Life Cycle of A Butterfly

Join our education specialist Megan in exploring the life cycle of a butterfly!

Butterflies have four life stages, the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. We will explore each of these stages with movement and storytelling. If you’d like to try this at home by yourself, follow along in the video or read the script below out loud to your children.

Lets begin with the first stage. The egg. Begin by making a small egg-like shape. The egg stage usually lasts 3-7 days.

The next stage is the larva (caterpillar). A small caterpillar hatches from its egg and eats its shell. The caterpillar will spend about 2-5 weeks in this phase and needs to eat a lot before it turns into the next stage. How can you eat, grow and move like a caterpillar?

After the caterpillar has eaten and grown it is ready to move into its next life stage, pupa (chrysalis). In this stage, the caterpillar attaches to a branch and then spins a string of silk around its body to attach to hold the chrysalis in place. Make your tight standing chrysalis shape. Most butterflies will stay in the chrysalis for 1-2 weeks.

Lastly, when the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis its wings are crumpled. At first the butterfly will hang with its wings down and will begin pumping the wings to straighten them out. Let’s practice hanging your wings and pumping them. Beginning with small pumps and growing into bigger ones. Once the wings harden and dry the butterfly can fly away. Let’s fly!


Feel free to share these videos, embed them for your students, or link to this page. New online educational resources are being developed every day. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see let us know: rdt@rdtutah.org.

Megan O’Brien is dancer/artist born in Salt Lake City, Utah. At a young age, she fell in love with movement and performance when she created impromptu shows to classic rock songs for her mom and dad. For 15 years Megan extensively trained at The Winner School in many different styles of dance. She continued her training at the University of Utah School of Dance on full scholarship and graduated in 2017 with a BFA in Modern Dance. Throughout her training Megan has had the privilege to learn from and work with Danielle Agami (Ate9 Dance), LajaMartin, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Company 605 (Vancouver), The Penguin Lady, and the Staatliche Ballettschule School located in Berlin, Germany. She has performed in works by LajaMartin, Michio Ito, Bill Evans, Lesley Telford, Stephen Koester, Nick Blaylock, and Sharee Lane. She is compelled to share her art and passion with the community through independent choreographic projects and through nurturing the growth of young artists by teaching at many local schools (K-12) and dance studios in Utah. This is her second season working with Repertory Dance Theatre.