Collecting Butterflies

Fishing for brightly colored fish is a staple in our arsenal of toddler crafts. But some little ones get frustrated at missing the magnet-to-paperclip connection.

Either try this butterfly idea or add it to your arsenal as a variation during your units on colors and bugs.

What You Need

colorful paper

child-safe scissors


paper towel tubes, one for each butterfly catcher

What You Do

1. Cut out simple big butterflies from the paper. (The child-safe scissors can be for you; they’re definitely for the young ones helping you.) Laminate the butterflies for durability and re-use, if you can.

2. Create a wand by wrapping the paper towel tube with colorful papers. Glue the ends to the towel.

3. Spread the butterflies out on the floor.

4. Ask the children to collect as many butterflies as they can: touch the butterfly with the wand, then gently pick it up.


Helpful additions and variations:

a) Provide a basket to collect the butterflies.

b) If the butterflies are laminated, stick a good-sized loop of tape to the middle of each butterfly. Catching butterflies now becomes a much more manageable matter of wand to tape!

c) Identify the butterfly colors.

d) Count how many butterflies you caught.

e) Set the butterflies free at the end of the activity. If they come back to you…..

Shyamala Shanmugasundaram of Navi Mumbai, India, submitted this activity to The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities. I love it!


Oh yes, this is for your older learners:


7 Responses

  1. This is one of the games I want to try in the book. I am thinking how to make the wand. One that is safe and will last and can be used in other activities.

    • Wrap the paper towel tube in contact paper? That clear sheet stuff often used in kitchen cabinets, know what I’m talking about? Hm. If other ideas come up, I’ll give a shout!

      • Right. Paper towel roll? Too thick for little hands and after one class it’s garbage. I found some cool halloween wands made from dowel rods covered in felt. But they have pumpkins (which I can change with some effort) on the end. Still thinking. It would be great if each student had their own special magic wand. There are lots of activities you can do with them.

        • Sorry the laminated paper towel idea wasn’t right for you, Bob.

          Buying is one option, yes, and we’ve had good success with back scratchers and pestles from the ¥100 shops. Somewhere around here I have a list of wands you can make, if you prefer that route. Let me know if you want me to look for it.

          And let me know when you get that post up about using wands in class!


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