This butterfly sensory bin is the perfect addition to your butterfly activities for preschoolers. It’s colorful, engaging, and helps the kids explore the butterfly life cycle.
Pair the sensory tub with non-fiction books, real images (and even real caterpillars, if you can), and other hands-on activities. The pasta butterfly life cycle sensory bin is a simple way kids can act out the life cycle along the way.
And you can even turn the sensory play into a sorting activity! Grab the free printable at the bottom of the post to work on important math skills.
Related: Rabbit Sensory Bin
I know this seems like an incredibly simple sensory invitation. And it is. But it’s so much more than that! I’ve been doing some variation of the butterfly bin for years at this point. And not because it’s “what I always do,” as I’m not a fan of that thought process.
It’s because the kids have a serious blast with the butterfly sensory play! The colors, the shapes, and the textures just seem to draw the children’s interest each time.
Butterfly Sensory Bin
This butterfly sensory play is fun, engaging, and pretty simple to put together. You can easily change things up based on your own preferences and what you have on-hand.
Related: Individual Sensory Bins
And don’t forget to grab the free printable butterfly life cycle cards at the bottom of this post. That’s such an easy way to add a sorting component to this sensory idea.
Materials for the Butterfly Sensory Activity
You don’t need too much to get the sensory fun underway. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
Of course, you can tweak the materials if you want to. For example, sometimes I add plain dry rice (it acts as the “eggs” in the butterfly sensory bin). You can use food coloring in place of the liquid watercolors, too. Or consider adding some butterfly items or fine motor tools like:
- Mini erasers
- Butterfly life cycle toys
- Small, colorful butterfly manipulatives
- Kid-friendly tweezers
- Measuring cups
How to Prep the Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Bin
There’s not much to getting the colorful pasta ready:
- First, put the dry pasta in a baggie or reusable container.
- Squirt in some liquid watercolors.
- Close the container.
- Then shake to disperse the color.
- Add more watercolors if needed and repeat the process.
- Finally, place everything out on a tray to dry.
We may have added a bit too much color to this batch of pasta. But that’s okay! The butterfly sensory bin doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun for the kids!
Because of the textures of the pasta, you’ll likely have some spots without any color. If this bothers you, let the children use paintbrushes to add more watercolors. This is fun when you have kids who love to paint everything! But it’s definitely not something you have to do.
Once the dyed pasta is dry, add it all to a sensory bin or container. Pop in some sensory tools or toys if you want. Or leave things as is.
Related: Butterfly Crafts for Preschoolers
If you’d like to add the sorting component, here’s what you do:
- First, grab the free printable butterfly life cycle cards at the bottom of this post.
- Then print them out and cut the cards apart.
- Laminate the cards if you want.
- After that, tape the butterfly sorting cards to cups or bowls.
Once everything is set up, call the children over to play!
Using the Butterfly Sensory Sorting Activity
As with most sensory activities, the butterfly sensory bin is open-ended. That means the kids can use it in a wide variety of ways. They get to decide how to play with the materials (within your parameters, of course).
You might see children:
- Run their hands through the sensory materials.
- Sort the pasta by color or shape.
- Line the pastas up on a nearby tray.
- Scoop and pour the pasta with cups and shovels.
- Use the pasta to tell stories about butterflies and caterpillars.
- Retell the butterfly life cycle.
- Match the pasta shapes to the corresponding parts of the life cycle.
Of course, that’s just a smattering of what you might see. As we all know, children are very imaginative and creative! So they’re likely to come up with something completely new.
And you can set up a sorting invitation using the butterfly sensory bin. I did this after using the basic sensory materials for a couple of years. I noticed that the kids were naturally sorting the pasta. So this is just another way to encourage sorting!
Related: Butterfly Life Cycle Activities
And the invitation to sort doesn’t need to be fancy. You can place the butterfly life cycle cards out on the table for sorting. Or place them in a tray or by small bowls. You can also tape the cards to small cups like we did. Whatever works for you and your students!
Be sure to save this post for future reference.
More Butterfly Activities
If you and your students love the butterfly sensory bin, I think you’ll also enjoy these ideas:
- Butterfly Sensory Bottles
- Colorful Toddler Butterfly Art
- Butterfly Life Cycle Necklace
- Butterfly Cover Up Alphabet Activity
- Paper Butterfly Craft
You can also check out my Butterfly Activities Pinterest board for even more ideas!
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Let Preschool Teacher 101 save you a ton of planning time with fully-developed resources. That way, you can focus on teaching your students at work . . . and keep your personal time to yourself outside of the classroom!
Our butterfly lesson plans come with weekly plans, detailed daily lesson plans, whole group activities, small group lessons, center ideas, book suggestions, and related printables. Click on the image below to get your own:
Here are a few more lesson plan sets your students will love! Click on the images to read more about each of them:
We’re also on Teachers Pay Teachers, if that’s your preference. And be sure to join the waiting list for The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101. Our members get access to all our materials, as well as some exclusive products.
Free Butterfly Sorting Cards
The free printable butterfly life cycle cards are available to members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community. If you’re a member, fill out the form below and the download links will be sent to your inbox. If you’re not a member, you can join us by entering your information in the form. Then you’ll receive the printable as a welcome gift!
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