This butterfly sensory activity for preschoolers or toddlers keeps little ones engaged through play-based learning.
Toddlers are amazing little creatures with an endless capacity for learning — but a very short attention span…
Sensory table activities for toddlers or preschoolers often have lots of fun creative elements to help engage young kids, but they don’t always have much of an educational component.
This one, on the other hand, will have little ones learning while they play. Full of bright colors, different textures, and interactive elements, this sensory bin is great for parents to make at home as a toy or for homeschool modules.
It’s great for daycare and preschool providers to use as well!
P.S. If you’re feeling crafty and want to make something else fun for your kids, these DIY magic sequin pillows are a no-sew dream project! And this DIY baby clay handprint keepsake is a beautiful way to preserve a fleeting moment in time — at any age!
These DIY sensory toys, which can be used over and over again, will teach about:
- Butterflies and insects
- Pollination and pollinators: “pollen” pony beads
- Colors: flowers, beads, and butterflies
- Counting: “pollen” pony beads
- Textures: rice “grass”
- Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills: using tweezers to pick up beads and fingers to thread beads on butterflies’ legs
- Question cards to discuss butterflies together
Who is this DIY butterfly sensory bin for?
A lot of activities are really age-specific, but this one is great for a lot of different ages, since you can vary the level of instruction and discussion that goes along with it.
This activity is perfect for you if:
- You’re looking for preschool home activities to enrich your little one on the weekends.
- You’re doing your own homegrown preschool curriculum.
- You’re looking for a fun, easy way to teach kids about pollination and pollinators.
- You run a home preschool or daycare.
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Why do kids need sensory activities?
Sensory activities for toddlers are critical to their development. Young children, just like adults, use their five senses to solve problems, and sensory activities toddlers can really dig into allow them to tap into multiple senses. A lot of people are Googling sensory activities for 2 year olds and sensory activities for 3 year olds.
What are some sensory activities for toddlers?
Sensory activities for toddlers can be as simple as play dough or a box of dry pasta. You want to engage different senses and get them actively engaged. Sensory bins can be really basic with just rice or beans to play with, or they can be more elaborate like this butterfly sensory activity preschool aged kids can engage with.
How to Make a Butterfly Sensory Activity for Preschoolers
- Toy butterflies: I used this Safari Ltd Insects TOOB.
- Butterfly net and bug tweezers: This set has all sorts of fun bug-catching tools.
- Plastic beads in yellow
- Artificial flowers
- White rice (2-pound bag)
- Green food coloring
- Gallon plastic bag
- Plastic tub or wooden tray
- Free printable question cards (Sign up for my newsletter to access the free download in my printable library.)
Creating Rice “Grass”
1. Start by dying the rice to make “grass” for your butterflies. Pour all the rice into a gallon plastic bag.
2. Squeeze a half-teaspoon of green food coloring over the rice. Zip the bag shut, and shake and knead the rice to mix the food coloring evenly.
3. Dry the rice overnight on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or plastic wrap.
Assemble the Sensory Bin
1. Pour the rice “grass” into your plastic tub or wooden tray.
2. Arrange the flowers all over the rice, or let your child do it to foster creativity and independence.
3. Add about six yellow beads to the center of a flower. This will be the “pollen” for the learning activity.
4. Add a couple butterflies to the “habitat.”
5. Print and cut the question cards.
Play-Based Learning: How to Use the Question Cards
This butterfly sensory activity for preschoolers can go even further into older age groups by getting more complex with the questions and activities.
Have your child choose a card at random from the stack. Work as a team to discover the answer by exploring the different elements in the sensory activities.
Here are the questions on the cards, as well as ways you can use them together with the butterfly bin:
Q: What do butterflies eat?
A: Butterflies drink the nectar from flowers. Show your child how butterflies land on a flower and then use their tongue like a straw to drink up some sweet nectar.
Q: Where do butterflies sleep?
A: Butterflies huddle up almost anywhere to sleep! Have your child hide your butterfly for the night in the sensory bin. You can even come “wake it up” in the morning to resume your activities.
Q: How do butterflies get around?
A: Butterflies use their beautiful wings to fly! Have your child pretend that their butterfly is flying around the sensory bin.
Q: How do butterflies help the flowers?
A: They pollinate flowers. While they are drinking the nectar, pollen sticks to butterflies legs and feet. Show the child how this might happen by stringing the mini yellow pony beads onto a leg of the butterfly. Then show how the butterfly flies to the next flower, where some of the pollen falls off and stays on that flower. That is how pollination works!
Q: How many legs do butterflies have?
A: Butterflies have six legs! Count the legs on a butterfly together to find out.
Q: How many body parts do butterflies have?
A: Butterfly bodies have three segments: head, thorax, abdomen. Help your child count and find them all.
Q: What other body parts do butterflies have?
A: Eyes, antenna, wings. But before telling the child, let them examine the butterfly to find out for themselves.