Butterfly activities for kids offer great ways for kids to understand and appreciate the butterfly, one of nature's most beautiful insects. Everyone is interested in the world around them and what makes things tick. Your family can learn a great deal about butterflies by observing and performing experiments right in your own back yard or kitchen.

Remember, most butterflies and insects that your kids find are harmless. Take sensible precautions, however. Always make sure kids wear shoes in areas where bees are found, especially in lawns with lots of clover.

Follow the links below to find lots of fun butterfly activities for kids (and adults) of all ages:

Butterfly Puddles

Give your neighborhood butterflies a place to get their daily water and minerals.

Butterfly Balloons

Be the hit of your next family gathering and learn how to sculpt butterfly-shaped balloons.

Caterpillar Hatchery

See a caterpillar bloom into a beautiful butterfly, right before your very eyes.

Butterfly Net

Make this simple net to help kids capture and study butterflies in flight.

Butterfly's Delight Muffins

Attract butterflies to the yard with a sweet, flowery treat made just for them.

Keep reading to learn how your kids can create a gathering place for thirsty butterflies right on the front lawn.

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Butterfly Puddles

Butterfly puddles give butterflies a helping hand by offering them a drink. During this butterfly activity, children will learn that butterflies cannot sip water from ponds or other bodies of water. The surface tension of the water is too strong for their delicate wings.

Instead, these insects must drink water from nectar and other moist substances. Male butterflies often "puddle" in the summertime at muddy spots which provide butterflies with the water and minerals they need.

You and your kids can provide a mud puddle for butterflies to gather in.

What You'll Need:

  • Flat pan (such as a pie pan)
  • Garden soil
  • Water

How to Make Butterfly Puddles:

Step 1: Fill an old pie pan or other shallow pan nearly to the rim with plain dirt, which is rich in minerals.

Step 2: Add water to make soupy mud.

Step 3: Set your homemade mud puddle out where lots of flowers attract butterflies.

Step 4: Add enough water each day to keep the mud very wet. Watch the puddle over several days. You may see butterflies landing on the mud for a drink.

The next butterfly activity will make your child the star of her next birthday party. Learn how to sculpt a butterfly balloon in the next section.

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Butterfly Balloons

Butterfly Balloon Butterfly Activity
Butterfly Balloon Butterfly Activity
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Butterfly balloon sculpting is a fun butterfly activity for both the sculptor and those who get to watch. And while balloon sculpting looks hard, it's really easy! All you need to know is a few of the basics.

Before you begin, it's important for parents and kids to learn some general balloon sculpting safety tips:

  • Always stretch the balloon first to make it easier to inflate.
  • Always inflate at a downward angle to lessen the risk of popped balloon hitting someone in the face.
  • Keep your hands open while inflating to help mask part of your face.
  • An adult should always be present and supervise children, whether they are playing with the balloons or learning how to twist them.

And now for some butterfly balloon magic!

What You'll Need:

  • 2 pencil balloons

How to Make a Butterfly Balloon:

Inflate balloons, leaving a 4-inch tail.

Step 1: Begin by inflating two balloons, leaving a 4-inch tail on each.

Pinch and twist a bubble.

Step 2: On the first balloon, pinch and twist a round bubble.

Fold, pinch, and twist-lock.
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Step 3: Fold the balloon as shown, pinch, and twist-lock. On the second balloon, repeat steps 2 and 3 once to make the other back wing.

Twist-lock the two balloons.

Step 4: Twist-lock the two balloons together at the same junction, as shown.

Pinch and twist-lock a bubble.
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Step 5: Pinch and twist-lock a 1-inch bubble (both balloons together).

Pinch and twist-lock two bubbles at the ends.
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Step 6: Pinch and twist-lock two round bubbles at the ends of the balloons.

Pull the ends of the balloon down and twist-lock the two loops.
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Step 7: Pull the twist-locked ends of the balloons down to the twist-lock described in step 5. Twist-lock the two loops.

A fully sculpted butterfly balloon.
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Now your child's butterfly balloon is ready to play and flutter away!

The next butterfly activity will show kids how a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Learn how to create a caterpillar hatchery in the next section.

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Caterpillar Hatchery

Build a Caterpillar Hatchery and watch these fascinating bugs transform into beautiful butterflies!
Build a Caterpillar Hatchery and watch these fascinating bugs transform into beautiful butterflies!

With a caterpillar hatchery, your kids can watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. Why should you crawl when you can fly?

Butterflies come in all kinds of beautiful varieties. In this exciting butterfly activity, your family can raise your very own using a large glass jar or aquarium.

What You'll Need:

  • Aquarium or glass jar with lid
  • Potting soil
  • A stick
  • A caterpillar
  • Leaves

How to Make a Caterpillar Hatchery:

Step 1: Put a layer of potting soil in the bottom of the container. Put a stick in the soil, and lean the top of the stick against the side of the container.

Step 2: You're now ready to find a caterpillar. You'll find them feeding on leaves of plants like cabbages. When you find one, pay attention to what kind of leaves it is eating. (Different caterpillars eat different plants.) Gently pick up the caterpillar and plenty of the leaves, and put them in the hatchery.

Step 3: Put a lid or cover on the hatchery, but make sure air can get in.

Step 4: Be sure to check on your caterpillar every day. Caterpillars have huge appetites! In its new home, the caterpillar will keep munching leaves (make sure it always has some) until it begins making a cocoon (also called a chrysalis).

The caterpillar will come out of its cocoon as a butterfly. You won't recognize it! When that happens, take the hatchery outside and let the new creature fly away.

The next activity will take your kids on a chase of butterflies in flight. Learn how to make a homemade butterfly net in the next section.

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Butterfly Net

You and your kids can build a butterfly net to get a closer look at the "flying flowers" in your neighborhood.
You and your kids can build a butterfly net to get a closer look at the "flying flowers" in your neighborhood.

Making a butterfly net is one of the most active butterfly activities you and your kids can participate in together. Once you craft the butterfly net, chase and capture butterflies and other small creatures around the yard or park for examination and study.

This net won't hurt them; they can be safely released. And you'll all be butterfly experts in no time!

What You'll Need:

  • Plastic mesh bag (such as the bag onions come in)
  • Scissors
  • Chenille stems
  • Tape
  • Long, sturdy cardboard tube (wrapping paper tubes work well)
  • Scissors

Optional:

  • Drawing paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • Butterfly reference books from the library

How to Make a Butterfly Net:Step 1: Cut the clamp off the end of a mesh onion bag (leave one end clamped). Step 2: Make a rim for the net by fastening 2 chenille stems together by twisting the ends. Thread the stems in and out along the top edge of the mesh bag. When you're finished, secure the ends of the rim with a piece of tape.

Step 3: For a handle, use a very stiff cardboard tube (like the kind found in a roll of wrapping paper). On one end of the tube, cut a slit on each side. Insert the rim of the net into the slits, and tape it in place.

Step 4: Now it's time to go out and explore the natural world. When you find and capture a butterfly, examine it quickly and then draw it.

After you let the butterfly fly to freedom, you can look up the butterfly in a book to determine what type it is and more about it. Collect several pages of drawings, and make your own butterfly book.

The next butterfly activity will teach kids how to attract butterflies to the backyard with a sweet homemade treat. Read how to make Butterfly's Delight Muffins in the next section.

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Butterfly Delight Muffins

Butterfly Delight Muffins are flowery treats that butterflies love to eat. For this butterfly activity, choose a nice sunny day. Then whip up a batch of these sweet "mud muffins," and watch to see who flies by!

You won't want to place these muffins too close to the house, since there might be bugs also dropping by for a snack. And while these muffins look good enough to eat, unless you're a butterfly, don't try them!

What You'll Need:

  • Soil
  • Water
  • Flower petals
  • 1/2 cup honey or corn syrup
  • Individual muffin cups
  • Spoon
  • Flowers

How to Make Butterfly Delight Muffins:Step 1: Mix the soil and water together to make a nice, firm mud. Step 2: Collect some wildflower petals, and stir these in. Step 3: Add the honey or corn syrup, and stir well. Step 4: Spoon the mix into individual muffin cups, and top each with a pretty flower top. Step 5: Set the muffins in a place where you have seen butterflies before. Now wait for your fluttering guests to arrive.

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ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS:

Butterfly Puddles by contributing writers Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Butterfly Delight Muffins by Lisa Lerner and Kersten Hamilton