Life Cycle of the Butterfly and Beyond

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butterfly-speech-therapy-spring-ideasMany classrooms take time during the spring and summer to allow children to watch caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies. This is one way to see the wonders of nature up close while incorporating science into their learning. Watching these fuzzy creatures form chrysalis and go through metamorphosis gives everyone a lot of vocabulary and a lot to talk about. In addition to this, the conversations can create fun side projects to do while working on speech and language goals at the same time.

Classic Story Time Connection

Kids love the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This is a classic and wonderful way to actively engage students within speech and language sessions. Before reading the story together, take time to go over prior knowledge. Have members of the group seen a caterpillar before? Did they learn about the life cycle of a caterpillar before it turns into a butterfly? Talk about specific vocabulary and map out the process together using drawings or a felt storyboard.

Take time to read the story together. To get the kids more actively engaged, give each person some props from the story to get involved. You will need a caterpillar, leaf, sun, cocoon, butterfly, one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries, five oranges, and a variety of other foods. If you are artistic, you can also draw these items and laminate them onto crafting sticks for a mini-puppet show retelling. When finished reading the story, take time to have the students retell the story in their own words. Use the props to encourage them to use new vocabulary from the story and to get as detailed as they can.

Personalized Hungry Caterpillar Stories

Make blank flip books ahead of time. These will be used by the kids to make their own personalized story about a hungry caterpillar. Brainstorm with them about what foods their caterpillar will want to eat each day of the week. Use the bottom of the pages to write the words and have kids illustrate the book on top. As the individual stories are finished, take time to share their hungry caterpillar tales. Did anyone have similar foods that the caterpillars ate? What did all of the butterflies look like at the end?

When finished spend time with individuals to translate their stories so multilingual families will be able to share once they go home. Send home a sheet explaining where the inspiration came from and let families know that many books by Eric Carle are available in different languages to enjoy at home.

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