Kids are curious. Shortly after toddlerhood onward, it seems the questions are never-ending. And that’s great! But sometimes, even as a former teacher, it’s hard to explain what something is, and definitely much simpler for children to understand if we show them.
Case in point, recently L. asked me what symmetrical meant. Okay, perhaps not the most difficult of kid questions to answer, but certainly an easy and fun one to demonstrate with a hands-on craft. Butterflies seemed like a good route to go, and from there the project took on a life of its own—a metamorphosis if you will—leading us to many fun-filled days with butterflies!
First, we created and decorated butterflies using a paper plate folded in half. We explored a variety of artistic methods for decorating our butterflies: Q-tip painting, dot art, colored markers and what we call “drop painting” (where the child tips over the paint bottle and just lets a drop come out). But it’s also fun to squeeze we learned! This was my girls’ favorite technique by far.
After placing a dot on just one side or both, the butterfly was folded in half to make a symmetrical design. I placed it on paper towels and then had my kiddos wrap it up and press it down. The colors were amazing, and I highly recommend the paints we used (opinion 100% my own!)
Oh, and butterflies need antennas, don’t they? My girls had a point. I simply cut slits in the middle fold of the butterfly and fit a straw through to make the body. Next, we used a pipe cleaner and cut a little off the top to make it shorter. Then we bent it into a V and curled each end. We slipped it under one end of the straw. For extra reinforcement you could add glue, but we didn’t seem to need it.
But what good are butterfly wings if we can’t use them to fly? Based on an idea I’d seen on Kiwi Crate, I laced fishing line through the straw. We made two pipe cleaner circles and attached one to each end of the fishing wire that was strung though the straw, so it was easier for little ones to hold. One person held each end. When one person stood up the other person bent down to make it “fly.” It was wonderful to see this in action. We were also delighted by the fact that on a windy day the butterflies flew like kites on their own if you held both loops in one hand. This we discovered by accident. They really looked as if they were flying and the girls couldn’t stop squealing with excitement!
We enjoyed so many hours of creative fun and education out of this one project. I highly recommend it! Please share how yours turn out. Share pics with us over on Facebook!