What’s that fluttering by outside the window? What is that delicate, colourful thing perching on top of a flower? Could it be the topic of today’s blog post?
Children have always been interested in insects, with their many legs and weirdly shaped bodies being morbidly fascinating (before we even understood what those words meant). We’ve noticed children following all sorts of critters around the playground: ants, snails, worms, and butterflies. Butterflies have been a favourite of Today’s Family for a long time, and for good reason: they are basically pre-made lesson plans! Butterflies can teach children about insects, about plants and how they grow, and their wings can inspire discussions about colour and shape.
A group of preschoolers at our Greendale centre have been fascinated with butterflies for a while, running and chasing them with glee whenever one was spotted. The Early Childhood Educators in their classroom saw this as an amazing opportunity to help develop understanding of related ideas and concepts: different body parts, and colours.
First, the ECEs brought out coffee filters and some washable markers. They explained what they would be doing: let’s all make our own butterflies for the classroom! They asked the children about their favourite butterflies: what colours were they? How big were they? Then, they asked the children about their dream butterflies: what colours would they be?
With this primer, the children were ready to go. They used the markers to colour in beautiful butterfly wings on their coffee filters. Some used lots and lots of different colours, while others used just one. After everyone was finished, the ECEs sprayed each filter with some water and set them aside to dry. The colours started to bleed and mix, creating beautiful gradients.
Once they were all dry, the ECEs brought clothespins and pipe cleaners out and showed the children how to make the butterfly bodies. They helped the children squish the filter to make two wings out of one big circle, and then hold it in place with the body materials.
Finally, it was time to hang up the butterflies. The ECEs used string to hang them up from the ceiling all around the classroom. The children had fun using pieces of paper to create gusts of wind to make the butterflies fly around.
This butterfly craft is a great example of using a child’s interests to inspire further learning. The children were able to learn about colours, using water in art, and how to turn one shape into another, all in one craft.