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Butterflies : Story and Activity

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

Help children discover the wonder of the butterfly's life cycle.


  • Butterfly patterns
  • spiral pasta (caterpillar), cavatappi or radiatori
  • shell pasta (chrysalis)
  • farfalle pasta (butterfly)
  • orzi pasta (representing an egg)
  • crayons or markers
  • glue

Pre-Story Activity

  1. Do you know where butterflies come from?
  2. A butterfly was not always able to fly. Before it was a butterfly, it was a caterpillar and crawled like a worm.
  3. Butterflies do not begin as baby butterflies. It begins as a tiny egg. The mother lays the egg on a plant. When the it hatches, it is a caterpillar. It eats the leaf. As a caterpillar it chews and chews on the plant, it grows and grows.
  4. When the caterpillar is grown it sticks itself to a branch with a strong silk thread. As it hangs upside down the caterpillar spins a blanket of silk around its body. The blanket gets hard and is called a chrysalis (KRIS a lis).
  5. Inside the chrysalis the caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
  6. When the butterfly is ready the chrysalis splits open and the butterfly comes out. The butterfly shakes out its wings and pumps them up with fluid from its body.
  7. Soon the butterfly is ready to fly away to new places and see things it couldn't see as a caterpillar.


I Wish I Were a Butterfly, by James Howe and Ed Young (Illustrator)
From School Library Journal
In the cleanest, clearest prose he's written to date, Howe tells a simple fable that deserves to stay in print a long, long, time. The littlest cricket is so miserable that he refuses to make music because the frog called him ugly. He wishes he were a butterfly instead. When he sees the wise old spider, she tells him what she thinks of him and what she has learned in her spider's life "spinning and waiting, waiting and spinning." He finally feels beautiful, and of course, he is. He begins to fiddle again, and a butterfly, hearing, says, "I wish I were a cricket." Young's shimmering pastels create an insect's view, moving from the cricket's dark jungle of grass with flashes of sun, to light from the butterfly's viewpoint. An excellent lap book, the story also tells well. The cricket is Every child who stopped the music because someone criticized casually, thoughtlessly. It takes a wise friend to bring the music back, if it's possible. This book could help.

Post-Story Activity

  1. Have students create the butterfly life cycle on their own butterfly.
  2. Have butterfly patterns ready, and you may want to have divided them into 4 sections already.
  3. Show the students an example before they begin, so they are sure they know what order to go in (left to right)
  4. Glue the pasta to the butterfly.
  5. You can color the pasta before they begin to glue it down.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.


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