Toddler Activities: Colorful Butterflies to Welcome Spring


Here is a simple toddler activity that will create one of a kind butterflies. A great introductory activity to a unit on Spring or butterflies.
Coffee Filter Butterflies


  • Coffee filters
  • Water Color Paints and brush

  • Spray bottle with water

  • Clothespin

  • Wiggly eyes

  • 5" pipe cleaner per butterfly

  • Acrylic paint/brush

  • Elmer's or Craft Glue such as Aleenes (recommended)

Other Materials

  • Newspaper
  • Paper Towels
  • Scissors
  • Small magnet or Fishing line to hang (optional)
  • Small plastic tub for water to rinse brush


  • Cover your work area with newspaper. Place a couple paper towels on newspaper. Flatten a coffee filter on a paper towel.
  • Spritz coffee filter with water lightly.
  • Paint with watercolors.
  • Let dry on paper towels.
  • Paint the clothespin with acrylic paint and when dry, glue on the wiggly eyes.
  • When the coffee filters are dry, fold accordion style about a half inch each fold. Smaller folds add more detail but are harder for younger children.
  • Pinch the filter in the middle and insert into the clothes pin. We put it in the small space created by the curve of the clip. Fan out the wings gently.
  • Bend the pipe cleaner in half and curl the ends.
  • Insert into clip opening and release pin to hold in place.
  • Glue on magnet with craft glue or tie with fishing line to hang.

Other Ideas

Simple Butterflies

Color the filters as suggested above, let dry, and accordion fold. Cut one pipe cleaner in half. Bend in half and center the folded filter. Twist and bend at tip to form the antennas.

Tips and Suggestions

We used tube water colors which allowed for bright colors and controlled selection of colors.

Educational Note

Butterflies are insects. They have an unusual life cycle with a larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage, and then the beautiful metamorphosis into the colorful winged adult form called a butterfly. Butterflies are usually active during the day and rest at night when it's cold. Butterflies identify other butterflies by their colors.