1 - The Butterfly Garden - book by Laura Weston. There are lots of great butterfly books out there- some are more technical / educational and some pure art / fiction. This one is so simple but so beautiful. With just a few words on each page that do indeed chronicle the butterfly lifecycle in an abstract way, this lift the flap book features bold black and white prints that lift to reveal bright developing butterflies underneath. It's simple enough for very young toddlers (though the flaps are relatively small and delicate), but doesn't feel babyish, and my almost 5 year old daughter loved it too.
2- Butterfly Garden - You will send in a voucher to claim real butterfly eggs that hatch, develop into caterpillars and chrysalises before emerging as beautiful butterflies that you can observe and then release. My daughter did this at preschool and also got a set as a gift that she loved using at home.
Although you can wait until a convenient time to use the voucher, and although caring for the butterflies is temporary and not very labor intensive at all, you should probably know someone decently well before you give them a living thing as a gift. But these are so educational and so much fun for preschool aged children.
3- Butterfly wings - Always a safe bet if you are concerned about the live butterflies, wings make for hours of imaginative play fun!
4- Butterfly lifecycle models - These are realistic, detailed models of the butterfly in all of the phases of its lifecycle. Some kids really love little figurines, and these are perfect for them (and educational for any kiddo.)
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