Bugs: ‘Smoosh Art’ Butterflies

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Whenever we see butterflies outside, Madeline always excitedly points them out. We also love to visit the butterfly garden at the Boston Museum of Science, so I wanted to incorporate these fascinating insects by doing a process oriented craft that also teaches symmetry.Craft/Activity/Snack: Smoosh Paint Butterfly
Objective: To learn about symmetry by creating a butterfly using a smoosh painting technique
Skills Utilized: Following directions, pouring, color recognition, critical thinking
Suggested Reading: Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horacek
Materials:  any color paint (we stuck to 3 for each butterfly), any color paper (for the background), small cups that your child can easily hold, black paper cut into butterfly body/antennae

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Before jumping into our project, we did some research on butterflies. We studied this chart and learned the parts of a butterfly. We also learned what symmetry (for my daughter and her almost-2-years-old friend, I just explained and showed them that it means they look exactly the same!) means and that butterflies wings are almost always symmetrical (I learned that it is because cells on both wings have the same genetic code!)

To start, I put the paint into the cups and told Maddy to pour the paint on this half of the paper. She followed these instructions very well! Her little friend did, too. I was impressed by how methodical they both were.

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Once your little one is pleased with the location and amount of paint on their paper, tell them to carefully fold their paper in half (I had pre-folded their paper prior to painting).

Now get smoothing! I explained to smoosh and pat down on the paper.

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 6.25.22 PMSlowly pull apart and be amazed at the symmetry!

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Can you tell she was super excited with the results?!


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Maddy loved it so much she decided her butterfly needed some extra paint. She poured more on and refolded the paper. The end results are quite beautiful! I glued the body on the center to complete the butterfly look.

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Maddys butterfly


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Her friends butterfly

Ways to Expand Upon this Activity: 

  1. Go to a butterfly garden!
  2. Use squeeze bottles for the paint instead of small cups.
  3.  Plant lavender, oregano, marigolds or other plants that attract butterflies.Illustrated Avatar Amanda

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