This fun and creative activity helps children visualise a Butterfly Life Cycle by encouraging them to think of edible items to represent each stage of the cycle.
The Butterfly Life cycle
There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly which can take anywhere between one month to a whole year!
Stage 1 – Butterfly Egg
The first stage is the egg. Butterfly eggs are very small and round or oval. If you look carefully you might even see a teeny tiny caterpillar growing inside them! The actual shape of the egg depend on the type of butterfly inside. Butterfly eggs are laid on leaves.
Stage 2 – Caterpillar ( Larva )
We call butterfly larva caterpillars and it is these that hatch from the tiny eggs in stage 1. Caterpillars mostly eat!
Did you know that mother butterflies lay their eggs on a type of leaf their caterpillars will like? This is because caterpillars cannot easily travel to find a source of food they like.
The skin of a caterpillar doesn’t grow with the caterpillar so they shed their skin several times as they grow.
The caterpillars you can see below are from an Insect Lore Butterfly World set. I would 100% recommend getting it, releasing the adult butterflies into the world was just amazing!
Stage 3 – Chrysalis ( Pupa )
Once the caterpillar is fully grown it forms a pupa or chrysalis around itself. Inside the chrysalis a transformation called metamorphosis occurs.
Stage 4 – Butterfly
Once the process of metamorphosis is complete the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis!
Female adult butterflies reproduce and lay eggs on leaves ready for the life cycle to start again.
Egg – Caterpillar – Chrysalis – Butterfly
How to make an edible butterfly life cycle
What you’ll need
Marshmallows, yoghurt raisins – eggs
Sweet Caterpillars, spring onion – caterpillars – you could use two different sizes here to show how the caterpillar grows.
Liquorice, long marshmallows, physalis – chrysalis.
Pasta bows, orange segments – butterfly
Instructions for Butterfly Life Cycle
Look at all the items you have available and find the best match for each life cycle stage.
Place the items in the correct order on a paper plate and add arrows to show the direction of change.
Ask a friend if they can tell what each stage represents.
Caterpillars often shed their skin and eat lots of leaves, can you add these stages into your life cycle.
Can you make a fruit and vegetable version of the butterfly life cycle?
Can you create an edible life cycle for a frog or ant?
Butterfly wings are symmetrical; can you draw a symmetrical butterfly?
Suitable for Key Stage 2 Science
Living Things and their Habitats
This activity was first featured in Primary Science magazine from the ASE. Members can download content for free, including lots more activities like this one.
You can also find this activity in our first book Science Sparks!