Butterfly Balancing Act

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This balancing experiment is a nice way to talk about things like symmetry and centers of gravity, no matter how young your child is! They’ll love the beautiful butterfly you make, and absorb just a little science in the process.

First, I folded a piece of white paper in half and traced butterfly wings. Cut out the wings and unfold – you now have a perfectly symmetrical butterfly!

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Now place that paper over something sturdier (we recycled a cereal box) and cut out – this part was definitely a grown-up step.

Travis loved decorating his butterfly with dot paints.

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Once dry, it was time to see how it flew!

Using a little bit of playdough to anchor it, I inserted a straw. This will be the stand for the butterfly.


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Tape a penny to each corner of the butterflies wings for weight.

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Now balance it on the straw! You may need to shift a little until you find the center of balance, but once you do, your little butterfly friend will be aloft.

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I confess, I think I was more impressed with the final results than Travis was!

Footprint Butterflies

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Painting doesn’t get messier – or more fun! – than this.

We needed a harbinger of spring with a sleety snowstorm outside, and I thought butterflies would be perfect. First, Travis and I selected blue and green paints, and swirled them together on a paper plate. I was hoping this would give the butterfly a patterned look like in nature, though mostly it just meant we had a lovely turquoise.

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I thought Travis might be squeamish about stepping right in the paint and planned to apply it to his feet with a paintbrush – but he surprised me!

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He let me hold the plate to his foot and mush it around (“It’s cold!”) and then was patient as I pressed his foot down on poster board, angling his toes slightly out, for one butterfly wing. Repeat on the other side.

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We made two butterflies on our poster board, but after that, things would have gotten too muddled. He was having so much fun though that I laid out additional sheets of paper for him to slip and slide and stomp on – make sure to hold your little one’s hand.

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Finally, our butterfly wings were dry; I added in bodies and antennae and Travis drew a few scribbles of his own.

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Send to a loved one as a happy spring card!