Learning about the butterfly life cycle is a wonderful educational science lesson for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and elementary school kids. They’ll have so much fun exploring the different stages of the butterfly cycle as the magical insect goes through metamorphosis.
Your kids will love creating this simple butterfly life cycle craft and using a different type of pasta to symbolize each stage. It’s a really cute life cycle activity that helps the kids understand how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
I included a free printable template that you can glue onto the paper plate and guide you through the life cycle of butterflies. This butterfly activity is perfect for the spring!
The Butterfly Life Cycle
There are 4 stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies:
- Egg: Adult female butterflies lay eggs on plants so that when the egg hatches, the caterpillar can eat the plant for food.
- Caterpillar: The caterpillar’s main job is to eat as much as possible and grow.
- Pupa/Chrysalis: The fully grown caterpillar sheds its old skin and attaches itself to a leaf using silk. Underneath the old skin is a hard skin called a chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar grows legs, wings, eyes, and other parts of the adult butterfly.
- Butterfly: The adult butterfly splits the pupal case and emerges from the pupal exoskeleton. Its job now is to mate and lay eggs and start the butterfly life cycle all over again.
Life Cycle of a Butterfly Craft
- Free butterfly life cycle craft template
- White cardstock
- Farfalle pasta
- Fusilli pasta
- Conchiglie pasta
- Orzo pasta or white rice
- Colored pencils, crayons, or markers
- White school glue
- Paper plate
- Acrylic paint
1. Download the free butterfly life cycle craft template and cut out all the pieces. Color the leaves and flower with colored pencils, crayons, or markers.
2. Paint the outer rim of the paper paint with a paintbrush and acrylic paint. We used green acrylic paint, but you can choose any color you like!
You don’t have to worry about being super careful with painting a circle around the inner circle. In the next step, you will cover the inner circle with cardstock and covering any uneven edges.
3. Glue the circle life cycle of a butterfly template in the center of the paper plate.
4. Glue the leaves and flowers to their respective butterfly life cycle stages. If you are unsure, you can refer back to the original template to check the labels.
5. Use acrylic paint and paintbrushes to color the pasta. I colored the Fusilli pasta green for the caterpillar, Conchiglie pasta brown for the chrysalis, and Farfalle pasta a combination of orange and yellow for the adult butterfly. I ended up using white rice grains for the eggs and didn’t paint them a different color.
Feel free to choose one type of butterfly and color the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult butterfly accordingly. We used colors that imitated the Monarch butterfly life cycle.
Make sure the paint dries completely before moving on to the next step.
6. Glue the pasta to each life cycle and let the glue dry completely.
You are done with the 3D butterfly life cycle craft! Now you can review each stage of the life cycle with your kids by rotating the paper plate.
If you are growing your own butterfly at home (it’s a wonderful activity to let kids see the butterfly life cycle up close), you can point out which stage the insect is in as you watch the caterpillars get bigger and bigger.