*This post was written as a review for Sonlight in exchange for compensation. Everything you read in this article is based on my personal experience with using their butterfly unit study and is 100% truthful. If you’d like to read my full disclosure, you can find it HERE.

Sonlight Butterly Unit Study

This simple butterfly unit study is designed to be used over the course of 4 weeks and is geared toward children ages 7-12.

It includes a handful of literature books, simple craft supplies, and other important resources needed to complete the unit.


Simple Butterfly Unit for Kids

While this unit is designed to be used with a 4-day school week and is expected to finish up at the 4-week mark, we used ours in combination with our 3-day school week stretching it out just a bit longer.

With that said, this unit was very flexible to use and incredibly easy to adapt to our personal homeschool schedule.

Our Nature-Loving Family

As a curriculum junkie and a nature lover, the idea of raising butterflies with my youngest using a simple unit study was so thrilling to me, you guys!

Our family has always been one with nature — from moving to the Pacific Northwest for hiking and camping adventures to traveling the US in our RV.

So, to say we love nature, outdoor adventures, and wildlife would definitely be an understatement.

Encouraging Children to Explore Nature

A butterfly my daughter observed in nature while working through our unit.

With that said, my 10-year-old daughter has always been the bug-catching, creature lover of the family, and this butterfly project was right up her alley!

Beginning the Butterfly Unit

My daughter was beyond excited for this one, you guys!

Being practically raised at the Kansas City Zoo she was blessed with a wonderful group of adults from the children’s education department that taught her how to love, care for, and appreciate all creatures.

Including some pretty amazing individuals that specifically worked with raising and releasing monarch butterflies!

Unfortunately, monarchs weren’t a good fit for our current region so we chose to raise and release painted lady butterflies for this unit study instead.

With that said, living in a tiny home on wheels sometimes means we don’t get to participate in some of the things a stationary family might do.

Like raising butterflies for example.

Thankfully, after traveling for 6 straight months, we are finally stationary for the summer — making it the perfect time to work through this 4-week study.

Butterfly Unit Breakdown

This butterfly unit study is a straightforward 4-week study and it took me no time at all to dig through this curriculum.

There are so many fun activities included in this one, you guys!

Plus, it truly is the perfect addition to any curriculum lineup when you find yourself homeschooling over the summer.

  • Instructor’s Guide

The instructor’s guide for this butterfly unit is incredibly simple and easy to use!

It includes a quick review of the butterfly life cycle for educators & an explanation of everything from how to use the activity sheets to when to order your larvae.

Lessons are simple and precise, focusing on important-to-know facts & vocabulary with a majority of the learning happening through hands-on fun.

From observing the butterflies in their habitat & reading literature to making crafts & activities that reinforce what children have learned.

Instructors Guide for Butterfly Unit Study

While this unit study is designed to be used with a 3-ring binder, it was incredibly easy to incorporate into our homeschool folder system instead!

This instructor’s guide includes both answer keys & important activity extras — including a 10 common butterflies chart that my daughter is obsessed with!

We still have this chart posted on our fridge and my 10-year-old has been identifying butterflies she sees all season long!

  • Activity Sheets

The activity sheets are included as a part of the instructor’s guide and cover all the butterfly basics your child needs to know.

They are not overly complex and simply help to reinforce what children are learning throughout this unit and are used alongside the Caterpillars and Butterflies book.

Butterfly Worksheets for Kids

My daughter isn’t a huge fan of writing or mundane sit-down work and she actually didn’t mind these worksheets at all!

She had fun using them alongside the Caterpillars and Butterflies book and I absolutely loved how they bring the current lesson together in a simplistic way while giving children a chance to practice handwriting and copy work skills!

  • Literature

While this unit is on the smaller side, it still includes some great literature — which is something I always appreciate in a curriculum!

This butterfly unit includes 3 butterfly-themed literature titles that tie in perfectly with the activity sheets, crafts, & lessons.

Caterpillars and Butterflies

First, I just want to say, this is an Usborne title so we already knew it was going to be good.

With that said, Caterpillars and Butterflies is the first book utilized in this unit and it’s incredibly simple, informative, and filled with lots of fun graphics to give children a visual aid as they are learning.

My daughter enjoyed reading this one on her own in combination with the activity sheets included in the instructor’s guide.

Plus, it is a wonderful tool for every homeschool library!

I plan to keep this title on hand for future use as a simple refresher of the butterfly lifecycle.

Literature Books for Kids

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

This quirky title follows young Velma (the youngest of 3 daughters) as she finds a way to step out from behind her big sisters’ shadows and become her own person with the help of a way cool butterfly.

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly is a light and fun read that my daughter thoroughly enjoyed.

Butterflies for Kiri

Butterflies for Kiri is a simple read that follows a crafty girl (Kiri) who receives origami supplies for her birthday but struggles to make a paper butterfly.

With a little perseverance, she finally creates a beautiful butterfly out of paper.

I love that this title includes instructions for kids to make their own origami butterfly — which of course is a fun activity we got to try with this butterfly unit!

*NOTE: The instructor’s guide does include simple discussion questions for Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly & Butterflies for Kiri to reinforce reading comprehension.

While both the books and the questions are simple, I was impressed that these were even included.

They definitely aren’t necessary, but are a wonderful added bonus to this curriculum.

  • Activities & Crafts

The activities and crafts in this unit were so much fun, you guys!

As a mom that tends to skip the overly complicated messy crafts & activities, I was beyond pleased with these.

While all the main craft supplies are included in this unit study, there are some snack options and minor craft supplies that aren’t.

For example, one craft called for a toilet paper roll. 

Butterfly Life Cycle Craft for Kids

This craft was my daughter’s favorite! I absolutely loved it because she created it over the course of 7 lessons — breaking it up into non-time-consuming chunks while reinforcing how the butterfly lifecycle works in a hands-on way!

With that said, most everything is open and go or super low prep and the supplies you do have to collect are pretty darn simple.

Aside from snacks & crafts, kiddos also work on a simplistic lap book throughout the entire study.

Again, this is done in small doable chunks making it quick and never overwhelming!

The approach is so simplistic and something I totally appreciated in this curriculum!

While we loved all the activities, I think it’s safe to say the butterfly-themed snacks were my daughter’s absolute favorite.

I’m not sure she will ever eat a banana without pretzels (caterpillar legs) again, you guys! 

  • Butterfly Supplies

This butterfly unit includes a mesh hamper to be used as a habitat for raising & observing butterflies.

It also includes a small sheet with QR codes & information about where to get your caterpillars.

We chose Nature-Gifts for our caterpillars, and due to our amazing results, I would definitely recommend them!

While I absolutely love that this unit includes a simple habitat option, upgrading to a higher-end habitat with a floor is a great idea if you choose to raise butterflies year after year.

With that said, the simple hamper included definitely gets the job done! You just need to take a few extra precautions to keep your butterfly friends safe and protected on the inside.

Butterfly Habitat

The hamper habitat included helps to cut costs and make this wonderful unit affordable for more families!

We placed ours upside down in a box, lining the bottom with paper towels.

Then, after we had a creative escape artist, we stuffed the corners with wads of toilet paper to keep all of our butterflies safely inside.

Other than our cats constantly trying to make friends with our newly emerged butterflies, this method worked great!

Why We Loved This Butterfly Unit

This was hands down the most exhilarating project we have completed this entire school year!

There was just so much excitement waking up every morning to check on the progress of our caterpillars.

I’m honestly not sure who enjoyed this butterfly unit more, myself, or my 10-year-old daughter.

Not even kidding, you guys!

Raise Your Own Butterflies Butterfly Unit

I was constantly checking on our little ladies and even squealed out loud when I saw our first caterpillar in its chrysalis. My husband jokingly asked if this project was really for our daughter or if it was actually for me.

Pretty sure it was for both of us.

While our caterpillars were doing their thing, my young daughter spent time reading the literature books included in this unit, finished creative crafts, filled out activity sheets, and created a fun lap book project!

It was such a unique experience to be able to work through this unit while our caterpillars were doing all the things we were studying!

With that said, there are so many reasons I loved this butterfly unit!

Of course, watching them grow and change was the coolest part, but these are just a few of the other things that made it pretty awesome!

  • It’s simple and easy to use.
  • This unit has most everything included.
  • Your children will learn to appreciate creatures and nature.
  • It is hands-on educational fun!

I would do this unit over again in a heartbeat, you guys!

 Our Butterly Unit Results

We ordered our painted lady caterpillars through Nature-Gifts in mid-May and received them 9 days later (after a brief delay with USPS).

Thankfully, our caterpillars were alive and well!

A short 8 days later we had our first caterpillar in its chrysalis and soon after the rest followed.

It took a full 12 days for all of our caterpillars (including the late bloomer that took 2 days longer than the rest) to be tucked safely into their chrysalids and it was officially moving (into the habitat) day!

9 days after our first lady went in, she emerged!

Within a few short days, we had 10 fully-formed butterflies.

We observed them, fed them, kept their home clean (these ladies were messy), and attempted to keep our kitties at a safe distance for a few days before finally releasing them at our local wildlife refuge!

We even threw our butterflies a farewell party by serving them some fresh watermelon on release day.

Painted Lady Release Party

One of the fully-grown painted lady butterflies we raised and released using this unit!

This unit was such an adventure and I’m pretty positive raising butterflies is about to become a regular thing when we are stationary over the summer months!

Grab Your Own Butterfly Unit Study

If raising butterflies is your jam, this butterfly unit is a total winner, you guys!

We have thoroughly enjoyed using Sonlight curriculum in our home over the past year and this unit was definitely a great addition to our summer lineup.


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Our butterfly release was such an adventure!

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