Anatomy of a Butterfly

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by

Anatomy of a butterfly: an activity for children of all ages. According to the North American Butterfly Association, there are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies worldwide, but only 750 of those are typically scene in the U. S. In this activity, children will become acquainted with the intricate design of the butterfly.

  • Supplies:
    • garden journal or notebook
    • pen or pencil
    • eraser
    • art medium of your choice (colored pencils, watercolors, etc.)
    • page protectors
    • camera (optional)
    • binoculars
  • Grab binoculars and go on a field trip to a natural area and search for different varieties of butterflies. To find butterflies or their chrysalises, go in search on a warm, sunny day and cautiously look on branches, under leaves, and on plants that caterpillars like to eat. Take pictures as able. Butterflies, by Susan McKeever, and Butterflies of North America by Jim P. Brock, are great children’s field guides (recommended for children ages 9 and up), that gives information about the environments or habitats where you may find specific butterflies.
  • Look at pictures of varying butterflies (either using a book such as Butterflies Up Close by Greg Pyers, or on Google). Talk about the fun God must have had in creating and designing each distinctive color and pattern.
  • Choose a butterfly to study more in-depth, then draw and label each part.
  • For younger children: Read Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons. Then have them tell you about the functions or role of as many parts of the butterfly as they are able. Record this information for them as needed in the garden journal.
  • For older children: Using the book Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman (p. 71), have them write about the function or role of each part of the butterfly identified.
  • Label the page with the common and scientific name of the butterfly.
  • If you have taken pictures, place these pictures in your garden journal and write memories made and lessons learned while watching the butterflies.
  • Read Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly by Jason Cooper. Then have them draw the life cycle of a butterfly. Discuss the miracle of metamorphosis.
  • Feel free to add poems, memories, or quotes about butterflies to your garden journal as well.
  • Slip this page into a page protector and place in the garden notebook.