Studying Butterflies for Kids


Studying butterflies for kids is one of the highlights in my school year. Some years we get really in depth and others, we take a more relaxed approach. No matter how we hit it, it is always a worthwhile set of lesson plans that captivates, motivates and inspires awe.

Here are my tips on ordering butterflies for kids {especially a kindergarten class} and setting up the experience to go smoothly.

I find this a perfect thing to do at the end of a school year since our weather is warmer, we have stronger writing skills and… I witness, observe and reflect on the metamorphosis of 24 brand new kinders {a rather frightening sounding phrase} into 24 unique, capable and creative kinders ready to fly.

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

Ordering Butterflies for Kids

I highly recommend purchasing and ordering enough butterflies so that each student can have one. There is something intense that comes out in a kinders’ writing and observations when it belongs to them. There are companies that make it affordable.

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

My recommendation is to try Bills Blueberries and Butterflies. We’ve ordered from them for years now and have never been disappointed. {Seriously – they are hardy} We order the large butterfly larvae kit (and additional growing cups) and it has everything we need since we already have a butterfly habitat.

Setting up Butterflies for Kids

Collecting Moolah

To make it affordable, we split the cost amongst all students. Something I find very helpful in making the process go smoothly is to print envelopes.

These money collection envelopes make it quick and simple for parents to contribute. It also makes collecting and recording money on my end simplified too.

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

Printable Money Collection Envelope {Free}

Getting Kids Engaged

My biggest tip for getting your kinders excited, which probably will be very simple is to explain the fact that you’ll need to ask permission from parents.

Grab their attention, get them started thinking about everything they’ll need to care for larva, chrysalises and butterflies as you begin to discuss it informally as you interactively write a note to parents.

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

Ask parents for the butterfly larva donations and explain the costs involved. Shrink the letter on the copier and each child signs their own copy to take home and read to their family.

Be sure not to tell them what kind because this can become an intergral part of your whole class investigations.

Don’t fret, if you order from Bill, he’ll give you all the tips on what to expect and how to raise your butterflies when your order arrives. {He’s got your back!}

Plan a Rough Schedule and Types of Writing

Right, so my last tip involves planning for us. Knowing a rough schedule of when the events of the life cycle are likely to occur will help you plan “spontaneous” observations, writing opportunities, research and so forth. {Well… they will think they are spontaneous!}

We read a collection of really good non-fiction books the week they are to arrive.

Since we can’t actually handle them until they’re larger, this normally gives my class time to learn more before they can dig in…

Plan Out a General Expectation for Each Part of the Life Cycle
Plan Out a General Expectation for Each Part of the Life Cycle

I sketch out a basic template of when each part might happen to help me plan my whole group investigations (finding out about the type and life cycle) small group observation time and independent observation and writing.

I jotted down each day what happened the first year I got them so I could keep track for the following year {wink}. And lastly, plan the type(s) of writing you want to engage your students in.

This set of plans is wide open since you can plan to write anything {seriously} like a story whole group or interactively…

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

Or schedule some independent writing time that is more open ended but focuses on your writing goals…

KindergartenWorks: studying butterflies for kids

Or the easiest is to allow multiple observations/writing time.

My favorite teacher down the hall created an observation book and we are using it to help our kinders organize all of their observations and capture the special moments. Her Butterfly Life Cycle Observation Book is so kinder-appropriate, it’s not even funny!

More pictures of that to come when I share my tips on investigating and observing in the next segment.

What do you love to plan for and set up when teaching butterflies or life cycles?

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

Next up in the Studying Butterflies for Kids Series

Investigating Painted Lady Butterflies in Kindergarten

More Kindergarten Learning


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  1. I have been anxiously awaiting for my caterpillars to arrive. I can’t wait for Colby and Charity to do our butterfly net this year. It will be their first time and I know they will love it.

  2. I love raising butterflies in class! We just hatched praying mantis and that was also fantastic. When we released them I let each student come and pick up 2 and find them a safe home outside:)


    Schroeder Page

  3. I will ditto the above 2 comments. I can’t wait to try it over the summer!! Seems like we are always collecting money!! If you get it working, please email me!!! So creative!!
    [email protected]

  4. Most of those fonts come from They offer great free fonts!
    Yeah – I’m so glad for you and your kinders Mrs. Coe! They sure do come itty bitty. I always forget how small they start out. Where did you end up ordering yours from?

  5. I LOVE your idea…and sooo true about my kinders at this time compared to those butterflies!!!
    I love your idea of the envelope…but can’t seem to open it….I must be doing something wrong!

  6. Thanks Mrs. Coe for sharing your comment. I think putting a little effort into getting the money makes each caterpillar more valuable in their eyes 😉

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