Children love learning about butterflies, especially in the spring. Our colorful butterfly life cycle sensory bin is a fun way to extend this learning! We also used it to practice counting and sorting, which are important early math skills. This sensory bin is great for an insect theme.
Amazon links included below.
Materials for the Sensory Bin
- Liquid watercolors
- Bowtie pasta
- Rotini pasta
- Shell pasta
- Sorting tray
Assembling the sensory bin
Place the desired amount of pasta into a plastic bag, add a few squirts of liquid watercolors, and give the bag a good shake. Once the pasta is colored as you’d like, spread the pasta on paper towels to dry. We decided to make this sensory bin super colorful, so each type of pasta was dyed a few different colors. If you’re worried about wasting plastic bags, keep in mind that they’re easily rinsed out and reused.
Once all of the pasta is dry, mix everything together in a sensory bin or basket. Then let the children dive in and play!
Butterfly life cycle sensory activity
Each type of pasta represents a different aspect of the butterfly life cycle. The curly rotini pasta is a “caterpillar”, the shell pasta is a “chrysalis”, and the bowtie pasta is a “butterfly.”
With this bin, children can talk about what happens after a caterpillar emerges from an egg. This is a hands-on way for them to retell the life cycle with their peers. We did that a few times, and then we moved on to some early math.
The children sorted by color first, placing all of the same colors together no matter the shape. After everything was sorted by color, we sorted by shape, with all of the butterflies together and so on.
Once that was done, the children decided to sort by color and shape at the same time. For this, all of the yellow butterflies were placed together while the yellow chrysalises were gathered in a different group.
After the final sorting was done, we counted how many pasta pieces were in each group. Then it was back to scooping and pouring the pasta together!
Expand the Learning
Add books about the butterfly’s life cycle. Books like Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert and From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman are great resources. See link below for more books about butterflies and insects.
BIO: Pop over to Fun-A-Day to see what Mary Catherine is up to! She loves to share fun and meaningful learning activities (literacy, science, math, art, and more) every day. If you’re looking for more butterfly activities, be sure to check out her printable butterfly life cycle book and butterfly necklace.