How can an art project underscore the importance of finding balance in our lives? Yes, there are a lot of butterfly projects out there. I hope this one, combined with a great book, will supply a little more TV-free discussion than normal. Butterflies are an excellent example of symmetry found in nature. Look at pictures of actual butterflies. Then talk about the words below.
- Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
- Symmetry: similarity or exact correspondence between different things
When working on the art project, ask kids to think about what happens in our lives when things feel out of balance.
Butterfly Balance Art Project
For the project, you will need:
- Art paper made for painting
- Acrylic paint (don’t you love it when the list is so short?)
Step 1: Fold a piece of paper in half (we used art paper able to handle a lot of paint). Free-hand a butterfly or use my template below. And of course, have the center of the butterfly on the fold…yes I put these ridiculous directions in because I did this incorrectly myself when in a hurry once…hate to admit that.
Step 2: Unfold the butterfly and squirt paint on only one half of the butterfly. Show your kids how one cut on a paper folded exactly in half can create symmetry. Then squirt paint on only one side of the butterfly. You don’t need to cover the wing in color, it will get covered in a minute.
Step 3: Gently smooth the butterfly (starting in the middle) out toward the wing tips. Be sure to smooth over the entire butterfly to get maximum paint spread. This will also remove excess paint. Careful. This is pretty messy if your kids are exuberant with the paint.
Step 4: Open the butterfly and examine it. Is there symmetry? Are there some parts that are not completely perfect?
Now, how does that balance relate to your life? Is my butterfly different from yours? Perhaps this could represent what is “normal” for you is different than “normal” for me and my butterfly.
In your own life, are things harder when your feelings feel too heavy? Read the book below and talk about ways that families can work together to keep each other balanced.
Book recommendation to go with this activity: Whispering Wings by Jayne Peters (Puddle Duck Publishing 2013).
Nick’s life is out of balance as he recovers from an accident. One morning when he wakes, he discovers five caterpillars on his window. They crawl in his pocket and throughout the day they change to butterflies that seem to whisper words of encouragement when his family needs them most. Though he is having trouble walking Nick’s abilities a discussed with dignity throughout. The story is a great read aloud for families with small children and a good way to introduce some of the key concepts of the Virtues Project, a UN recognized program to encourage peace and mindfulness (dare I say balance and symmetry) in life.
The last butterfly has a final word for Nick. As he works to walk and run again, despite being slightly off balance, he wobbles forward with a little Determination.
Ms. Peters is a teacher and has learning projects to go along with her text on her website: http://www.jaynepeters.com/. The story is more of a learning text than most books, but it is a lovely picture book which supports the Virtues Project.