I wrote a little last week about some of the plans I have for the children’s learning over spring time. When we popped to the local library last week I picked up a book about the butterfly life cycle. This is a lovely simple book that has all the required information to help pre-schoolers learn about the butterfly life cycle.
I ordered a tuff spot stand last week and put the tuff spot to good use today with a butterfly life cycle tuff spot play scene. I spent a couple of hours last night (yes my Saturday evenings really are the stuff of dreams!) cutting out leaf shapes. I did this using different coloured papers and then drawing the veins of the leaves using a sharpie.
I then set about marking out the four areas of the life cycle.
1 – Eggs – I scattered the leaves along with some circular craft jewels for the caterpillar eggs. You could use small buttons or dry chick peas, but I liked the jewels as we’ve not used these before in our sensory play.
2 – Caterpillars – I curled some pipe cleaners for the caterpillars. I was going to use dried fussili pasta, but couldn’t quite bring myself to let the children play with food that could be eaten, so decided on the pipe cleaners. I’m glad I did as the colours were used by Miss E to colour sort. I also added in some of the leaves for the caterpillars to munch on. If I’d had time I would have punched some holes in some of the leaves to show where the caterpillars had eaten them.
3 – Coccoon – I struggled with how to create a cocoon and then a friend in a facebook group suggested using old tights cut up. So, I found a pair of brown tights and started to cut them up. I stuffed a few of them with cotton wool and stitched them up, but then I was getting tired so just cut some strips out. I’m pleased with how these turned out and Mr D spent a short period of time putting the pipe cleaner caterpillars into some of the unstuffed coccoons.
4 – Butterflies – I’ve been looking for something for butterflies all week, I had thought I’d get some plastic toys ones but was struggling finding any in the shops so was pleased to spot some butterfly shaped beads in B&M for £1 so grabbed a bag of those and popped in some foam and pom pom flowers. You could also use the bow shaped pasta for butterflies.
When I showed them the Butterfly LifeCycle tuff spot we got the book out and talked about the butterfly life cycle together. Mr D has a great memory and he was able to tell me what each of the four sections on the tuff spot were, remembering the four stages from our reading of the book a day earlier. I then left them up to it, to play as they wanted to.
I had left out some small baskets as well as a couple of plastic dishes and the tweezers. they instantly set about taking everything off the tuff spot tray and putting it into the baskets. Mr D used the tweezers for a lot of this. Once they’d done they started to put some things back on to the tray, but it was when we re-visited it later in the afternoon that they put things back into the four areas again. Miss E then took herself off to get the coloured dishes and, unprompted, set about sorting the caterpillars into colours. She spent ages doing this and even used the tweezers which she struggled with last time we got them out (for our Easter tuff spot).
I am going to leave the tuff spot set up this week and see how they play with it. I also have some craft resources for us to take a look at as well as some colouring sheets and pen control sheets. I’ll share our other activities in due course, but if you have any tried and tested resources and ideas let me know!