Exploring life cycles

We’ve been exploring life cycles of plants and animals in preschool.   To extend our understanding of these living things, we brought out our life cycle boxes…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Our life cycle boxes are clear plastic boxes, divided into four sections.  They are meant to be used as jewelry boxes, but the grandmother of one of our students tipped us off about what a great use they were for storing life cycle models.  We are so glad she did!  These plastic boxes can often be found in the Dollar Spot at Target…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

The life cycle models were set out on the table for the children to explore…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

In front of the models was a piece of paper divided into four squares for the children to line the models up.  Number one represented the beginning of the life cycle, while the number four represented the end of the life cycle…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Also on the table were accordion style books for the children to draw a picture of a life cycle.  Because we were doing this activity with our pre-kindergarten students, we encouraged them to number each of the squares one through four, as we had on the table…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

In their accordion books, the children could draw a picture of one of the life cycles represented on the table or they could draw something different.  A few of the children found the turtle life cycle to be the most interesting, so that is what they drew…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Some of the other children chose to make up their own type of life cycle so we also ended up with spiders and people…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Throughout this activity, we encouraged the children to think of the life cycle and their drawings as a story, similar to how we journal each week.  We told them that no matter what living thing they drew, it had to go from little to big.  The first page in their accordion book might be an egg or a baby, but it would get bigger on each page until it was full grown…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Our life cycle models really helped the children see how each living thing grew from smaller to bigger over time.  And drawing their own life cycle helped to demonstrate their understanding of the process.  And for some children, it also helped them make connections to their own lives…

Exploring life cycles by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to grow on:

From seed to flower on the sticky table by Teach Preschool

Exploring the life cycle of a pumpkin by Teach Preschool

Gardening with kids: seed to plant in a clear cup by Putti’s World

By |2013-03-26T17:00:08+00:00March 26th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Allisa March 29, 2013 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Great lesson. Can you tell me where you found your plant life cycle models?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 29, 2013 at 10:16 am - Reply

      From Michaels and at our local school supply store. But you can also order them online from most education supply stores or Amazon.

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