Butterfly Study

Below are proven ideas in science, art, poetry, and books for gently learning about butterflies. Pick something to do at your house.

Science
-Plant milkweed plants from Greenlife Nursery or Bonnie’s Greenhouse.
-Order milkweed seeds from Live Monarch Watch ($3; teachable moment about letter writing and envelope addressing)
Plant herbs like fennel from seed to attract Black Swallowtails in Waco. Gregg’s Mist flowers attract Queens in Waco.
-Capture a caterpillar/instar, bring indoors and watch grow and change into a butterfly (draw the different stages).
Anatomy and terminology
-Identify Butterflies in your yard (make a flip book if desired). In Waco look for: Monarch, Queen, Painted Lady, Gulf Fritillary, Black Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Buckeye, Viceroy, Sulphur (favorite guide book: National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America or look at this site from folks in Dallas that includes photos from different stages of the butterfly’s life cycle http://www.dallasbutterflies.com/)
-Look at a dead butterfly with magnifying glass and microscope.

Art
Butterfly doodle
-Finger puppets from Family Reading (color accurately to identify a real butterfly; my kids accurately mimicked flight while listening to Waiting for Wings.)
-Painting “Blue Morpho Butterfly” by Martin Johnson Heade.

Poetry, memory work, handwriting
(This poem has several stanzas. After reading the entire poem, we focused on the first stanza):
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
~William Wordsworth, “To a Butterfly”

Books
Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost (narrative, migration, BU library, art: pastel and acrylic on paper)
Are you a Butterfly by Judy Allen
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycles Series by David Schwartz
A Butterfly is Patient illustrated by Sylvia Long
Waiting for wings by Lois Ehlert (lifecycle in poetry, more details in back about common butterflies and flowers, good for memory work/handwriting)
It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly (great book)
The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies (photos of ova, larva, pupa and adult)

These books should build knowledge about the similarities and differences between butterflies and moths. Now is a teachable moment for Venn Diagrams)

Enjoy your kids!
Image from http://www.dallasbutterflies.com/