Butterflies for Kids {Free Butterfly Journal}

Kids love watching caterpillars transform into butterflies – it’s a fun and educational activity — even more so when they keep a butterfly journal.
Since I’m not much of a gardener, butterflies for kids in this house means a special cage bought just for observing butterflies up close.
Butterfly Activities for Kids | How one family raised caterpillars and released butterflies. Free printable butterfly journal for preschool or kindergarten aged kids. Also includes links to loads of other butterfly crafts, STEM activities, and more.

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Butterflies for Kids – Part 1

We’ve “raised” butterflies twice here. The first time, we bought a Butterfly Garden from Amazon (affiliate) and ordered caterpillars by mail. They arrived one spring day in a little cup complete with caterpillar food in the bottom. The girls were still small, but Liam and I watched them every day. We measured them (as best we could through the jar), and wrote down our observations in a little butterfly journal we made.
Then, one day, there was a chrysalis. And another and another. We moved them into the larger cage which came with our kit. Liam drew pictures of them in our observation book. After a few days, butterflies emerged. They were bright orange, and beautiful!
We fed them slices of orange and sugar water. Then, after a few days, we released them. I was worried that this part would be difficult. It wasn’t. I’d set Liam’s expectations from the start, framing it as a happy ending.

The butterflies hesitated just long enough for me to worry they couldn’t or wouldn’t fly. Then, before I could think about it very hard, they soared up and away in the wind. And they were gone. Out in the world where they belong.

Butterfly Journal

To enrich your own butterfly experience, I’ve made a printable butterfly journal to share with you. It has spaces to record the caterpillar’s growth, the dates of events in the life cycle, predictions, and questions.

Pre-readers can fill in easy items like numbers or their name on the cover, draw pictures of what they observe, and dictate the rest to an adult. Early readers can fill in more themselves. Except for the word “chrysalis,” the journal uses simple, easy-to-read vocabulary, but you can talk about bigger words, like “metamorphosis” and “observation” if you like.

You may also enjoy making this fun preschool butterfly craft along with your butterfly journal.

Edited to add journal assembly instructions:

  • Print out all the pages. You may want to print multiple copies of some of the pages. You can decide how often you want to record observations.
  • Cut each page horizontally on the dotted line.
  • For the cover only, also cut on the vertical solid line and glue to a half sheet of construction paper.
  • Then, for the rest of the pages, do NOT cut on the solid vertical line. Instead, fold on this line.
  • Glue the left portion of the Day 1 half-page to the inside of the construction paper front cover.
  • Next, glue the left portion of your Day 2 page back to back with the right portion of the Day 1 page.
  • Continue in this fashion for the rest of the pages. Do not glue the last page to the inside of the back cover, as it won’t open and close as well if you do.

Butterflies for Kids – Part 2

Our own butterfly experience continued when Isabella and Sophie were in preschool. I can’t remember who spotted it, but we found a monarch butterfly chrysalis on a lone milkweed in our yard.
We rescued it from the lawnmower by putting it in our butterfly cage. Again, we watched and waited. Once again, I set expectations that we’d be releasing it when and if it emerged.

Everything went according to plan. The funny thing is, even now (well past the short lifespan of a butterfly), when one of my girls notices a butterfly in our yard she’ll often point it out, saying,

“Maybe that’s our butterfly!”

I like to imagine that it is.

If you’re looking for more posts on Butterflies for Kids, you may like to check out the Butterfly Unit Study posts from this creative group of bloggers —


Find the Letter B is for Butterflies from 3 Boys and a Dog
Butterfly Books for Children from The Jenny Evolution
Preschool Butterfly Songs from Preschool Powol Packets

DIY Ruffle Butterfly Bookmark from Living Ideas
Easy Kid Craft: Colorful Spring Butterfly Suncatcher from Crafty Mama in ME
Cupcake Liner Butterfly Craft from Raising Little Superheroes
Butterfly DIY Window Clings from Gym Craft Laundry
Marshmallow Stamping Butterflies & Other Bug {with free printables} from Play Dough & Popsicles

Butterfly Life Cycle for Kids (Free Printables) from The Natural Homeschool
LEGO butterflies from Planet Smarty Pants

Where to See Butterflies in Nature from FrogMom
Butterfly Science from Schooling a Monkey
How to Meet a Butterfly from Bambini Travel
Planting a Butterfly Garden from Our Daily Craft
Exploring Butterfly Wing Patterns from CraftCreateCalm
Life Cycle of a Butterfly Worksheet from Living Life and Learning
Visiting a Butterfly House from Something 2 Offer

Sensory Play & Fun
Butterfly Sensory Painting from Parenting Chaos
Butterfly Sensory Bin with Scavenger Hunt and Life Cycle Activities {Free Printables} from Living Montessori Now
Butterfly I Spy Game from Simple Fun for Kids

butterfly journal
Butterfly Activities for Kids | How one family raised caterpillars and released butterflies. Free printable butterfly journal for preschool or kindergarten aged kids. Also includes links to loads of other butterfly crafts, STEM activities, and more.


  1. I love this idea! We ordered caterpillars this year & this is a perfect way to track their progress. I got the journal printed and then as I was looking at it, I couldn't quite figure out how to put it together. Could you show me how you did it?

    1. Oops! I'm so sorry!! I was going to explain that, and then skipped it in my rush to finish. I'm going right now to edit the end of the post to give clear instructions. I'm happy to hear you like our butterfly journal!

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