Butterfly Life Cycle Pop-Up Book

Springtime… The birds are chirping… The bees are buzzing… And the butterflies are exploring the garden! It’s a time of transition for the Earth and all of its creatures. And butterflies are some of the most majestic of them all. This spring try this lovely Butterfly Life Cycle Pop-Up Book as a fun way to teach about the butterfly metamorphosis process. Kids will love making the butterfly and caterpillars their own! It’s a fun sneak peek into our STEAM Explorers Spring ebook too!

Learn about the butterfly life cycle with a fun pop-up book! It's a perfect STEAM activity for school or homeschool.
Learn about the butterfly life cycle with a fun pop-up book! It's a perfect STEAM activity for school or homeschool.
Learn about the butterfly life cycle with a fun pop-up book! It's a perfect STEAM activity for school or homeschool.

What is the Butterfly Life Cycle?

First, let’s talk about butterflies before we hop into the fun learning craft… The Hungry Caterpillar book taught all of us how caterpillars change into butterflies, right? Here’s a more scientific look at it for our elementary-aged kids.

Butterflies undergo an epic transformation in their life called metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process insects and amphibians go through to mature from birth to adulthood.

Butterflies go through the following stages:

Egg: An adult butterfly lays eggs, as many as 300 at a time. The larva actually eats its way out of the egg.

Larva (also known as Caterpillar): The larva stage is where a caterpillar eats and gets big! Once it outgrows it’s skin several times, it moves on to the pupa stage.

Pupa (also known as Chrysalis): A caterpillar hangs itself from a hidden branch or other perch, and spins a silk home around itself. It then begins to “melt” its tissues and transform into a butterfly.

Butterfly: Once the butterfly has matured into an adult inside the pupa, it breaks out, lets its wings dry, and then flies away. And the cycle begins again!

The hormone ecdysone is the signal for insect to change from larva to pupa and pupa to butterfly. Another hormone called the juvenile hormone delays the pupa stage until the caterpillar has gotten large enough to survive the pupa phase.

Butterfly Life Cycle Pop-Up Book Supplies Needed

The butterfly life cycle pop-up book is a very budget-friendly way to create and learn. You’ll just need the following supplies:

  • Copy-weight paper
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • 3 pieces 8 1/2” x 1” brown construction paper or cardstock
  • Glue stick
  • Butterfly Life Cycle Pop-Up Book Template (Fill out the form below to have it emailed to you. You’ll get all this helpful butterfly science, easy-to-follow instructions, plus the template, all for free.)

How to Make the Butterfly Life Cycle Pop-Up Book

  1. Cut out the pupa, butterfly, and egg templates.
  2. Fold a piece of brown paper in half horizontally. Align the fold line edge of the pupa template on the folded edge of the paper. Trace around the template and cut it out. This makes one folded pupa shape.
  3. Repeat step 2 with two more pieces of brown paper to make two more folded pupa shapes.
  1. Open up all three pupa shapes and stack them with the folds aligned. It’s now like you have a 6-page book. Glue the page 4 to 5 and page 5 to 6 with a glue stick.
  2. Now that you’re done with the pupa template, cut out the larva along the leaf line from the pupa template. Color or decorate the butterfly, egg, and larva.
  3. Glue the egg to the first page of the book.
  1. Flip to the second page in the book and glue the larva and leaf to it.
  1. Fold the butterfly in half along the dotted line.
  2. Open the pupa book so the glued pages are on the bottom and the egg and larva pages are on top. Place a small line of glue on the back of the butterfly, underneath the fold. Insert the butterfly into the pupa so that the book fold lines up with the butterfly fold. The butterfly should be mostly loose, so it appears to be flying out of the pupa.
  1. Let the glue dry and then test the book. Start with the egg on top, then turn the page to the larva (caterpillar), then to the pupa, then to the butterfly.

Spring STEAM Fun for Kids

This butterfly life cycle pop-up book is a sneak peek into the STEAM Explorers Spring Ebook Unit Study. It’s perfect for adding some science, tech, engineering, art, and math activity fun this March, April, and May.

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