Life Cycle of a Firefly!

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Life Cycle of a Firefly

Aren’t fireflies just the coolest? For most of us, they remind us of our childhood where it seems we spent a lot more time outdoors than our own children do.

As I shared with my kids some of those memories of catching “lightning bugs” in a jar, the homeschool mom in me decided to go one step further and have them help me research some more fun information and activities related to our study of fireflies. Below you’ll find links and ideas for:

  • our All About Fireflies Life Cycle Unit Study (You’ll see the “click here to get your copy” link below.)
  • a list of fun facts about fireflies
  • YouTube videos about fireflies
  • books about fireflies
  • craft ideas for younger and older kids 

Fun Facts about Fireflies

  • They’re not actually flies at all! They’re beetles.
  • There are over 2,000 species of fireflies! Their scientific name is Lampyridae. (It’s the Greek word for “light.”)
  • Fireflies of different species flash in different patterns.
  • Their light shows are almost always an audition for a mate.
  • Not all species are capable of lighting up. Instead, some use pheromones to attract mates.
  • When fireflies are attacked, they shed drops of blood. The blood contains poisonous chemicals that create a bitter taste. Most animals have learned this and avoid munching on fireflies.
  • The average lifespan of a firefly is 2 months.

If you decide to collect fireflies to observe for a few hours, do not punch holes in the lid. They need humid, moist air to survive, and there will be plenty of air in the jar for several hours. Just be sure to release them close to where you collected them!

Life Cycle of a Firefly-Printable Pack

In our firefly printable pack, there are 11 pages highlighting the Life Cycle of the Firefly! Have your little ones color the pages, or have your older kiddos fill out the factoids on each page! This is great for grades 2 – 5!

When you’re all done creating your mini book, grab a Mason jar and head outside at dark to see if you’re able to catch any of these magical creatures

Below, you’ll see a link to go to our store and download your own Life Cycle of a Firefly printable pack. But don’t stop reading! Under the link, I’ve shared more resources about fireflies that you can use just for fun or as part of your homeschool (or both)! 

More Resources About Fireflies

YouTube Videos 

Even though the YouTube videos below are for kids, we still always suggest watching them before having your children watch them. We do our best to make sure the videos we share are family-friendly, but you should make the final decision for your own children. 


The super-short YouTube video above (It’s about 2 1/2 minutes long) gives a quick overview of why fireflies light up. 
This is another short video (about 3 1/2 minutes), and it explains some reasons fireflies glow. Even though it’s animated and looks like it’s geared more toward young children, it gives some information about the chemical reactions fireflies use, so even older kids may learn something from it!
The 4 1/2-minute above is about the life cycle of a firefly. PLEASE NOTE that it shows fireflies mating and preying upon (and eating) a snail. Information from this video (and other sources) can be used to complete some of the questions in the Life Cycle of a Firefly mini unit study. 


We recommend (as we did with the YouTube videos above) that the parent read each book before reading it with your young children. We do our best to recommend books that are appropriate for the whole family, but the parent should make the final choice. 

This beautifully illustrated book, The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle,  is about a firefly who goes out to look for other fireflies. He sees lots of other lights before eventually finding what he’s looking for. (In fact, I’ve read quite a few other Eric Carle books, and my children and I have loved every one of them!)

Fireflies Light the Night

This is a beautiful rhyming book for young children about what fireflies do. 

Firefly Home

This interactive book is about a firefly who gets lost and needs help finding her way home. Readers can encourage her to fly faster, suggest directions to take, and make a wish. 

The Fireflies Book 

This book includes fun facts about fireflies, simple projects, and more!

Glowing Animals: National Geographic Readers

This National Geographic Reader includes information about all kinds of bioluminescent animals and how they glow, the reasons they glow, and more!

Craft Ideas

Firefly Suncatcher from i heart arts n crafts

Unlike other suncatchers, this one only requires basic materials that you may already have at home. 

Bandage Lightning Bugs

These adorable bandage lightning bugs (or fireflies!) are so easy to make! (You may need to order the googly eyes and yellow bandages. Some fireflies glow green or even red, though, so use those colors if you’d rather.) This would make a super quick and easy group project for a co-op class too. 

Fingerprint Lightning Bug Art Project

This is a cute but easy fingerprint craft project for young children. 

Glow in the Dark Firefly Art Lesson

This is a beautiful art project for older kids (or even teens). Or you can simplify it if you’d like to do it with young children. 

Glowstick Fireflies 

These glowstick fireflies are going to get your kids’ attention! They are easy to make and would be perfect for an outdoor nighttime glow party. 


You May Also Like: 

Interested in studying the wildlife in your own backyard this summer? You may also enjoy some of these other insect and life-cycle studies!

Life Cycle of a Bee 

Life Cycle of a Dragonfly 

Life Cycle of an Ant 



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