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Five Little Butterflies

Five little butterflies on flowers galore,
One flew off, then there were four.

Four little butterflies among the sweet peas.
One flew off, then there were three.

Three little butterflies with nothing to do,
One flew off, then there were two.

Two little butterflies resting in the sun,
One flew off, then there was one.

One little butterfly, now the only one,
She flew off, then there were none.
                                 Jean Warren
Pour diluted red, yellow, and blue food coloring into cups and set out small, fluted coffee filters. Have your children fold up the coffee filters and dip the corners into the food coloring. Allow the filters to dry flat. To make each butterfly, demonstrate how to pinch together the center part of a decorated filter to create wings. Then show how to twist on a chenille stem for a body and curl over the ends of the stem for antennae.
Cut butterfly shapes, about 5 inches across, out of white paper and fold them in half. Let your children open the shapes and use eyedroppers to squeeze on a few drops of paint. Have them refold the shapes, rub over them gently, and then open the shapes to reveal unique designs. Select a chenille stem for each child and bend over the top few inches. Tape the back side of the child's butterfly onto the top of the bent-over part of the stem. Then stand the stems in the soil of potted plants so that the butterflies appear to be floating above the leaves.

For each of your children, make a blank book containing five pages and a colored paper cover. Print "My Butterfly Book" and the child's name on the front. Number the pages from 1 to 5. Then invite the children to use washable inkpads and butterfly rubber stamps to print matching numbers of butterflies on the pages of their books. When they have finished, let them draw pictures on their book pages incorporating the butterfly prints, if they wish.

Select several colors of felt, such as red, yellow, blue, and orange. From each color, cut out one flower shape and one butterfly shape. Place the flower shapes on a flannelboard and give the butterfly shapes to your children. Then let them take turns placing the butterflies on the matching colored flowers.

Talk with your group about how caterpillars turn into butterflies. Then give each of the children a paper plate. On the front, have them glue a thick piece of green yarn for a caterpillar. On the back, have them glue a square of colored crepe paper that has been pinched together in the middle for a butterfly. Let them add other details with crayons or markers, if they wish. To use, have them flip their plates back and forth to illustrate two of the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.
Use library resources to find out which butterflies live in your area and which plants are needed to provide food for them. Let your children help you plant appropriate seeds or seedlings in an outdoor planter or garden area. Encourage the children to help take care of the garden by doing such tasks as watering and weeding. As the plants mature and flower, look for butterflies to come by your garden for a visit.

Tune: "The Mulberry Bush"
A butterfly came flying by,
Flying by, flying by.
A butterfly came flying by.
Oh, what a sight to see.
It landed on a garden flower,
Garden flower, garden flower.
It landed on a garden flower,
And waved its wings at me.
Liz Ryerson

Let your children take turns acting out the song as you sing.
For each of your children, place a celery stick on a plate for a butterfly body and two bread triangles spread with cream cheese for butterfly wings. Invite the children to add grated carrot and raisins to the wings for decorations.
Make butterfly cookies for the children to decorate with frosting and sprinkles.