Is there anything more amazing than the life cycle of the butterfly? Exploring the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle is a great way to learn about these beautiful insects.
Create your own at home science center for your kids with these free printables and worksheets!
Directions for how to access the PDF printables can be found at the bottom of this post.
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- Metamorphosis of a Butterfly
- Butterfly Lifecycle Free Printables
- Life Cycle of a Butterfly Worksheet
- Free Printable Life Cycle Notes Sheet
- Different Stages
- Using Sorting Cards
- Additional Skills to Practice
- Simple Butterfly Life Cycle Craft
- Additional Butterfly Life Cycle Activities
- Online Resources for Parents
- Printables Delivered to Your Inbox
- More Life Cycle Activities
Metamorphosis of a Butterfly
Starting as an egg, a butterfly hatches into a caterpillar (the pupa stage). After eating and growing, butterflies form a chrysalis.
This starts their transformation into an adult butterfly.
Caterpillars not only look different, but eat different things than an adult butterfly.
Other insects, including dragonflies, undergo incomplete metamorphosis. Their adult form looks similar to their larval stage. (source)
Once a caterpillar, know as a larva, creates a chrysalis, it begins to change. Inside the pupa is where were the magic happens.
This process can take anywhere from seven to ten days up more than a year! Once it is complete, an adult butterfly emerges. (source)
After turning into an adult, butterflies fly around and reproduce. Then the females lay eggs on plants, creating the next generation of butterflies.
Once hatched the baby caterpillars eat the leaves for food. You can spot butterflies laying eggs on plants from spring till fall.
The adult stage is an important part of the survival of the species. Unlike caterpillars, adults can fly and lay eggs in a variety of places.
Its amazing how different living things have different survival strategies.
Butterfly Lifecycle Free Printables
Each pdf file can be downloaded then printed off onto plain white paper. Sorting cards can be printed off onto white card stock to make it easier for little hands to move them around.
Make sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the post telling us how you study butterflies with your kids!
Life Cycle of a Butterfly Worksheet
This simple worksheet is perfect for kids who are learning the names of the different stages. Pair this with a butterfly book for kids and fill it out together as you read.
If you go on an insect hunt to find monarch caterpillars, take this worksheet with you.
Keep track of the eggs, caterpillars, pupa, and monarch butterflies you find while exploring nature.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle is an all time favorite, but there are so many wonderful books for kids.
If younger children need help writing out the name of the stages, the sorting cards found below can be used with this activity.
Free Printable Life Cycle Notes Sheet
This blank life cycle of the butterfly worksheet is great way for older children to organize information while they research.
Pick out a great book or online resource and jot down information about each of the different stages of a butterfly life cycle.
Then, at the end of a butterfly unit, kids can use this page to write a summary of their learning.
Either hand draw the stages of the life cycle or cut out and paste real photos of butterflies.
Understanding that a butterfly used to be a small wiggly caterpillar can be hard for young children to understand.
These printable sorting cards are perfect for young learners including preschoolers. Each part card has both a text and picture version.
Using Sorting Cards
- Line them up in the correct order
- Match the word with the image
- Write a story to go along with the cards
- Turn two sets of images into a matching game
Similar to an open ended toy, sorting cards have many uses. At your at home science center, kids can move around an manipulate the cards.
Print off a set for each child. You can even laminate them to use them in subsequent years.
Additional Skills to Practice
- Scissor Skills
- Fine Motor Skills
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Matching by Image
- Matching by Memory
- Word and Letter Recognition
Simple Butterfly Life Cycle Craft
A great way to extend these activities is to create butterfly crafts with your young kids. Simple and easy, crafting is a great hands-on activity to go along with a science lesson.
This simple lifecycle of a butterfly craft can be made using household items. Folded newspaper held together with a clothespin, egg carton, pine cone, and a leaf.
The best part of incorporating natural elements is finding a chrysalis or caterpillar while gathering supplies outside!
Additional Butterfly Life Cycle Activities
Butterfly Life Cycle Journal
No unit study on butterflies would be complete without observing butterflies in their natural habitat. Head outside with your kids to hunt for real caterpillars.
Bring along a nature notebook to record your findings.
An interesting way to learn about the different stages is to bring along a field guide. As you find live caterpillars and butterflies, look them up to identify them.
Check out your local library for butterfly resources. Read a few books about butterflies together.
Libraries have more than just a great collection of books. Passes to local butterfly museums or a butterfly habitat sometimes can be found at local libraries.
Kids love reading books about butterflies. Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an all time favorite for young learners.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar is a funny children's book about metamorphosis written for elementary aged kids. Our local librarian says this book is almost always checked out!
Online Resources for Parents
These printables were created by Nature Inspired Learning and are for personal use only for your home or classroom. They are designed to be a tool that can be used for early learning success. All of these life cycle of a butterfly worksheets are for non-commercial use. See full disclosure. Have questions, send me an email at julie (at) natureinspiredlearning (dot) com