Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story. If young readers find it tricky; just look at the pictures and read the captions to figure it out.
Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.
- What kind of butterflies have you seen before? How do you feel when you see a butterfly? What do you like or not like about them?
- Were you aware that New Zealand has about twenty species of butterfly? Why do you think a lot of people think we have only monarchs and cabbage white butterflies?
- What do you think a manicured lawn looks like? Why might a manicured lawn be the enemy of butterflies? In the butterfly “sanctuary” of Jacqui Knight’s Russell home, the writer describes swan plants and stinging nettles, nectar-bearing flowers and shade houses. To what extent is it realistic for other people to create this sort of butterfly sanctuary?
- Do you think it’s surprising that butterflies sometimes get blown all the way from one country to another? What would their journey be like? Can you think of any other ways a butterfly could accidentally “move countries?”
- Do you think we might be able to attract butterflies back to more parts of New Zealand one day? Why or why not?
Explore symmetry with a butterfly print.
- From the centre fold, draw half a butterfly.
- Cut it out.
- Open the folded butterfly out flat.
- Paint one half of the butterfly. (Paint thickly so it doesn’t dry too fast.)
- Carefully fold the paper over and press the halves together.
- Unfold to reveal a full, symmetrical butterfly.
In the garden
Have a look for sunny spots where you could plant more nectar-bearing flowers, let the lawn grow unkempt or plant swan plants. You could make a sign and name it “Butterfly Corner.”