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Butterfly Feeders

In this activity, students make simple butterfly feeders to encourage butterflies to visit their garden.

Adult butterflies drink nectar to maintain their water balance and energy supplies. This nutrition contributes to their ability to survive, mate and lay eggs. Occasionally, when adult butterflies overfeed themselves, they squirt out liquid spray from their belly.

In a city, butterflies may find it difficult to find appropriate flowers to feed from because there are not as many flowers in the city compared to the wild. 


  • Describe the importance of pollinators in nature.


  • 1 wooden skewer (per student)
    pipe cleaners (pinks, reds, yellows, oranges and blues are the most likely to attract butterflies)
    slice of orange (per student)
    sugar water

Key Questions

  • How can I attract pollinators to my garden? Why do we use an orange and sugar water?

What To Do

  1. Use the pipe cleaners to make a butterfly or flower shape.
  2. Attach the pipe cleaner butterfly or flower to one end of the skewer.
  3. Push an orange slice with a bit of sugar water on the skewer with the end with the pipe cleaner shape.
  4. Place the butterfly feeder in a garden or a flowerpot outside.
  5. Change the orange slice every few days.


  • Observe the butterfly feeders. What animals or insects are they attracting? How many of each species? Plant some plants that attract butterflies for a more consistent butterfly feeder. Make a hummingbird feeder. How do these two feeders differ?

Other Resources

Science World Resources | Full lesson & Other activities | Pollinators
Science World at TELUS World of Science | Search: Sara Stern Gallery
Science World at TELUS World of Science | Ken Spencer Science Park