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Making Paper Butterflies

What you need

  • The story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Paper
  • Paint in the colours of your choice


This is a lovely way to follow-up the much loved story and explore colours and how they can be changed. For older children, you can discuss symmetry, building on this mathematical concept. For younger children the experience will be a way to build awareness that different media can change when used in different ways. 

This will also help your child build connections with what they have seen in the book and what they may see outside in real life too.

The experience

Enjoy reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ story together. Your child can hold the book and enjoy looking at and exploring the pictures. 

Talk about the beautiful butterfly together. Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to discuss the colours and patterns on the butterfly’s wings and perhaps recall when they have seen a butterfly in real life. 

Provide some paper and a little paint. The paper should ideally be A4 size or larger, and folded in half down the middle, before being opened out again flat. You can draw a large outline of the butterfly in pencil (or older children could draw their own) or you can keep the paper plain for now. 

Choose as many colours as you wish to use, or just one. You could pour a spot of paint into the centre of the page or use paintbrushes or sponges to apply the paint as your child wishes to. Ensure your child applies the paint on just one side of the paper. 

Then, fold the paper over, pressing down lightly. Unfold and reveal a beautiful butterfly. Discuss with your child how the paint they put on one side is now the same on both. This is called symmetry, meaning the same on both sides. 

You could look up some butterfly pictures together on an iPad or computer – observe the different patterns on the wings. Then perhaps go out for a walk in nature and see if you can spot any?! 

Cut out your butterfly and enjoy this lovely piece of artwork!