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5 Fun Butterfly Research Activities for Kindergarten

Do you study and research the life cycle of butterflies in your classroom? I LOVE teaching all about butterflies in my kindergarten class! It’s such a fun science topic to dive into with students. If you’re looking for new ways to teach this topic in your classroom, you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing all the details of my favorite butterfly research activities for kindergarten!

Benefits of Using Butterfly Research Activities

I love focusing on science themes with my kindergarteners. Butterflies are one of my favorite science topics since they are so engaging to young students. Using butterfly themes and research activities is a great way to help children understand the basic needs of sustaining life, life cycles, and make personal connections to nature.

Butterfly research activities are also a great way to introduce children to the basics of the scientific method and observations. Not to mention, this topic is absolutely beloved by kindergarteners! It’s hard to find a topic that’s more fun for kiddos than this one.

Best Time of Year For Butterfly Research

Many teachers tend to teach about butterflies in the late spring to early summer months. This time of year works out well in our classroom since spring and summer are often tied to themes like weather, changing of the seasons, baby animals, and insects. Butterflies fit right in with these themes and work well with what my students are already learning.

This time of the year is also best if you plan to raise live butterflies in your classroom, as they will not survive in colder temps. If you live in an area with a mild-warm winter, you can probably flex these dates a little. The butterfly kit I like recommends a temp of 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

While you certainly don’t need a butterfly kit to learn about butterflies, I’ve found that it adds so much to our butterfly research activities!

The kit we use comes with a large, butterfly habitat and a voucher to order caterpillars. The caterpillars come in the mail and will take approximately 2-3 weeks to fully transform into butterflies. If you’re able, I highly recommend ordering a kit like this to use in your classroom, there’s nothing like watching the full transformation of a butterfly to inspire your little scientists!

Great Books for Butterfly Research

When it comes to teaching kindergarten, there is no better way to introduce a new subject than with books. Before we begin butterfly research activities, I like to stock our classroom library with a variety of fun books on the topic. I use a mix of non-fiction books along with silly, fictional stories based on butterflies.

Before beginning our activities, we read a few books that lay the foundation for our study. A few of my favorites include:

These books are a great way to introduce vocabulary words about butterflies, the butterfly life cycle, and learn some new facts about them. I typically work on making classroom anchor charts with my kiddos after each story to highlight a specific area of focus. Another fun option is to show kiddos a video that discusses the butterfly life cycle. I love this one since it explains each life stage from caterpillar to butterfly.

Butterfly Lapbook Activities

Once you’ve done some introductions, read your books, or watched a video, it’s time to jump into butterfly research activities! If you’ve been around here a while, you probably already know how much we LOVE using lapbooks for all of our study units. Butterflies are the perfect topic for lapbook activities!

If you’re new to lapbooks, take a peek at this post detailing everything you need to know.

Essentially, lapbooks are a smaller version of interactive notebooks. Lapbooks allow you to focus on one topic and collect all of your activities in one spot. They make a great keepsake after your study unit is done as well!

When it comes to learning about butterflies, lapbooks are such a great way to cover a ton of ground and help students remember everything they’ve learned.

There are tons of fun activities you can include in your lapbooks, but here are my top 5 favorites!

1. Butterfly Vocabulary Activities

When we first begin butterfly research lessons, I love to start by introducing vocabulary.

Since my kiddos already heard a few books on the topic, this is a great way to review what we’ve learned and cement those new vocabulary words a little further.

We use a worksheet that lists out key vocabulary words like chrysalis, metamorphosis, nectar, and more.

We read each word together in small groups and then read through the definitions.

Students will match the correct definition to each word and then glue the pieces down in their lapbooks.

When complete, students will be able to lift the flap for each word to reveal the definition.

2. Caterpillar & Butterfly Labeling

After we’ve recapped vocabulary, I love to use labeling activities next.

This is another opportunity to learn some new words about caterpillars and butterflies.

The labeling activities we use allow students to cut out and color a picture of a caterpillar and a butterfly.

They glue these down in their lapbooks and then, they will cut out labeling words to attach in the correct places.

When complete, students end up with a colorful caterpillar and butterfly in their lapbooks that are perfect for helping them to remember all of the body part names.

This is a great time to make a large anchor chart with your students to reference during their activity or revisit a book that covers body part names.

3. Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Next up, it’s time to discuss the butterfly life cycle!

If you decided to raise butterflies in your classroom as part of your research activities, you likely have discussed the life cycle in depth.

I always make sure to include a section in our lapbooks to recap the butterfly life cycle.

The worksheet we use for this activity asks students to cut, color, and glue down steps of the butterfly life cycle in the correct order on a strip of paper.

After these dry, children will fold the strip of paper accordion style to create an interactive fold-out in their lapbooks.

4. Butterfly Research Facts

Since the children are learning so much about butterflies through our research activities, I like to reserve a section in our lapbooks for them to compile facts.

We have 2 different options for this in our lapbooks. The first is a little pocket where they can keep a few cards with their favorite facts.

The second option is a flipbook-style worksheet that asks students to list things they have learned.

The topics for the flipbook include information about their babies, diet, habitats, changes, and types of butterflies.

Once students fill in some information for each, they can cut out the flaps and stack them together to create an interactive flipbook in their lapbook.

5. Butterfly Writing Prompts

Throughout the duration of our butterfly research activities, we use a variety of writing prompts to help students reflect on what they have learned.

One of my favorites to include for kindergarten are the “can, have, are” charts. These simple headings allow for quite a bit of creativity among the students and are a great way to recall information.

If we’re looking to take a deeper dive into writing, I have a few other fun writing prompts we use including:

  • Would you want a pet caterpillar?
  • Would you want a pet butterfly?
  • If I was a butterfly, I would fly to…

I love to see what students come up with when using these writing prompts. Once students have written a few sentences, I have them glue their work down in their lapbooks to keep all of our butterfly activities together.

Even More Butterfly Research Activities

These butterfly lapbook activities have so much variety making them great for students with diverse skill sets. But there are so many other options beyond these as well! Some of the other butterfly research activities we use include:

  • Caterpillars can/have/are
  • Butterfly KWL
  • Caterpillar KWL
  • Label a Butterfly
  • Butterfly Adjectives
  • Caterpillar Adjectives
  • Types of Butterflies
  • Favorite Butterfly Book
  • Compare Butterfly/Moth
  • Compare Bee/Butterfly
  • Butterfly Fact/Opinion

In addition to our paper lapbooks, I also have a digital option that is great for whole-class review, technology centers, and distance learning. I also like to assign the digital lapbook activities to students who were absent and missed out on the in-person lesson.

Get Started with Butterfly Research in your Classroom!

Ready to get started with butterfly research activities in your classroom? Be sure to check out both the printable and digital versions of my butterfly lapbooks!

No matter which lessons you choose to include, lapbooks are such a wonderful way to corral all of your butterfly research activities in one place. I love that once we conclude our studies, each child has a visual record of everything they’ve learned in one neat little package!

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Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

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