Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert Story Exploration

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I absolutely love Lois Ehlert books and the fact that she is an author from our state as well. I’ve already done one story exploration on her book Circus and today I’m adding another one, Waiting for Wings. 

Waiting for Wings Summary/Discussion

Waiting for Wings Book CoverWaiting for Wings is all about the life cycle of a butterfly. It includes beautiful illustrations of several different butterflies. You could ask your child several questions about the life cycle of the butterfly such as “How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?” and “What do caterpillars eat? Is it the same as what butterflies eat?”


Waiting for Wings is great for learning about butterflies on a basic level. You could examine butterflies or watch some videos about them. There are even kits you can get online where you can buy caterpillars and grow them into caterpillars. Dominic and I had the opportunity to do this – our caterpillars are growing now! We ordered our caterpillars from Insect Lore. The first picture is of our chrysalides and the second one is of after they hatched.

Caterpillar growth into butterflies

Waiting for Wings - Butterfly Release!

Here are some videos you could show your kids more about butterflies.


For this book, I chose to focus on the concept of symmetry. Most butterflies are symmetrical and so, I thought this was a good time to introduce this concept. Symmetry is where an object has two equal sides. To explore this concept, we first looked at the book to see examples of symmetry. Then we looked for examples of symmetry around our house – they’re everywhere if you’re looking. Third, we took some toys we had around the house and made some symmetrical patterns with them. I put a line of tape on the table to help us visualize the symmetry.

Symmetry practice


For art, we made tissue paper butterflies. I remember tissue paper art fondly from my childhood. This is how we made ours. You will need tissue paper, black construction paper, and contact paper.

Take a sheet of black paper and cut out two B’s of the same size. Putting the B’s back to back, make a butterfly shape. Cut out a square of contact paper large enough to fit this butterfly shape. Peel off backing and put the butterfly shape on the sticky side. Cut or tear tissue paper and put on top of the contact paper, inside the butterfly shape. Once filled up enough to your liking, cut another square of contact paper. Place contact paper on top of the butterfly, sealing the paper in between the two pieces of contact paper. Trim contact paper around the edges. Hang on window if desired. 🙂

Butterfly Art Collage

We also colored some butterfly and caterpillar coloring pages. These are from the coloring book, I Can Color Everything, which my sister got for Dominic’s birthday, but if you google butterfly coloring pages you’ll also find plenty.

Butterfly Coloring Pages from I Can Color Everything coloring book


For music, we sang “Five Little Butterflies” and pretended to fly away.

We also sang the kid’s praise song, “If I Were a Butterfly.” I included the video in case you weren’t familiar with it.

I also stumbled Waiting for Wings set to music and animated. That’s pretty cool eh? They took a few liberties with it, but otherwise, it’s pretty true to the text of the story.


I created this fun butterfly snack for the kids to eat. I took a piece of bread and cut it into a butterfly shape, then I spread both pieces with jam and arranged the jellybeans. Notice the symmetry – we talked about symmetry here too before we ate it.

Butterfly snack

We also drank from our cups with straws, mimicking the proboscis.

Drinking from a straw like a proboscis

Bible Illustration

The butterfly is a great example to use to kids to talk about life after death. Dominic and I were able to have a conversation – about how, when the butterfly is in the chrysalis, it looks dead, it’s not moving or anything like that, but one day the butterfly emerges. There is new life there. Just like us too, when we die, to the world, we will seem dead, but we are alive and we will be raised from the dead.

Field Trip

This would be a great time to visit a butterfly garden if you have one nearby. We are very fortunate to have a butterfly vivarium at our Milwaukee Public Museum and the four of us took a trip there to see the butterflies (and all the other cool things they offer). (Look closely and see if you can see butterfly on my head!)

Milwaukee Public Museum Butterflies

Gross Motor/Movement Fun 

Ever do butterfly stretches when you were a kid? Well, I thought that would be fun to do with the kids. So I taught them how to do butterfly stretches. We also flew around flapping our arms, pretending to be butterflies.

Butterfly stretching exercise


Movie/TV Options

  • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories” – Tells the familiar Eric Carle story – available on Netflix
  • In Sid the Science Kid the episode “Seed the Science Kid” they investigate butterfly eggs – this episode is not currently on Netflix
  • In Zoboomafoo the episode “Bzzz” they cover butterflies and other insects – this episode is not currently on Netflix
  • In Wild Kratts season 1 episode 9 is “Voyage of the Butterflier” but this does not match up with the season 1 episode 9 that is available on Netflix and I could not find it on Netflix
  • The Cat in the Hat Season 1 Episode 28 “Flutter by Butterfly” – available on Netflix
  • The Magic School Bus Season 2 Episode 3 “The Butterfly and the Bog Beast” – available on Netflix
  • Guess with Jess – Season 1 Episode 2 “What’s Happened to Chloe the Caterpillar?” – available on Netflix

Which one of these activities would your kids most enjoy? Have you ever read Waiting for Wings? 


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