Create a beautiful butterfly while learning about pollination.

About the Activity

Butterflies are known for their colorful wings, but they offer so much more than just beauty. Just like bees, they're hard at work as they travel from flower to flower to gain nutrients and pollinate. In this activity, kids will learn to appreciate the insect’s beauty and purpose, as they create their own butterfly and learn how they take part in pollination.

Grades: K-4
Topic: STEM, Biology
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

Brought to you by Corteva Agriscience, Colorado State University Extension and University of Illinois Extension

butterfly animation

These simple art supplies are all you’ll need to create your butterfly:

  • Water-based markers, watercolor paint, or food coloring
  • Coffee filters
  • Wooden clothespins
  • A spray bottle with water
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Activity Steps
Prepare your butterfly to take flight by creating colorful wings. Let’s get started!

  1. First, lay your coffee filter flat. Then use your markers, paint, or food coloring to make a design. You could create a butterfly you’ve seen before or you could use your imagination to create your very own butterfly.Did you know? The butterfly is actually this creature’s fourth physical form, since a butterfly has four stages in its lifecycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and butterfly.
coffee filter butterfly activity
  1. After you are done designing your butterfly, spray the water evenly over the filter and watch the colors spread and run together. Before you move to the next step, your butterfly needs to dry for about 15-20 minutes.Did you know? Butterflies taste with their feet! But they suck up nectar through a straw-like mechanism called the proboscis, which is its mouth. When a butterfly drinks nectar through its proboscis, some pollen gets stuck on its hairs and transfers pollen from one flower to another.
  2. The last step is to scrunch up the coffee filter down the middle and place the clothespin between the two wings of the butterfly. You’ve created your own butterfly!Did you know? To help them fly, butterflies have transparent wings with tiny scales that reflect light, which create their colorful patterns.

Reflection Questions
Questions for your kids and teens.

  1. What do the coffee filters and butterfly wings have in common?
  2. Do you think different species of butterflies will have different patterns on their wings?
  3. How could you attract butterflies to your home using flowers?
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butterfly chrysallises

Want to learn even more about butterflies?
Download the 4-H Butterfly Guide and get to know these fascinating creatures better.

The Butterfly Life-Cycle

Learn about how butterflies go from egg to adult.

Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop 4-H offers university-backed STEM curriculum, educational kits, products and supplies to expand your knowledge of butterflies, insects and more.

Butterfly Bingo Game from Shop 4-H

Butterfly Bingo

This bingo game comes with pieces for 2-6 players and makes learning about butterflies fun! Each card has facts about butterflies and their relatives. The first person to cover the selected pattern and yell "caterpillar" wins!


Butterfly WINGS Youth Curriculum from Shop 4-H

Butterfly Curriculum Youth Digital Download

Youth learn to identify the butterfly families and common butterflies.


Each purchase provides 1 access code.  All access codes will be emailed within one business day after processing.


Butterfly WINGS Leader Curriculum from Shop 4-H

Butterfly Curriculum Leader Digital Download

Find facilitator tips, activity guides, and additional resources for the Project Butterfly WINGS curriculum.


Each purchase provides 1 access code.  All access codes will be emailed within one business day after processing.


Monarchs on the Move Challenge Kit from Shop 4-H

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insect curriculum from Shop 4-H

All About Insects Bundle

Grades: Pre-K-3


Includes three activities and an insect collecting jar.  Youth learn the basics of insects and search for insect clues and insects.


Teaming With Insects Curriculum from Shop 4-H

Teaming With Insects Curriculum

Grades: 3-12


Introduce kids to the world of insects through activities that expand on the basic concepts of biodiversity, invasive species, integrated pest management, and forensic entomology.



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