butterfly life cycle craft

Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art

This Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art activity is the perfect way to add in some learning while kids enjoy some art and craft fun. Made using old cardboard tubes/ toilet paper roll tubes that are cut and glued in place and then decorated with either sensory items such as colored rice or painted. Included is a free butterfly life cycle printable that you can print out and color. This sensory puzzle/ art is great learning fun for kids of all ages!

Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art

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Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art

After making our Cardboard Tube Fish Art I knew that we would have to do more art/ sensory puzzles using the same method. Not only are they simple to put together and put to good use our saved up toilet paper rolls and cardboard tubes but our girls LOVED it! This cardboard tube butterfly life cycle sensory art had the same level of love from our girls!

Miss 6 spent plenty of time drawing a cute little face on her caterpillar, then covering it with colored rice, and then moving the rice around to reveal the face. She spent lots of time, in general, mixing the rice colors up and enjoyed coloring in the butterfly life cycle printable. Miss 9 decided that she would color and then cut her life cycle printable out to label her sensory art project. This is a great option if you are wanting to save on ink rather than printing out both sheets. Of course, you can skip the printing entirely and just talk about the butterfly life cycle or do some internet research on butterflies and see what new and interesting information you can find.

After making this butterfly life cycle sensory puzzle we read, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This book is a firm favorite in our family and tells the story of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in butterflies.

If you are interested in learning more about butterflies the Florida Museum is a great website to visit. There you can find out lots of interesting information such as the difference between a cocoon, chrysalis, and pupa!

Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art

Materials Needed

These are the materials we used, you may decide to use some slightly different items, particularly to fill your sensory puzzle with. There is no wrong here, even using paint to decorate each section would look lovely. Some prefer to use a hot glue gun for gluing down the cardboard tubes.

  • Toilet paper rolls/ Cardboard tubes
  • A flat piece of cardboard. We used the sides of a cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • The free printable
  • Sharpie pens or similar
  • Colored rice (rice and food coloring)
  • Tissue paper in a selection of colors
  • Mini pom-poms
  • Pumpkin seeds or similar or stick with rice (a good opportunity to give your pantry a cleanout)


Click the link below the images to print or to download this printable bundle for later use. You can select what page to print under your printer settings. Use the Butterfly Life Cycle coloring page as a great way to explain the life cycle of a butterfly. The words can be cut and added to the sensory art puzzle.

Let’s Get Creating

The Base

Start by making the base for the kids to decorate (older kids can help with this stage). Cut the toilet paper rolls, cardboard tubes into thin strips. These don’t have to all be exactly the same and don’t worry if they get squished closed as you can open them back up! You will need 5 pieces for the butterfly, 1 each for the leaf and chrysalis, and as many as you like for the caterpillar but we used 6.

Get your flat piece of cardboard and place the cut toilet paper rolls/ cardboard tubes where you would like them to go. Move around until you are happy with the layout and then glue. To glue, life up each cut section and apply a thin layer of craft glue to the bottom and then press gently down where you would like it to stick. Once each section has been glued leave it to dry.


While the base is drying prep the other materials. To make the colored rice, place rice into separate bowls and add a couple of drops of food coloring into each bowl. Stir until all of the rice is colored.

Cut the tissue paper into small squares and place it into a container. Put the pumpkin seeds into a small bowl. Print out the printables.

Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art


Using a Sharpie pen draw on all of the extra details. For younger children add the extra details for them. We added arrows, legs to the caterpillar, as well as some small leaf, chrysalis, and butterfly details. Miss 9 decided to use her coloring printable for the arrows so this is an option also.

Decided what material you would like to add where. I used tissue paper for the butterfly, pumpkin seeds for the chrysalis, colored rice for the caterpillar, and pom-poms as the seeds on the leaf. The girls did theirs differently and I was surprised to see that they both didn’t bother with the pom-poms. Miss 9 was very precise with what was going where while Miss 6 had a blast adding the rice and taking it out and mixing it all about! The key here is to have fun!!

Once it has all been decorated you can add on the names. There is a printable just with the names or you can do as Miss 9 did (the more fun way) and use the coloring printable to label your sensory art.

Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art

Other Fun Recycled Crafts

Love using recycled matierials for crafting? Us too! Check out some of these other fun recycled material crafts

Thank you for stopping by. We hope you enjoyed making this Cardboard Tube Butterfly Life Cycle Sensory Art today!

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