Susan, Head of Education & Learning, outside with a backpack

Susan shares butterfly craft activities to help children learn to value difference

Our Head of Education and Learning, Susan, shares some activities for parents and teachers to do with children, to help them learn about visible difference.

My role at Changing Faces is to work with teachers, businesses and health and social care professionals to help them understand the needs of people with a visible difference. This could be anything from developing guidance for businesses to encourage people with a visible difference to apply for roles in their organisations or working with schools to create inclusive and supportive classrooms.

However, over the past 12 months I – like the rest of my colleagues – have been thinking specifically about how Changing Faces can support people with a disfigurement or visible difference during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the last year, parents, carers, teachers and children have had to adjust to enormous changes in their daily lives. Everything from home-schooling, anxiety about health and employment, as well as no longer having the simple pleasures of family life such as seeing grandparents or going to children’s birthday parties.

How Changing Faces can help

At Changing Faces, we’ve worked to give additional support to parents, teachers and children as we know this time has been particularly difficult for children and young people with a visible difference. Normal structures and routines have been disrupted and those who have additional medical needs have had to either be especially vigilant or shield.

It’s been difficult for my daughter and hard not being able to go to school and see her friends. She feels anxious about going back because she does not know what to expect.

Parent of a 9 year old with Van den Ende-Gupta syndrome

Alongside one-to-one counselling (delivered via telephone or Zoom), online workshops for families, a Support and Information Line and new self-help guidance to support people through the pandemic, we’ve also developed something really fun – a butterfly activity pack.

The butterfly activity pack

The butterfly activity pack was first created for Face Equality Week 2020, to keep children busy and engaged during the first national lockdown, whilst helping them learn to value difference.

It contains activities such as colouring in, making 3D butterflies and even some baking – although you shouldn’t eat the results! It proved to be one of our most popular resources that year, with over 12,000 views.

The pack is very much about enjoyment and harnessing children’s imagination but can be used to start discussing how we’re all different but also the same. Here are my suggestions for how the butterfly activity pack can be used at home or in schools and nurseries:

Butterfly fun at home

These activities can easily be done at home. The emphasis is on creativity and having fun. You don’t need to do much preparation, (although may want to save a few toilets rolls!). The picture below shows Edie, aged 2, who during lockdown created a butterfly picture as well as having her face painted with a butterfly.

Two images of a small child with butterfly face paint. In one of the images she is holding a picture of a butterfly

Parents and children can have fun with our butterfly pack at home

Schools and nurseries

If you’re a teacher or youth worker, you could use the activities to start a discussion about visible difference – how butterflies come in all sizes, shapes and colours but are still butterflies. The pack is best suited to preschool up to primary-age children.

The idea is to encourage discussions about visible difference and how everyone should be kind. It can be difficult to know how to discuss visible difference, particularly with young children, so we’ve added some conversation starters to help you.

You can download the butterfly pack now by following the link below:

We have so many more resources to offer parents of children with visible differences, and teachers and youth workers, but the butterfly activity pack is a great place to start.

Share your butterfly creations

We’d love to see what you’ve been up to! I hope you have fun, and we’d love to see what you’ve all been up to, so don’t forget to share your children’s creations with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Teachers & youth workers

Teachers and youth workers can shape attitudes to difference and help pupils with a visible difference feel included. Browse our guidance and resources.

Parents & families

Resources to help you with the challenges you may face if your child has a visible difference – from supporting them to looking after your own wellbeing.