Little Minds: Butterfly Activities
Actual age: 16 months, Corrected age: 14 months
Last week’s Little Minds session was so much fun! We are really getting into a good routine, and this session was our first themed unit. I thought I would take you through this one step by step so you can see how sessions typically unfold. Please remember, we only do these once a week to introduce a new topic and set of activities, which we then play with for the rest of the week.
Since Tex and his mama were not able to make it this week, the twins and I began by singing our Welcome Song. It serves as our signal to move to the playroom for school time.
Little Minds Welcome Song
Welcome to school, welcome to school, welcome to school,
We’re glad you’re here today!
(sing the next verse once for each child)
Welcome ____ (child’s name), welcome ____, welcome ___,
We’re glad you’re here today!
Next we did a weather check.
Weather Song (Sung to “Clementine”)
What’s the weather? What’s the weather?
What’s the weather like today?
Tell me children, what’s the weather?
What’s the weather like today?
Is it sunny, is it rainy, is it windy out today?
Tell me children what’s the weather, what’s the weather like today?
*Edit (9/12): Here is a link to a felt weather board I recently made to go along with our weather check!
Next I invited the twins to sit in circle with me on their new seat mats, which are actually brightly colored placemats I found a Walmart. They both enjoyed sitting on their little squares.
After we were situated, I introduced the topic of the day by pointing to and talking about some pictures of caterpillars and butterflies that I had printed out and taped to the wall behind me. Then I directed the babies’ attention to the butterflies that I had hung from the chandelier during their nap…I got them at Hobby Lobby at 40% off, so they were only a few dollars. Aren’t they pretty? The babies were enthralled with them, pointing upwards and babbling excitedly on and off for the rest of the day.
I also showed the babies the ASL signs for “caterpillar” and “butterfly.” I will add these signs to our sign book once the week is over.
Next, it was story time! This week’s book was, you guessed it, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
When I was working in the schools, we would always have a big “butterfly week” in the speech room, which was great fun for both students and therapists. A favorite activity was to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and act out the story with props. I did a simple version of this with the babies, allowing them to play with and explore the props as they wanted.
We started out with the plastic egg and leaf, which came from a tree in our back yard. We took turns putting the egg on top of the leaf, just like in the book, and then touching (and eventually tearing up) the leaf. Next, out came our “caterpillar,” which was actually a Pringles can covered in green construction paper. I cut the lid in half to make a mouth, lining the cut with duct tape to prevent sharp edges. Add some wiggle eyes and a funky pipe cleaner, and you’ve got yourself a hungry caterpillar! You could attach the lid permanently to the can, but I chose not to so we could easily remove items from the can and so the babies could practice taking the lid on and off. We “fed” the caterpillar along with the book using food tokens from The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Game, which I happened to already own from my therapy days. After the caterpillar was full, he went into his paper sack “cocoon” for a nap, and emerged as a beautiful blue butterfly.
I had no idea how well this activity would hold the twins’ interest, but I was pleasantly surprised by their attention. They loved all of the props and spent a good amount of time playing with them. What more could a mama/teacher ask for from such little guys?
Next was music time, and we sang a simple song about butterflies that I found on YouTube. We used bandanas as butterflies to act out the song. Click the link below for the video. It’s really cute!
YouTube Video: Fly Fly Butterfly
Then, it was on to our trays.
Tray #1: Bugs in flowers
Our first tray was simply a set of plastic linking bugs that we already owned paired with some colorful dessert cups I picked up from Walgreens at two for a dollar. I had no idea what I would be using them for at the time, but knew they would come in handy.
The babies enjoyed putting the bugs in the “flowers” and then taking them back out again. We also spent time nesting and stacking them.
Our next tray was a definite favorite! I made two smaller versions of our storybook caterpillar using snack-size Pringles cans. The babies had a great time feeding the caterpillars colorful pom-poms of different sizes.
This activity was great for eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and pretend play.
We also discovered that it was fun to combine the materials from both trays during our play. The twins had fun putting the pom poms in the cups as well. We eventually turned it into a tossing game, since the babies are just starting to learn how to throw things at a target.
Next, we moved out to the back porch for some messy fun, and more butterflies.
Tray number three consisted of cornmeal, which we have played with before, with pictures of colorful butterflies and caterpillars taped to the bottom of the tray for the babies to uncover.
As for our last activity, stay tuned for my next installment. It was such a hit, it deserves a post all its own!
*Edit (9/12): Click here to see what we did next!
I hope you enjoyed this peek into a themed Little Minds session. As you can see, we do try to provide some structured elements, but we mostly follow the lead of our children. Some days they may sit for the entire circle time, and other days one or all of them may walk around the room. They can choose whether or not to participate in the activities we offer and for how long. This way they are able to tell us what they need from our sessions. And we are more than happy to listen.
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