Spring has sprung! Spring to me means a lot of things (sunshine, warmth, flowers, rain, emergence, rebirth, renewal, love to name a few) but one of my favorites is the butterfly. What better creature to embody the changing of the seasons than the butterfly? What better metaphor for the metamorphosis that plants, animals, children all go through this time of year in particular. Going through the dark, the heavy, the slow of winter and emerging bright, beautiful, and light
. Butterflies are a great theme for children.
I adore this story from Zorba the Greek:
A Lesson in Patience
by Nikos Kazantzakis
I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.
That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.
What a lesson for us all. A lesson in patience when dealing with our children, expecting them to go faster and farther than they may be ready for. A lesson to not rush, to slow down , to let life unfold as it is meant to. A lesson in patience indeed. Whether my children understand the lesson is another matter, but I am starting to.
We didn’t raise butterflies this year as some families do. I do think that would be a fun experience one year and what a lesson in patience that would be for my children! But, I think visiting the butterfly every year through books and art is both fun and educational.
Start with some reading…
For the youngest, and the young at heart.
A beautiful story with beautiful illustrations.
Learn about their great migration.
Feed the natural curiosity to learn more about the different species of butterflies and moths and maybe encourage a little naturalist!
(All books are linked to my affiliate Amazon.)
Then find some butterfly inspiration in an art project. I love coffee filter butterflies. They are easy enough for the little ones and can be made more complex for the older ones. There are lots of lessons to be learned when creating butterflies: symmetry, senses, life cycle, body parts, ecology, wing colors, and anything else you can come up with according to your child’s interests.
Start with flattened coffee filters, or other similarly textured paper, markers, pipe cleaners, optional clothes pins, and a spray bottle of water.
Use markers to put as much color as you desire on the coffee filter. Spritz with a little (2 to 3 light squirts) water to let the colors run.
Let dry somewhere safe. Drying time will depend on how much water is used.
Scrunch the filter in the middle and wrap the pipecleaner tightly around the center. Older children might like to use a clothes pin to secure the center and attach the pipecleaner antennae to that. Clothes pins can be decorated with paint and googly eyes. Curl the ends of the pipecleaner to make antennaes. Spread the wings to finish your sweet little butterfly.
This post was written for the March “Families, Create!” Monthly Make and Play Carnival hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. This is a new monthly blog carnival focusing on families and creativity.
March’s Families, Create! challenge was filled with awesome animal-themed posts. From Mo Willems to monkey finger puppets, our writers and crafters kept busy getting creative with the little animals in their lives.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Living Peacefully with Children to find out how you can participate in the next Families, Create! Carnival. Our April theme is “Fantasy” – childhood is a fascinating time, filled with magic around every corner. What can your family imagine and create?
Please take time to read the March submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Lizz at Am I a Funny Girl turns a family outing at the zoo into a picture book to keep.
- Maman A Droit shares her easy pattern for a felt monkey finger puppet with you!
- The kids at Living Peacefully with Children celebrated the emergence of Spring with butterflies. Check out their Coffee Filter Butterfly mobile and Pipe Cleaner Art.
- Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes offers helpful ways for a child to remember calming techniques with a “Calming your Beast” basket.
- Most of us have monkeys running around our house at times. Or lions. Or elephants. Make your child’s creative animal play even better with stuffed animal tails! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares an easy tutorial.
- Galit Breen at These Little Waves shares an easy way to get creative with Mo Willems’ “We Are In A Book.”
- Maman A Droit shares her pattern for a felt bunny finger puppet-a perfect Easter basket filler!
- Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares a look at butterflies through metaphor, books and a coffee filter craft.
- Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children knitted some simple Nugget Bunnies for her children’s Ostara baskets while practicing a new technique.
- Amy at Anktangle shares photographs of crocheting a lovable stuffed turtle for her son to play with.
- Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes knows a few ways to bring beneficial birds to the garden.
- Megan at Purple Dancing Dahlias shares a fun little first sewing project.
- Lauren at Hobo Mama has a fun and easy game to make to stimulate your preschooler’s memory.
- Using her children’s artwork as inspiration, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children woodburned wooden eggs for them to color in honor of Spring.
- Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes is making nature bags or field bags for nature journals and the other things we may need as we explore our planet.
- Animals are the inspiration for this set of handmade clay items for an I Spy bag at Living Peacefully with Children.