Junior Rangers: Butterflies and Moths

Welcome to our second Nature Blog. Parks are open and teaming with life so I want to take you with me on an interactive exploration of the natural world. I will be visiting Huron Natural Area in this post filled with fun facts, activities and craft ideas. So let’s get started. 

The day and night skies are filled with the flutter of wings from our native moths and butterflies. All through the spring, summer and fall there is colour and movement as eggs are laid, caterpillars munch through leaves, grasses and plants, then pupate to become moths or butterflies.

Have fun this summer and when you are out exploring nature look for caterpillars and moths or butterflies and count how many different kinds you can find.

Life Cycle

It all starts with an egg that hatches into a small caterpillar, which grows until it makes a chrysalis or cocoon and begins the transformation.

Fun Facts on Butterflies and Moths

  • Butterflies taste with their feet
  • Butterflies and moths live from a week to over a year
  • The Mourning Cloak Butterfly lives over a year and does not migrate
  • There are over 5000 species of moths and 302 of butterflies in Canada
  • The largest moth and caterpillar is called a Cecropia
  • Some caterpillars like the Spiny Oakworm caterpillars have hollow spines that contain a small amount of poison to save them from being eaten. Do not touch them or they can sting.
  • Monarch caterpillars warn predators to stay away with their yellow, white and green stripes. They feed on milkweed which is poisonous to other insects and creatures.
  • Moths come in many sizes and shapes and look like hummingbirds, bees, wasps and flowers. Below is a photo of the Clearwing Hummingbird moth.

Moth vs Butterfly Identification

What kind of butterflies and moths did you see on your walk? Compare them to the pictures on this activity sheet from Royal Botanical Gardens and see if you can figure out which ones are moths or butterflies.

Pop-Up Butterfly Craft

Take a walk and look for all the amazing colours and patterns of butterflies and moths in your neighbourhood. Then gather some markers, crayons a cup and craft stick to make this fun pop-up butterfly craft. You can find the instructions on the Kindergarten Worksheets and Games website.

image credit: Kindergarten Worksheets and Games

Billie’s Book Picks

The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs: Discover Amazing Butterflies, Moths, Spiders, Dragonflies, and Other Insects! by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

Never before has it been so much fun to go exploring in our backyards and parks. The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs has amazing photos and even more amazing facts and details about the lives of bugs that share our natural world. Once you know where to look you will be amazed at what you can discover. Request it from the library.

Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars by Margerty Facklam

This beautifully illustrated book takes us through the amazing journey of a caterpillars life. From egg to caterpillar, then cocoon or chrysalis and, lastly, emerging as a moth or butterfly. The use of large illustrations with bursts of fascinating facts will keep you turning the pages. Take this book home today!

Your Turn

I would love to hear what you find on your nature walks.! Let me know in the comments below, and email your photos to childkpl@kpl.org to display your creations.

Tween Scene: Time to Relax

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well. What are some activities you like to do to relax? Some hobbies I do in my free time are baking, reading, and going on long walks. Today we are going to make two fun projects that you can use to help you de-stress: DIY stress balls and bath bombs.

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Tween Scene: DIY Destroy It Journal

Let’s get wrecking! Do you like art? Do you like being creative? Do you sometimes just want to rip up some paper? Then this is the journal for you! I really like the idea of having a journal but I never seem to be able to keep with it, or I end up doodling in it instead or writing out to do lists. The great thing about creating your own Destroy It Journal is you can make it the perfect journal for YOU! 

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Early Years: Fine Motor Play

Fine motor skills is the coordination between your child’s small muscles — like their hands and fingers — and their eyes. Fine motor skills are what your child will need to do such functions as writing, picking up small objects, fastening buttons, pulling zippers and turning the pages of a book. Practice these fine motor skills with your child by reading the books and playing the games like the ones in this post.

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Tween Scene: Marble Magnets

Hello Tweens! Today we are going to share a craft with you that is so easy, just about anyone can do it. We are going to make marble magnets!!! These are incredibly simple little magnets that you can customize to have whatever image you want on them. They are cheap, cheap, cheap to make, and you can get your supplies from the dollar store.  I’ve made these magnets with lots of kids over the years, and they are always a big hit! Here we go!

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DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • A few drops of food colouring

Instructions

  1. Mix up the cornstarch and water in a container with a lid until it’s a smooth, milky liquid. (Grownups: you can add more or less water depending on what consistency you prefer, but 1:1 is a very good ratio).
  2. If you want to make lots of different coloured paints, divide up the mixture into a muffin tin or other containers. 
  3. Add the food colouring, and mix well.
  4. Paint your sidewalk!

*NOTE: Maybe you’ll remember that these are the same ingredients used in oobleck, which Karen B wrote about in May. If you’re done playing with your oobleck, just add more water and stir until it has the right consistency, and you can paint away!

Let’s Paint

You can paint any outdoor surface with this. This chalk paint dries very bright and white in the sun, so if you want the colours to really pop, be sure to use extra food colouring. You can use larger brushes to paint a hopscotch, or smaller brushes to paint finely-detailed pictures. It all washes away in the rain eventually with no harm to the environment, so make sure you take pictures of your masterpieces!

Billie’s Book Picks

Sidewalk Chalk by Jamie Kyle McGillian

image credit: KPL Encore

This book is chalk-full (I’m so sorry!) of ideas you can do with chalk! With lots of games you can play and art ideas to inspire, this book is sure to up your sidewalk chalk game. Request it from the library catalogue.

Chalk by Bill Thomson

image credit: KPL encore

After a fun day outside, it’s nice to curl up with your grownups to read together. This wordless picture book tells the story of three young children who find a bag of sidewalk chalk and let their imaginations run free. Make up the words to this story together, or just admire the beautiful pictures and be inspired for your next day of sidewalk chalking! Request it from the library catalogue.

Your Turn

Show me your art! Did you draw a silly path on the sidewalk for your neighbours to follow on their walks? Did you paint a mural of a T-Rex being chased by a chicken? Did you play some good ol’ hopscotch? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to send pictures to childkpl@kpl.org.


POST WRITTEN BY HANNAH V., CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMER

Tween Scene: Track and Field Day

image credit: pixabay.com

Summer is here and this year especially it’s important to get outside! We still need to be careful, but there’s lots you can do to stay active and have fun on your own or with your family, such as a track and field event like a heptathlon! If you don’t have a yard, take advantage of the parks and green spaces throughout Kitchener — just make sure you can keep a safe distance from others. Challenge your friends and compare your results! 

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