Kids learn about butterflies through arts and crafts

Bethany Braun colored her butterfly with her personal choice of colors Saturday at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum’s Butterfly Bonanza workshop.

HARLINGEN — The butterflies shimmered into view, vibrant color spreading across their wings.

They swept from the blank white paper of people like Evan Polanco who’d busied himself giving life to the butterflies with colorful markers, adorning his picture with magenta and aqua blue.

“ I created it,” said Evan, 8, one of about 20 children Saturday participating in the “Butterfly Bonanza” at the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum. It was the second of four Saturdays committed to giving children a summer activity.

“ It’s something during the break to keep them occupied with something that’s both educational and artistic,” said Christian Johnston, activity coordinator.

The program began last Saturday with a focus on conservation.

“ We made seed bombs with native plants that are good for both caterpillars and butterflies,” Johnston said. “We did dill, we did milkweed, we did lavender, parsley.”

Evan’s mother, Kara, seemed to enjoy making the seed bombs as much as he and his four-year-old sister.

“ We used paper mache that was died and we put it in a blender and made it really fine,” said Kara Polanco. “We added seeds and squished out all the water and it was fun.”

She and her kids took some home and planted them and they’re looking forward to the result.

“ Hopefully they’ll sprout and we’ll have butterflies in our yard at home,” she said.

Evan echoed the same sentiment.

“ I hope the worms eat it and they’ll turn into butterflies,” he said.

Johnston explained the plants were those that serve as host plants for butterflies to lay their eggs. Caterpillars hatch from those eggs and eat the host plants before spinning a chrysalis.

There, they remain for a time before emerging from the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly.

“ The turnout is better than I was expecting,” Johnston said. “I had to add more tables.”

She said this is the third year she’s held a program in both the summer and winter.

“ Each year we do a different theme,” she said. “Last year we did different types of art. The year before that we did more of a crafts style where they did weaving as well as dream catchers. So each year it’s something different so they can get the hands-on experience.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Butterfly Bonanza – a children’s summer workshop open to the public with no registration required

WHERE: Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum, 2425 Boxwood Street

WHEN: June 22 and 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

MORE: on June 22, children will create their own mosaic butterfly. On June 29, the workshop is promised to be enjoyable for all attendees. One July 6, the Butterfly Bonanza Art Exhibit reception will be held where the children’s summer artwork will be on display for public viewing.

twhitehead@valleystar.com