If your students enjoy butterfly activities for preschoolers, this butterfly life cycle printable book is a must! It’s a simple, and easy-to-prep, way to explore both science AND literacy skills with the kids.
So I highly recommend integrating the butterfly emergent reader into your next butterfly theme. It’s a great addition to non-fiction books, real photos, observing caterpillars, and other butterfly activities.
Below I’ll show a few ways you can use the free printable butterfly books with your own students. And you’ll be able to grab a copy for yourself. Actually, you get two mini books – one with leaves on each page, and another with just the words.
Related: Printable Books
I have been making some form of this butterfly life cycle booklet for well over a decade now! It’s not something I use every year, of course, but it’s a staple for when 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.
Our favorite thing to do during a butterfly theme, though? Hands-down, it’s getting caterpillars and observing the butterfly life cycle in real time. This book serves as a way to supplement everything the kids are learning along the way.
Butterfly Life Cycle Printable Book
There are a couple of ways you can make this butterfly book with the children. Below, I’ll share the ways the kids and I have used the book over the years.
Related: Butterfly Life Cycle Play Dough Mats
Please note that there are images of various ages in this post. Some are newer, while some show a very old version of the butterfly book. When you get your own, you’ll actually get two books – one that is text only, and one that has the leaves already printed on the pages.
Materials for Making the Book
Here’s what we used to make our butterfly life cycle printable book (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Rotini pasta
- Shell pasta
- Bowtie pasta
- Liquid watercolors
- White paper
- Hole punch
- Printer paper
- Green construction paper
You can make adjustments based on what you already have on-hand, of course! If you’d rather not use pasta for the butterfly life cycle, you can use stickers or stamps. Or the children can add their own hand-drawn illustrations.
Preparing the Butterfly Book
The kiddos can help out with most (if not all!) of the preparation for this activity. That really just depends on their ages and needs, as well as your own preferences.
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 bowtie 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.
Related: Spring Printables
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 to show you how to put 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 decide what works best for you.
If you’re using the version that only has text printed on it, cut out 4 leaf shapes from green construction paper. This is definitely something the kids can do. It’s a great way to practice fine motor skills.
Butterfly Life Cycle Printable Book Directions
Once the book is assembled, have the child write their name on the front cover of the book. Help as needed.
Next, it’s time to glue a green leaf onto each of the life cycle pages.
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.
Finally, don’t forget the most 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 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 the butterfly emergent reader:
- The butterfly life cycle
- 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
Not too shabby for a simple printable reader, right?!
Keep in mind, you can change things up if you’d like. If you don’t like the words I’ve chosen, you can make your own version of the book using your favorite word processing program.
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 the time.
Also, I sometimes have the children write the words themselves. Again, it depends on the students’ needs. This book is a simple concept, but it can be easily adapted.
Other Ideas for the Butterfly Life Cycle Printable
As I mentioned earlier, you can use the butterfly printable a few different ways. While it’s great as a butterfly life cycle printable book, it doesn’t have to be just that!
You can turn the pages into play dough mats in your science center. To do so, cut the printable into individual pages (rather than folding). Then laminate the pages or place them in dry erase pockets. Let the kids use play dough to add each stage of the butterfly life cycle to the mats.
The printable can also be turned into a pocket chart activity. Write the words you prefer on sentence strips and place them in your pocket chart. Then cut out the leaf illustrations and the pasta to each. Once dried, they can be paired with the words in your pocket chart. Let the children take turns pointing and reading the words.
Of course, if you want to keep it as a book but want different illustrations, that’s fine too! You can use:
- Hand-drawn images
- Real images
- Kids’ fingerprints turned into each stage.
How will you use the butterfly life cycle printable book with your students? Don’t forget to get your copy at the end of this post!
Related: Butterfly Sensory Activities
More Butterfly Preschool Printables
Here are even more printables for your next butterfly theme:
- Life Cycle of a Butterfly Printables
- Butterfly Tracing Printable
- Free Butterfly Number Matching Printable
- Butterfly Activity Pack
- Free Printable Butterfly Mask Template
Something tells me your students are going to enjoy making those after they’ve made the butterfly life cycle printable book!
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. Click on the image below to get your own:
The plans are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers, if that’s your preference. And be sure to join the waitlist for The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101. Our members get access to all of our products, as well as some exclusive items!
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.