by Karen Family Fun Home School Parenting

Homeschooling Outside the Box

December Butterflies

Lots of snow predicted for this winter.

Currently my lawn looks like this. We’re studying butterflies.  If only I had scheduled a little better, we could have had some hands on experiences, but winter means intense days of school. I could try to hatch some caterpillars….and then watch them starve or die of cold. Last winter when my grandson kept a box elder bug in his insect box, it eventually died. We skyped the funeral together as he was living in Kentucky at the time. A little piece of bathroom floor tile marks his grave in the aloe plant pot. The children still pause in remembrance occasionally because he was their friend.

With kindergarten in full swing and a rough winter looming ahead, I need to keep the learning fun and the activities plentiful.  Butterfly day became the weekly highlight despite the snow. Watching a caterpillar eat its way out of its egg and through a bushful of leaves until it fell asleep in a chrysalis and emerged a butterfly on You Tube helped save some butterflies lives. But five-year-olds do not live by virtual reality alone.

Stepping Outside the Box

I searched for butterfly activities on Google and Pinterest. Nothing struck me as workable, but taken as a group, an idea evolved. I had some water paint I had nearly thrown out a dozen times. Using it up was high on the priority list.

A well-loved box of water paints.

By letting it soak, Big Bro could dip out enough to cover half a page. Folding the paper in half while still wet, caused the other side to match. Once the page dried, I marked a butterfly wing shape and Big Bro cut it out. Open the wings and: Ta-da! A butterfly.

The Process

Five-year-olds work at learning to fold!

Big Bro and Li’l Sis jumped into the art project. It sounded a bit magical to them. They had trouble at first getting the page wet and deeply colored enough to insure the other side would pick up the paint. After a few tries, they figured it out.

The one on the right didn’t work as hoped. He figured out a little more in the next one.
Pressing helped.
Will it work this time?
Yes! Success!
Li’l Sis caught on, too.
So much learning in such a simple project!

They could have easily used a ream of paper to make a herd of butterflies, but time ran out. More delight awaited them the next morning when they came downstairs to find the butterflies flitting on the front window. Always display a child’s work! No audience means it’s pretty much just busy work.

December butterflies peeking at the snow out the window.