Expand on the Story with These Activities

Plan Ahead: Check your local library for a copy of The Little Butterfly That Could by Ross Burach. As a backup, there are several online readings of the book on YouTube. The following are ideas for expansion activities after reading the book with your child.

All Ages - The Little Caterpillar Song: Sing this song to the tune of The Itsy-Bitsy Spider. Make up gestures to act the song out (snuggle, spin your finger, pretend to sleep, wave your hands like butterfly wings).

The little caterpillar snuggled on a leaf,

Spun a little chrysalis and then fell asleep,

While it was sleeping, it dreamed that it could fly,

When it woke up, it was a butterfly!

Birth to 8 Months - Routine Care: Support language development during daily routines such as changing diapers. Decorate your diaper changing area with pictures of one or more butterflies or add a mobile with butterflies. The pictures can be realistic or cartoonish. They can be of different colors, sizes, and patterns.

Talk to your baby. For example, you might say, “As we change your diaper, we are going to look at butterflies.” While changing the diaper, point out colors, sizes, and patterns of the butterflies. Ask questions and make statements such as:

“What do you see?”

“Yes, that’s a butterfly.”

“That butterfly is orange.”

“You are smiling. Do you like that one?”

8 to 18 Months - Butterfly Movement: At this age, children are beginning to act and move with intention and purpose. Play some music and give your child some lightweight scarves or other fabric. Encourage him or her to pretend the scarves are their wings and to move like a butterfly. Demonstrate different ways a butterfly might move. For example, move your arms up and down, side to side, or to the beat of the music. Move slower or faster. For non-mobile children, hold them and move with them or sit on the floor and help them wave their "wings."

18 to 36 months - Butterfly Count: Toddlers are learning to follow simple one-step directions, are gaining control over postures and movements, and are acting and moving with intention and purpose. Adapt this activity based on your child's abilities and provide encouragement as he or she is learning new skills.

Cut butterfly shapes out of paper (click here for a template if needed). Write a number, 1 through 6, on each butterfly. Place butterfly shapes on the ground in number order. Help your child step on each butterfly, one through six, as you count out loud. When your child is able to recognize individual numbers, call out a number and ask your toddler to hop on the butterfly with that number. You can also ask them to put a hand or foot on the butterfly with that number.

3- to 5-Year-Olds - Reading Readiness: Preschoolers are learning to interact appropriately with books. They also are making connections between stories and real-life experiences.

Review the parts of the book with your child (front and back cover, title, author, illustrator, top and bottom of the book, and the spine of the book).

Ask questions. For example:

“Who writes the words or story in the book?” (Response: The author) “The author of this book is Ross Burach.”

“Who draws the pictures in the book?” (Response: The illustrator) “The illustrator of this book is also Ross Burach.”

“The butterfly wanted to live in the whale’s stomach. How do you think the butterfly felt when the whale said no?”

“If you were a tiny butterfly, would you keep trying to do something that is hard? Why or why not?”

“What was your favorite part of the story? Why?”