blog with great resources.
To see more toddler science and life cycle activities follow my toddler science board on Pinterest!