Life Cycles: Showing the Stages & Making it Fun

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This is a fun activity that we did to go along with our focus on life cycles during Gv's Latticed Learning time.

I decided to incorporate this theme with her after she took such an interest in the butterfly life cycle while we were camping this summer.  I'd brought along a bunch of bug books (since we'd be hanging out with the bugs for so long out there) and she really got into the butterflies.  

Then, when we took a day trip to our state's natural history museum with the cousins after we returned home, she surprised me by pointing out all the stages (Um, a two-year-old that tells me about a "pupa" and "chrysalis?"  I was just a little surprised!), I knew she'd enjoy learning more.

Butterfly Life Cycle

Of course, I knew we had to start with the butterfly cycle.  I'd done these before with the kids in my classroom, so it was just a matter of hunting up things around the house that we could use to represent each stage.

I glued everything down on pieces of construction paper with just regular old Elmer's glue:

Egg:  tiny white pom pom
Caterpillar:  a short piece of thick pipe cleaner like this
Chrysalis:  a real stick from our yard and then a wadded up piece of brown tissue paper
Butterfly:  a crumpled-up piece of yellow tissue paper, held down with a green band-aid

Ladybug Life Cycle

Egg:  tiny white pom pom
Larvae:  a small, short piece of pipe cleaner
Pupa:  a wadded up piece of brown tissue paper
Ladybug:  I just cut the red shell out of construction paper and then added the black details with a marker

Frog Life Cycle

We did this completely out of Play-dough - I was surprised the glue actually held it all down, but it did:

Egg:  small black ball, wrapped in white
Tadpole:  formed from black
Froglet & Frog:  formed from green

Chick Life Cycle

Egg:  a paper egg Gv had decorated at a friend's house for Easter, nestled in a brown tissue-paper nest
Hatching:  a white construction paper egg with the outline of the emerging chick and a pair of googly eyes to make it more fun
Chick:  two yellow pom poms, a googly eye, a small orange construction-paper beak, and black marker legs
Chicken:  we traced Gv's hand on white paper, then added the red construction paper comb, beak and wattles before finishing it off with a googly eye and legs

Sunflower Life Cycle

Seeds:  sunflower seeds (yes, I know these are shelled, but it's what we had)
Plant:  a plant we yanked up by its roots from the backyard
Flower:  a silk sunflower we had in a vase on the piano

When these were all dry, I just laid them on an end table next to the couch so that Gv could play with them whenever she wanted:

If you look closely, you'll see that the hatching chick is already missing its eyes...I found these hidden inside a plastic egg from Easter!

Although I'm sure Gv will get even more out of this activity when she's older, she definitely had fun putting it together with me (she's really into gluing things right now).  What other things can you think of to use for the stages of these life cycles?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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