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The Life Cycle of a Butterfly: Kids Nature Activities

Explore the life cycle of a butterfly with these hands-on nature activities that can be done at home or in a classroom!

We had some wonderful crafts & activities shared on our Discover & Explore: Butterflies linky! 

For our butterfly feature post, I thought I would share some of the fun ideas that relate to each of the four phases of the life cycle of a butterfly. 


Life Cycle of a Butterfly Activities

Many of us see butterflies as they float through the air but did you know it’s also possible to see all of the phases of butterfly development. 

Kids will delight in watching them grow from eggs to caterpillars that build a chrysalis and then hatch into beautiful butterflies. 

Here’s a group of great nature posts that will allow your child to follow the life cycle of a butterfly! We’ve also included affiliate links to books, science items & supplies so you can do your own life cycle project at home too.



One of the best ways to introduce your child to the idea of a butterfly life cycle is by reading a story about how butterflies are born, emerge and go on to produce other butterflies.

Some of our favorite books that share the lifecycle of a butterfly include:

My, Oh My–A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies

From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)

Are You a Butterfly? (Backyard Books)


Life cycleof a butterfly book printable

You may wonder how to get started with hatching butterflies — you can actualy order your own set of Butterfly Larvae!

And to track the process of going from larvae to butterfly, visit 123Homeschool4Me for a wonderful free Butterfly Observation Book

 book about a butterfly's life cycle

The first person who actually discovered that butterflies had a life cycle was a young girl who lived during the Middle Ages.  The story of how butterflies were identified is captured in the book Summer Birds.  Stacking Books reviews the wonderful book in their post The Butterflies of Maria Merian.


how to raise butterflies

If you plan to raise butterflies at your house, you’ll want to have a butterfly habitat (so they have a safe place to emerge and you don’t have butterflies flying around your home 😉 If you don’t have a lot of room in your house, you can also try this mini pop-up butterfly habitat for inside or outside use.

These habitat enclosures can also be used for butterflies to lay their own eggs.  Creekside Learning shows us How to Raise Butterflies to Lay Eggs.

And it’s hard for kids to ‘not touch’ their new friends — try having this set of Butterfly Life Cycle figurines that you can keep near your habitat for hands-on exploring.


Butterfly life cycle

You can also find your own all-inclusive Butterfly Garden which includes a habitat, butterfly food and an easy way to order larvae.  Taming the Goblin shares their Experience in Growing Butterflies.


Watching butterflies emerge in the wild

And Fireflies & Mud Pies shows us what a great adventure it can be to experience butterflies hatching in the wild!  If you’re lucky to find a cocoon in your backyard, turn it into an nature observation activity to see what type of butterfly will emerge.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the first post, visit our Buttefly Activities & Where to Find a Butterfly House for more details.

Plus you can find more projects and activities in our Ultimate Guide to Animal & Insect Life Cycles!


Learn about Butterflies and Butterfly Houses

More Outdoor & Nature Activities

40 Great Nature Activities for Kids

50 Outdoor Games & Nature Crafts Kids will LOVE!

12 Months of Scavenger Hunts