This butterfly life cycle worksheet helps children visualize the different stages of metamorphosis.
Read on to learn about the different stages, suggestions on using this printable activity and grab a copy to print out at home. It’s a fantastic way to get kids interested in science!
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Do you love butterflies? I do!
When I was little, I remember finding caterpillars and putting them in a jar. I would feed them and wait for them to make a chrysalis.
A couple years ago, I ordered a butterfly kit with live caterpillars so the kids could watch most of the butterfly life cycle right in our living room.
Getting the kit was much easier than searching for caterpillars ourselves.
It’s important to find fun ways to engage kids in science and this is a fantastic way to teach kids about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
Life Cycle of a Butterfly Printable
Our free butterfly life cycle worksheet is a great way for kids to visualize each stage of metamorphosis.
If you get a caterpillar kit, they can follow along with the life cycle of a butterfly printable by gluing each stage in order as they observe it.
This is a great science activity for kids of all ages to learn about butterflies.
Preschool and kindergarten children can also practice fine motor skills and scissor skills by cutting and gluing the eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly.
Stages of Metamorphosis
Did you know there are about 17,500 species of butterflies in the world? Only about 750 types of butterflies live in the United States.
So what is metamorphosis? Metamorphosis is how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly during the pupa stage.
There are four stages of a butterfly’s life and then it starts all over again. Depending on the type of butterfly, the life cycle can last one month up to an entire year!
Watch this great video by SciShow Kids about how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Stage One: Egg
All butterflies begin their life as a very small egg. Butterflies lay eggs on leaves.
Since caterpillars only like to eat certain leaves, the mother butterfly will lay her egg on a leaf that her caterpillar will eat.
Stage Two: Larva
When the egg hatches, a butterfly larva emerges. We call them caterpillars and just like in The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, the main thing a caterpillar will do is eat.
Stage Three: Pupa
Once the caterpillar has eaten enough to grow as big as it will get, they find a place to hang and change themselves into a pupa, also known as a chrysalis.
On our butterfly life cycle printable activity, we have two pictures to represent this stage.
The green chrysalis is shortly after the caterpillar is done changing into a pupa. While inside, the caterpillar’s body goes through a lot of changes!
Once it is done turning into a butterfly, it will emerge from the chrysalis.
This is represented by the second chrysalis picture on our printable where the chrysalis changed color and a butterfly wing is starting to emerge.
Stage Four: Butterfly
If you have the live butterfly kit, you can watch as your butterflies emerge. You’ll notice that they do not fly immediately.
Their wings are soft and folded up after being crammed inside the chrysalis. They need time to rest before flying. This is why it’s important to have some nectar or fruit available for them.
Then you may observe them flapping their wings (but not flying) as they get the blood pumping into their wings. As they gain strength, they will be ready to fly away.
Adult butterflies will look for opportunities to reproduce and the cycle starts over again when a female lays her eggs!
We hope you enjoy using this life cycle of a butterfly printable along with the butterfly kits with live caterpillars for a fun spring science unit.