Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Butterfly Activities for Kids

Life is Good: we're not molting and eating it!

I often say that I feel like my children are my teachers and I am the student. They have taught me so much---of exceptional note, to live in the moment instead of constantly looking ahead to tomorrow or the next big thing. They've also taught me how exciting and wonderful the world is when you look at it through their young eyes, minds, and hearts. However, from the time I entered parenthood, I not only took on the role of mother, but I also adopted the title, "teacher". I know that with my every breath, I'm teaching them. My demeanor, my words, my actions, everything is a direct influence on who they are and who they will become. I also feel it is my responsibility to teach them about this wondrous world. So this is the wonders of BUTTERFLIES!
We've been talking about nature and transformation and reading lots of books. Here are a couple of our favorites.
Ten Little Caterpillars combines a rhythm that toddlers love and facts & info to keep preschoolers engaged. I love Lois Ehlert's style and Bill Martin, Jr has written so many modern classics for kids. The Life Cycles book has tons of information. It is a bit dry for the little one, so he perused the pictures in the Critter Counting book while the big kid and I learned about how butterflies lay their eggs. One of the biggest moments of the day was the discovery that caterpillars molt (shed) their skins up to five times before it grows into its chrysalis. And often eats its own skin! EWWWWW!
We've also been making caterpillar and butterfly art like these (below) using printmaking techniques.

For the butterfly, you fold a piece of paper in half...

Then paint half of a butterfly on one side of the folded line...
After, fold the paper over on top of the painted side and smooth it...
Peel it back slowly...
And voila! You've made a butterfly "print"!
To make a caterpillar "print", we dipped the end of an empty herb container into paint and then made a series of circles, then the big kid added legs, eyes, and a smile. 
And of course, we needed some sunshine in the picture, too!

I love the face on this caterpillar...

So cheery! I guess it is not aware that it might molt and then eat its skin soon! : )

I love making art and it is my sheer joy and delight to make art with my children. I try so very hard not to influence their style and to explain the difference between "crafts" and "art". The process of exploration, experimentation, and examination of art is more important to me than the end product. However, I have never found an end product that I didn't rejoice over! If you look closely, you can always find something beautiful in a child's work!
Today was no exception. We played around and had fun. We used recycled materials (YAY!) which I hope teaches my children that they can make art anywhere and from anything. Using recycled materials encourages stretching your brain to think of alternative uses and purposes and promotes creativity. I love watching the wheels turn in these little minds. 
And those wheels are exactly how we got this...
The big kid asked if we could make a caterpillar using our hands. Of course, we can!
Upon further inspection, we decided we could make a dinosaur out of our hand!
First, we painted the bottom of our fist...
 And then our hand...
Looks like a dinosaur to me! A T-Rex, maybe?
And a Spinosaurus, too? (With the addition of fingertip "spines".)
 Not to be outdone, little brother created some prints of his own using paint, the herb container, and the end of an empty cardboard spool.
 I think it is beautiful work! 
All of this reading, learning, art making and dinosaur creating made us hungry! So we went back to butterflies...

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