I love using hot glue, foam, and recyclables to create exciting manipulatives to add to my teaching repertoire. Just seeing a butterfly made out of a plastic container revs up the kids! When that butterfly can open its’ mouth and they can put things in, it takes it to another level!
I use this butterfly for so many things. For preschool and kindergarten aged children, students will use tongs to “feed” the butterfly. It works on counting, fine motor, and one-to-one correspondence.
You can increase the difficulty, by adding dice. Students can match the number on the die and “feed” the butterfly.
Or, you can add 2-3 dice and work on addition. This is a great partner game. You can even use this for multiplication! Older children are still entranced by a novel experience. Feeding a butterfly while practicing math concepts is definitely novel!
How to Make a DIY Butterfly Container
Step 1. Select a tall plastic container. Preferably, with a top that opens up like a mouth. I thing that pasta containers would be perfect!
Step 2. Cut and hot glue a piece of foam to the back of the container. This will be the body of the caterpillar and will keep the wings from showing through the container.
Step 3. Cut out the wings that will fit your butterfly. Create your own designs. Be creative! I fold the foam in half, so that everything will be symmetrical. Hot glue the designs to the wings.
Step 4. Hot glue the wings to the back of the butterfly container. I hot glue the bottom wings first and then add the top wings. You need to hold the wings to the back of the container, until the glue is completely dry.
Step 5. Add google eyes to the front of your container. Cut a pipe cleaner in half and hot glue it to the back of the container for antenna. You’ve made your own butterfly!
I use this butterfly for many other things. Students will identify objects or pictures with the same beginning sound and “feed” them to the butterfly. I have used it for just practicing words or letters. Each student gets a word or letter card and if they read it correctly can “feed” it to the butterfly. It can be used to make any kind of learning exciting!