Spring is not only the perfect time to explore butterflies but also the perfect time to make an edible butterfly life cycle.  Look for a free printable butterfly life cycle pack below. Put some to good use in the name of edible science. Simple science and STEM you can eat!



Life Cycle of a Butterfly Project

I love to find fun ways to incorporate the items we have in our house into a science activity! It’s the best way to make science experiments and STEM activities affordable and fun for the whole family. This caterpillar-to-butterfly activity with candy is perfect!

We have ended up storing all our leftover candy from the past holidays, and I find that you can do a ton of cool science and STEM activities with candy. Kids have fun and consume far less sugar this way!

If you want to add a few activities to explore animals and nature, this edible butterfly life cycle activity is so much fun!

Let’s explore the four stages of the butterfly’s life cycle by creating your own edible butterfly life cycle. This creates a great science fair project for older kids, who will have fun designing the different stages and manipulating the candy.

NOTE: You can easily do this activity with play dough.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Easy Science Fair Projects

Edible Butterfly Life Cycle and Candy Science ActivityPin

What is the Butterfly Life Cycle?

There are four stages that make up the metamorphosis that occurs during the life cycle of a butterfly.


Butterfly eggs are usually round or oval (depending a bit on the butterfly species), and you will find them on leaves. Go ahead and make a leaf for your butterfly too!


A caterpillar emerges from the egg and needs to eat just like the famous very hungry caterpillar.

FUN FACT: Caterpillars need to eat the leaf they are born on, so the leaf has to be something it will actually eat.


This is the magical part of the butterfly life cycle! Everything that makes a butterfly is rapidly forming during this stage. It’s not just about the bright wings. Did you know that the organs are also changing?


A beautiful adult butterfly emerges, ready to take on the world. Once the butterfly is up and flying (it takes a couple of hours to rest and gain the strength and dexterity needed), the cycle will start again.

This butterfly will fly off, hoping to reproduce and lay more eggs on more leaves that will be eaten, making another new caterpillar that will transform into another butterfly that will start the cycle again.

Luckily, we can learn about the butterfly life cycle while making our own edible butterfly life cycle below.

Supplies for an Edible Butterfly Life Cycle

You will want to sort out your candy for taffy types, and other candy that you think can be molded and formed into shapes. Chocolate or hard/powder candy won’t work well for manipulating but might make a good body or head.

I picture tootsie rolls and starbursts for a Monarch Butterfly. However, I would suggest trying to use what you already have before buying new supplies.

Alternatively, you could make a batch of homemade playdough and use playdough to make the different stages of the butterfly life cycle.


  • Marker
  • Candy (dollar stores and even grocery stores have $1 bags of candy good for so many STEM ideas!)
  • Paper plate
Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Supplies for Candy SciencePin

How To Make an Edible Butterfly Life Cycle

This part is the creative part for your kids. They can use their design skills and imagination to craft their models of the four stages. Of course, you can also follow along with our pictures, but you will probably have different candy choices.

If you have those available, you may find a rolling pin handy or even playdough tools!

Do some research and find out what colors and shapes to use for specific types of butterflies if you want to add an extension to the activity!

Check out our examples of the butterfly life cycle below!


Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 1 eggsPin


Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 2 Caterpillar or LarvaPin

Licorice makes great little antennas!

Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 2 CaterpillarPin


Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 3 Chrysalis or PupaPin
Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 3 Pupa candy SciencePin


Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 4 adult butterflyPin
Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity Stage 4 adultPin

Butterfly Life Cycle Project Ideas

Whether you want to choose to use the words: adult, eggs, caterpillar, and chrysalis or you choose to use: adult, eggs, larva, and pupa is up to you.

Grab a paper plate and lay out your creations to form the life cycle. Use a marker to write in the different stages, and make sure to talk about the awesome metamorphosis that takes place.

You can get even more creative and draw scenery on your plate. Try drawing a leaf for the egg to sit on, a piece of leaf for the caterpillar to munch, a small branch for the chrysalis to hang from, and a beautiful sky for the adult butterfly to fly off into!

Edible Butterfly Life Cycle Science Activity and Candy science STEM activityPin

More Fun Bug Activities

Combine this butterfly life cycle activity with other hands-on bug activities for a fun spring lesson in the classroom or at home. Click on the images or links below.

Free Printable Butterfly Life Cycle

Add this free printable life cycle pack to this hands-on butterfly activity!


Life Cycle Lapbooks

We have a fantastic collection of ready-to-print lapbooks here that include everything you need for spring as well as throughout the year. Spring themes include bees, butterflies, frogs, and flowers.

More Fun Edible Science Activities

Click on the link or the image below for more fun spring activities for kids.

Printable Spring Pack

If you’re looking to grab all of the printables in one convenient place plus exclusives with a spring theme, our 300+ page Spring STEM Project Pack is what you need!

Weather, geology, plants, life cycles, and more!