Winter | Critters: Infants & Toddlers

Migration: Moving South

Summary: Migration is a seasonal movement. Animals often spend their lives moving between homes in the north and south, depending on the season. One critter we see in our garden that participates in this migration is the monarch butterfly! 

Before Visiting the Garden: 

In the Garden: 

Butterflies are cold-blooded, meaning they are incapable of keeping their bodies warm without external support from sources such as the sun. So they have to move out of snowy climates in the winter and head south to survive in the warmth. These tiny critters can fly up to 3,000 miles (a little over the distance from Los Angeles, CA to Washington, DC) in search of a warm winter home. 

Questions to Explore:

  • In addition to warmth, what other things might a butterfly need to survive in the winter? Hint: food sources such as flowers
  • What other animals migrate south in the winter? Are any of these animals as small as the butterfly?
  • Would YOU want to travel a long distance for the winter season? Why or why not?


  1. We are going to trace the migration patterns of monarch butterflies and learn where they land. Conservation of monarch habitats is crucial for their survival. 
  2. Help your tiny gardener color in the different areas of North and Central America. Then help your tiny gardener stick the butterfly stickers on the monarch migration areas. 
  3. Using the United States Department of Agriculture website as a guide, take out the map you printed and work with your tiny gardener to trace monarch routes. Practice that pincer grip as you mark routes in a dark color. 

Beyond the Garden | Conserving Habitats for Monarch Butterflies

Did you find your neighborhood on the map of monarch migration? If so, work with your tiny gardener to think about ways you can make your neighborhood monarch friendly. Use the resources below to come up with a plan for welcoming the monarchs back in spring!

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials

Pollinator-Friendly Habitats: 



Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.