I have been making some form of this butterfly life cycle printable book for over a decade now! It’s not something I use every year, of course, but it’s a staple for them I’m teaching about butterflies. Every time I’ve used it, my students enjoy the process of making it and reading it together.
Of course, the book is just one part of teaching the kids about butterflies. We read a ton of books about caterpillars and butterflies, and we take a look at many real photos.
You can grab a free printable version of the books at the end of this post.
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Free Butterfly Life Cycle Printable Emergent Reader
There are a couple of ways you can make this butterfly book with the children. Here are some ways the kids and I have used them.
There are two sets of pictures in this post – one shows an older version of the book, with the kids adding all the illustrations. The other set shows a newer version of the book, with the leaves already on the page.
Materials for making the book
Bow tie pasta
Green construction paper
Related: Butterfly Name Crafts
Preparing the butterfly book
The kiddos can help out with most (if not all!) of the preparation for this activity.
Color the pasta pieces as you see fit. I used extra pasta leftover from my butterfly life cycle necklace – rotini pasta for the caterpillar, shell pasta for the chrysalis, and bow tie pasta for the butterfly.
I like dyeing pasta with liquid watercolors, but food coloring works just fine, too.
As the pasta is drying, use a hole punch to create small white circles from paper. If you prefer to use all pasta, you can always grab the tiny shells to represent the butterfly eggs. If so, don’t dye those – just leave them plain.
Print out the butterfly life cycle printable (grab it at the end of the post). Fold each paper in half, with the words facing out. This turns 3 pieces of printer paper into 6 pages of a mini book. Separate the pages, arrange them, and then staple the book along the left-hand side.
Here’s a video about putting the books together:
Sometimes we put the whole book together ahead of time. Sometimes we add our “illustrations” first, and then assemble the books once everything is dried. You decided what works best for you.
Cut out 4 leaf shapes from green construction paper. This is definitely something the kids can do – what a great way to practice fine motor skills.
Related: Creepy Crawly Slime Recipe
Have the child write her name on the front cover of the book.
Next, it’s time to glue a green leaf onto each of the life cycle pages.
After that, the kids will add the life cycle pieces. Have them glue the tiny white hole-punched circle (or the tiny pasta shell) on the page that reads, “Here is the egg.” Be sure to point to each word and read the writing to (or with) the child.
Glue each colorful piece of pasta on the appropriate page. Keep pointing and reading each sentence as you’re going along!
Let the “illustrations” dry between each step if you pre-assembled the books. Otherwise, have the kids make each page, let everything dry, and then put the books together.
A very important step >>> Go back and read the book! Read it again and again and again.
What are the kids learning with this butterfly life cycle printable book?
Oh how I adore book-making with children! It’s fun, meaningful, and chock-full of early learning opportunities!
Here are some of the concepts touched upon with this butterfly emergent reader:
- The butterfly life cycle, of course! 🙂
- Words convey meaning
- Name writing practice and letter formation
- Reading left to right, top to bottom
- A period means stop
- Letter-sound correspondence
- The concept of a word
Feel free to change it up!
I change the words to this mini book depending on my students. I like to keep the text predictable when working with pre- and emerging readers, but I change the sight words.
Sometimes it’s “I See a Butterfly” or “This is a Butterfly.” It really depends on the kids and what they’re learning at that time.
Also, I sometimes have the children write the words themselves. Again, it depends on the students’ needs at the time. This book is a simple concept, but it can be easily adapted.
Preschool Butterfly Theme Lesson Plans
If you’re looking to save time planning for your preschool classroom, take a peek at our butterfly lesson plan pack. It comes with printable plans, activity explanations (for whole group, small group, and centers), book suggestions, and coordinating printables.
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers
Grab the Free Butterfly Life Cycle Printable Book
The free printable books (one just has the text, while the other has the leaf clipart) are only available for members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community. If you’re a member, enter your email in the form below to have the printable sent to your inbox.
If you’re not a member yet, no worries! You can enter your information in the form below to join us. Then you’ll get the emergent reader as a welcome gift.
You can also access the form in a new tab if you’d prefer.
Originally published March 26, 2015. Updated to include a newer version of the printable.