Just in time for spring’s appearance next week is Learn About Butterflies Day! This is a fun and whimsical way to learn a little bit about these fascinating critters and welcome the long-awaited spring. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re entranced with butterflies. Even at nine, my daughter will spend time chasing them around in the backyard. You have to admit, there’s something special about these insects; most of us don’t find them yucky or scary, even though they’re in the same class as ants, bees and house flies! Here are a few fun ways that you can observe Learn About Butterflies Day today:
- Order a “grow a butterfly” kit. These are great fun: When the temperature is right in your area, you will receive a butterfly habitat along with one or more caterpillars. We did this at our house with a monarch butterfly, but there are several types available. Within several days, you’ll see your caterpillar spinning a cocoon, and a couple of weeks after that, a brand new butterfly will emerge, just in time for you to release in your area. The kids found our kit very exciting, and yours probably will, too!
- Learn about symmetry. Butterflies are symmetrical and your kids can explore what that means with this fun activity: Fold a sheet of paper in half, then open it. On one half of the sheet, draw half a butterfly with black crayon. Push down hard so that the crayon is applied thickly. Re-fold the paper, and use the back of a spoon to rub where the crayon marks are. When you open the paper, you’ll have a symmetrical butterfly to paint or color!
- Provide a snack bar for butterflies in your yard. Butterflies need a place to rest and rejuvenate sometimes, so a pan of muddy water will tend to attract them. Place a few slices of orange or apple nearby, and your kids will have a great opportunity to observe them. Take photos or draw pictures of the species you see in a nature journal. Use a field guide (available at your library if you don’t want to buy one) to identify the different species.
- Read some children’s books about butterflies. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is usually a hit with the preschool crowd. Usborne and Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out both offer books about caterpillars and butterflies that appeal to early readers. Older children might enjoy flipping through a butterfly identification guide to see what types of butterflies (and moths) live in your area.
Every day is a great day for learning, and today is a great day to learn about butterflies! Did you or will you do any special butterfly-related activities? Tell us about them!