Butterfly Gardens at Shissler Recreation Center 8/3/17

The preschoolers at Shissler Recreation Center made their own butterfly gardens! The students started by their gardens with pencils and colored pencils, and then painted them with watercolors.


We made the butterflies using coffee filters and clothespins. We used two coffee filters per butterfly to make them a bit thicker. The students painted these with watercolors too and played with them when they were done!

Lesson Plan: Butterfly Gardens

  • Thick paper (to hold watercolor paint)
  • Pencils
  • Watercolors Paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper towels or napkins
  • Cups (for water)
  • Coffee filters
  • Clothespins
  • A Sharpie
Step #1: Prepare the Butterflies

Use two stacked coffee filters for each butterfly; fold the coffee filters back and forth like a fan, and then clip the middle with a clothespin. Spread the coffee filters out on either side of the clothespin to form wings.

Step #2: Draw a Garden

Show an example of a finished watercolor painting of a garden to the class. If you like, you can use this step to teach the class about famous artists who have painted gardens as inspiration for the students. Pass one piece of paper out to each student and have them write their name on the back. Have the students sketch their ideas for their garden on paper, and tell them they will fill in the shapes they draw with watercolors.

Step #3: Paint a Garden

Pass out paint brushes to each students, and spread watercolor paints and cups with water colors across the table for students to share. Paint your gardens! When students are done painting, move their papers to a different table to dry.

Step #4: Make your Butterflies

Pass out a pre-made butterfly to each student. Have them write their name with sharpie on the clothespin of their butterfly (if students don’t know how to write their names, do this step ahead of time). Have the students paint their butterflies with watercolors. When finished move the butterflies to a different table to dry, wait, and play!