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Quick-Change Flip Book

Science/Art Activity

In this activity, children will create a flip book that illustrates the growth and change of a plant or animal as it goes through its life cycle.


  • A collection of books with pictures of plants and animals in different stages of development
  • Light-colored construction paper (8 1/2 x 11)


  1. Remind children that all living things grow and change. As an example, you might briefly discuss the life cycle of a butterfly. Then explain to children that they are going to make their own flip books that will show how a plant or animal grows and changes. The trick will be to make it look like the plant or animal is actually growing. (If you have any examples of similar "motion picture" flip books, share them with the children.)

  2. Brainstorm with children the types of plants or animals they might illustrate. They might draw a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, a flower growing from a seed, a chick hatching from an egg and growing into a hen, or an acorn growing into an oak tree. Have children refer to the books you have provided to help them select a plant or animal and get ideas for illustrations.

  3. When children have made their selection and have some ideas about the illustrations, distribute the construction paper. The flip book will work best with eight to sixteen pages (children may do more pages if they like). So give each child between two and four sheets of construction paper and have them cut each piece into four pages for their books.

  4. When children are ready to start drawing, remind them that they need to start by drawing the plant or animal at the beginning of its life. Explain that each succeeding picture should show the plant or animal growing slightly. The slighter the change and the more pictures they draw, the greater the effect will be when the book is completed. It is also important to tell children to draw the pictures in the same spot on each page. When children are finished drawing the pictures, have them make a cover for their books.

  5. Have children flip through the pages a few times to make sure they are in order and to see if they need to draw more pictures. Then help them staple the books together. Encourage children to share their books with one another. Keep the books in the classroom library for a while so everyone gets a chance to view each book.


You may want to do one class flip book. With children, choose a plant or animal to draw. Distribute one page of the flip book to each child. Choose one child to draw the first picture. When that picture is complete, pass it to another child and have him or her draw the next picture. Continue until everyone has drawn a picture. Assemble the book and keep it in the classroom library.

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