Kids love crafts, love glitter, and love butterflies! Making this butterfly craft is an easy afternoon activity that helps kids learn about an amazing creature from the rainforests of the Americas. Learn about the tropical morpho butterfly, and then make your own morpho butterfly craft!
The blue morpho butterfly- named for its resplendent turquoise wings- lives in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. I took the above picture at a nature preserve in Costa Rica. Look at the shimmery wings!
Before starting the craft, children can learn more about the morpho butterfly. This lesson goes well with a unit about the rainforests of Central and South America. When you take out your map, have the kids each trace the equator across the globe. Using their little hands, show them a couple of inches above and below the equator: this is called the tropics (shaded red in the map below). The northern “border” is the Tropic of Cancer, and the southern “border” is the Tropic of Capricorn.
This area of the world has many tropical, wet zones that contain rainforests. Show your children Central and South America and explain that in this region there are many rainforests where the morpho butterflies live.
The morpho butterfly has a 6 inch wide wingspan, with a different pattern on the top side and underside of its wings. When its iridescent blue wings are open, the butterfly uses its shiny scales to blind and scare away predators. Underneath is brown camouflage, with “eye” patterns that allow it to blend into tree bark. In fact, the morpho butterfly spends most of its time on the forest floor and in the lower bushes and trees of the understory with its wings folded.
Morpho butterflies use a proboscis (a long straw-like part of their mouth) to drink fluids from rotting and fermenting fruit. They can taste fruit with sensors on their legs, and they can smell the air for scents with their antennae, which serve as a tongue and nose. Although there are some natural predators (some birds, fish, spiders), the real threat to these amazing butterflies are humans and our destruction of the rainforest.
Materials for Morpho Butterfly Craft
- paper plates
- blue & turquoise tissue paper
- black paint
Have the kids draw a big V and a little v on their paper plates like this (photo on right). Cut on the lines for the outline of your morpho. Next, tear tissue paper into small pieces and glue them on the butterfly. After covering the butterfly in blue, use black paint to draw the body, and add details to the wings. Show children a picture of a real blue morpho butterfly for inspiration.
Mine decided that silver glitter was absolutely necessary, (which is why we moved the craft project outside:) and they also added white paper from our hole puncher after seeing the morphos white dots on the tips of their wings. Have fun making your mariposa morfo!
Becky, this is soooo cool! I’ll show the kids the site tomorrow and am sure that they will be thrilled and become big fans as well.
Thanks Xin:)- and then we can collaborate on some posts from China!
Art Mama says
These are great! There are so many butterfly projects out there, but you took it a step further and made it a science lesson too!
Oh, thank you!:) I love to incorporate global lessons in everything we do! There’s always an opportunity to take it a step further. Thanks for visiting us!
Valerie @ glitteringmuffins.com says
We love Morpho butterflies, those are very pretty 🙂
Us too- so pretty! I love their iridescent wings:).
🙂 The blue is so striking. I remember seeings this on my blog. I’ll do a full feature this time.
Oh, thank you!:) My girls really love butterflies.
Shaunna (@Shaunna_FFL) says
I’m so glad you linked this to Discover and Explore, too. My daughter adored the blue morpho butterflies when we were learning about South America. We’ll have to include this craft when we make our next “visit.”
Jennifer Lozano (BookNook Center) says
I was researching a craft for our South American session in my World Passport reading program and found your post. Just want to say THANKS!! The children adored the project. I will post my butterflies soon on my blog. http://www.booknookcenter.com/turning-pages . We read We’re Roaming in the Rainforest Written By: Laurie Krebs A perfect match! (and they had the Morpho Butterfly in the story =)
This makes me so happy! 🙂 Send me the link on your blog when it is up and I will share it!!!! Also I want to add that book recommendation!