Fun ways to learn about minibeast life cycles

Spring is a great time of year to learn about minibeasts and their life cycles. Minibeasts are fascinating creatures you’ve probably seen in the garden, parks and maybe even indoors! Minibeasts have incredible life cycles, sometimes transforming completely between stages.

What are minibeasts?

Minibeasts are basically small invertebrate ( without a backbone ) animals. Examples of minibeasts are spiders, slugs, beetles, butterflies, earwigs and lots more. Did you know that Britain has over 25,000 species of known invertebrates?

Properties of invertebrate animals

As invertebrates don’t have a skeleton,, they are usually soft and bend easily, which makes them quite vulnerable. Some species have a shell to live in, like a snail or a harder outer skeleton ( exoskeleton ) that protects their soft body.

Why are Minibeasts useful?

Some Minibeasts are decomposers. They feed on dead leaves and other waste matter, releasing nutrients into the soil that plants can easily absorb.

Bees, Butterflies and Moths spread pollen, which fertilises flowers.

Minibeasts are an important part of the food chain and are eaten by birds and other small mammals.

Minibeast Life Cycles

Butterfly Life Cycle

What is Metamorphosis?

Did you know that Butterflies and Moths have four separate stages to their life cycle, each of which looks very different and has a different purpose? Between stages, there is a distinct change in the animal’s body structure, which we call metamorphosis.

The egg

The egg is tiny and round; the female Butterfly attaches it to a leaf or stem on or near food.


The Caterpillar, also known as a larva, looks a bit like a small worm and often has stripes and spine-like hairs. Caterpillars grow very quickly, shedding their skin several times along the way.

The Chrysalis

The Chrysalis or Pupa is the stage where the caterpillar structure is broken down and the adult Butterfly or Moth structure is formed.

Butterfly or Moth

This is the adult stage, Butterflies are much more mobile than caterpillars and also mate and lay eggs.

Minibeast Life Cycle Activities

Make your own Butterfly Spin Wheel

We made a spin wheel to illustrate the life cycle. You can either make your own by following the instructions below or use my handy template.


Two circles of cardboard, one smaller than the other

Split Pin

Felt tips


Cut a window into your smaller circle.

Draw the life cycle on the larger circle.

Attach together with a split pin.

Minibeasts and their life cycles

Butterfly Life Cycle

Buggy and Buddy have a gorgeous paper plate butterfly life cycle.

We love this pasta butterfly lifecycle from Mama Miss as well.

Remember, I have a fun edible butterfly life cycle activity, too! Fruit, vegetables and even candy are all great ideas for each stage.

Ant Life Cycle

This ant life cycle craft is just lovely from Stir the Wonder.

Easy Bug House

Did you know you can make an easy bug house using just an empty drink bottle and some sticks? This one from Red Ted Art looks great.

Homemade Wormery

A homemade wormery is a great way to learn about worms. As the worms move around you’ll see the soil and sand layers get mixed up.

Frog Life Cycle

Use my handy template to create your own frog life cycle spinner.

Don’t forget to take a look at my other spring science ideas.

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Emma Vanstone

The post Fun ways to learn about minibeast life cycles appeared first on Science Experiments for Kids.

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