Butterflies! At-home activities & more for grade schoolers (part 2)

Here in Oak Park, the Village of Oak Park has proclaimed 2021 as the Year of the Butterfly, and we are learning so much about monarch butterflies and their need for milkweed plants to thrive.

Did you know that the extinction of monarch butterflies ties into climate change? Check out these resources to learn more and stay informed this summer!

Read these books

  • 100 Plants to Feed the Monarch by the Xerces Society (grades 7+): The Xerces Society provides profiles of the plant species that aid in a monarch’s nourishment while discussing the threats that this species faces due to habitat loss and climate change.
  • Greta’s Story by Valentina Camerini (grades 4-9): Learn about the girl from Sweden who went on a strike to make politicians (and the world) focus on climate change. 
  • Monarch Butterflies by Ann Hobbie & Olga Baumert (grades K-4): This book presents rich, detailed information about the monarch’s life cycle, anatomy, and the wonders of their signature migration, as well as how to raise monarchs at home and the cultural significance of monarchs in Day of the Dead celebrations.
  • Weird Weather! Why Does Climate Change? by Laura Ertimo & Mari Ahokoivu (grades 4-9): This book answers children’s tough questions about climate change and offers solutions to help our earth.

Explore these online resources

  • Annual Life Cycle Wheel (grades K+): Keep track of where monarchs are migrating by using this calendar wheel from Journey North!
  • Are the Numbers Up or Down (grades 8+): Read this article by Lepidopterist Kathryn Hokamp, from the Butterfly Pavilion, about the overwintering of monarch butterflies and what is happening to them in California.
  • Climate 101 with Bill Nye (grades 1-8, 4 min., 33 sec.): In this short film, Bill Nye narrates the basics of climate change.
  • JourneyNorth (grades 4+): Monarchs are nearing the northern limits of their breeding grounds. Keep reporting your observations of adult monarchs, eggs, larvae, and milkweed.
  • Monarch Butterflies and Climate Change (grades 7+): A World Wildlife Foundation study assessing the vulnerability of monarch butterflies, specifically in North America.
  • National Geographic Kids Monarch Butterflies (grades 4-8): Get a quick synopsis about monarch butterflies. Included is a map that shows the continents this species is located on.
  • Your Guide to Talking with Kids of All Ages About Climate Change (for caregivers and educators): Talking about climate change with your young one can be overwhelming. Read this article to learn how to best approach the subject with your child, tween, or teen.

Try these activities

  • Middle School Book Group (grades 5-8): Join us on June 24 to discuss My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D Villanueva. We will meet in Scoville Park, discuss the book, have snacks, and relax!
  • Monarch Butterfly Window Display at the Main Library [pictured above] (all ages): Check out a new way to spread the importance of creating habitats for monarch butterflies! Snap a photo of you or your child with the beautiful monarch wings painted on the Main Library windows outside (and inside!) the Children’s Services area. Then share your photo at oppl.org/share and on social media with #YearOfTheButterfly.
  • Monarch Butterfly Activities for Kids and Families (grades K+): Test out any of these fun activities from the Save Our Monarchs Foundation to help spark conversation on rebuilding the population of monarch butterflies!