Little Log Cottage School

Summer School-Butterflies



I am posting a previous study because LLCS is officially on break!  Grandparents will be here this week and my husband and I will be heading to a Dan Miller Innovate conference.  This conference is coming at a perfect time!  We are SO thankful that we get to go again.  I thought that with summer coming I would write a post on our top summer studies.  And friends, my kids still BEG to do the butterfly study every year.  So our Butterfly Study is #1 in our list of summer school units.
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One of the best parts to this unit is that you have to get OUTSIDE to find caterpillars.  So be on the lookout!


We don’t start our unit until we find one, which is usually not until the end of July.  But you may get lucky and find one sooner.  We always find a bunch of swallowtail caterpillars in our rue out back.


Nature really is amazing, isn’t it? We found what we thought was a caterpillar splattered with bird poo in our rue bush. We could see it munching on a leaf so for science sake we decided to build a habitat and observe it. After doing a bit of research we discovered that it is the Giant Swallowtail, one of the most beautiful butterflies. It looks like bird poo to protect itself from predators. So not only were we reviewing the lifecycle of a butterfly, we were also learning how creatures camouflage themselves.  Please know, if you cannot find caterpillars you can always buy a butterfly kit to do this project!


A fun and tasty activity to illustrate camouflage is to use skittles and one color of construction paper.  We chose to hide our skittles in a bunch of wadded up orange construction paper .  Then I timed the students for a minute to see how many skittles that they could  find.  Did you know that the least color of skittle found was orange?  When animals are the same color as their surroundings, they are less likely to be found by predators!


  Understanding habitats is also a very important science skill.  We found the best habitat for caterpillars is made out of two plastic soda bottles.


Right before the caterpillars begin their transformation into their chrysalis, they roam around their habitat until they find something from which they can hang.  They will then form a “J” shape and will spin their silk which suspends them while in their chrysalis state.


One of the most amazing things I have ever seen was a caterpillar transforming into it’s chrysalis!


We have a butterfly!



We have a goodbye party for the butterfly before sending it off into the world.  Friends are invited, butterfly cookies are made, and the butterfly life-cycle is displayed for all to see.

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Literature Activities

We tied in an author study of Eric Carle to get more bang for our buck.  We watched “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” on youtube.  Then my little guys cut out and sequenced the story.  Be sure to check out my PINTEREST board for these resources and more on Eric Carle/Butterflies!


Our Spanish teacher read the Spanish version of the book  “La Oruga Muy Hambrienta”  The children began to learn the days of the week and the colors in Spanish!


We also made our own version of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and called it “The Very Hungry Children.”  After we wrote the story we all donned paint shirts and began to express our creativity through watercolors. With the colors of the paint and the classical music in the background the class was in a creative mindset and it made a very peaceful ending to the day.


Each student picked what food they would eat, watercolored a piece of paper, and then cut out the shapes of their food to illustrate. The students were very excited to see how beautiful their food turned out to be. This was such a great unit to incorporate art and literature and we all had so much fun learning about Eric Carle!


Art Study

We kicked off our art study with George Seurat. He is famous for the method of pointillism. My first grader traced her own butterfly and drew her own shapes to show symmetry. The preschoolers had a pre-traced butterfly and then everyone used q-tips to carefully create “dots” all over their drawing. This took patience and endurance. Everyone was very proud of the art they created!


Please keep in mind that this unit took us two weeks to complete.

Are you wondering what you are going to do with your little ones this summer?  Be sure to visit Schooling Through The Summer.

If you are NEW will you please leave a comment so that we can visit you?


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11 thoughts on “Summer School-Butterflies

  1. April

    We did a butterfly study once and the caterpillar ended up being a Lunar Moth! LOL! It was still a great study. We have gone to a butterfly farm a few times since then too. It is one of my kids favorite studies too. The art ideas that you came up with to tie it all together are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Christa Brown Post author

      Hi April! We’ve had a few moths as well! The butterfly farm sounds like such a great trip to tie into the study! I’m going to have to look to see if we have one in our area. Thanks so much for your kind comment!

  2. Meaga

    So glad to have you linked up at The Geeky educational Link Up! You really do put amazing amounts of time and heart into your projects. Please keep linking up. I am pinning these for fall. =)

  3. annageig

    We ordered a butterfly kit and my kids LOVED it. It worked really well in my first grade classroom as well. Thanks for linking this up to After School!

    1. Christa Brown Post author

      I taught first grade as well! Unfortunately we never had time to do fun projects like this. That is why I am so glad we are homeschooling! Thanks for hosting the link up and for creating and sharing such great ideas!

  4. Jill

    We did a butterfly kit recently, it was so much fun! It inspired so many other fun activities with my kids. It looks like your family really enjoyed the butterfly studies too!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

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