Spring is not only the perfect time to explore butterflies, but it is also the perfect time to make an edible butterfly life cycle. Months of candy-filled holidays leave us all with a large pile of candy stored in cabinets. Put some to good use in the name of edible science. Simple science and STEM you can eat!
LIFE CYCLE OF A BUTTERFLY FOR KIDS
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 it’s also fun for the whole family. This life 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 there are a ton of cool science and STEM activities you can do 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 4 stages of the life cycle of the butterfly by creating your own edible butterfly life cycle. This makes for a great science fair project for older kids who will have fun designing the different stages and manipulating the candy.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Easy Science Fair Projects
BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE
There are 4 stages that make up the metamorphosis that occurs during the life cycle of a butterfly.
Butterfly eggs are usually round or oval (depends a bit on the species of butterfly), 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 (takes a couple of hours for it to rest and gain the strength and dexterity needed), the cycle will start all over again.
This butterfly will fly off in hopes to reproduce and lay more eggs on more leaves that will be eaten, making another new caterpillar who transforms into another butterfly who will start the cycle all over again.
Luckily for us, we can learn about the butterfly life cycle while we make our own edible butterfly life cycle below.
EDIBLE BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE
You are going to 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 starburst for a Monarch Butterfly. However, I would suggest try 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.
YOU WILL NEED
- Candy (dollar stores and even grocery stores have $1 bags of candy good for so many STEM ideas!)
- Paper plate
HOW TO MAKE EDIBLE BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE
This part is the creative part for your kids. They can use their design skills and their imagination and craft their own models of the 4 stages. Of course you can also just follow along with our pictures, but you will probably have different candy choices.
You may find a rolling pin handy or even playdough tools if you have those available!
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!
STAGE 1: BUTTERFLY EGGS
STAGE 2: CATERPILLAR (LARVA)
Licorice make great little antennas!
STAGE 3: CHRYSALIS OR PUPA
STAGE 4: ADULT BUTTERFLY
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 layout 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!
Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?
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MORE FUN EDIBLE SCIENCE
ENJOY MAKING AN EDIBLE BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE THIS SEASON!
Click on the link or on the image below for more fun spring activities for kids.