Printable Activities Make Travel Fun

Ladybug Origami: State Insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Tennessee

Ladybug feeding on aphids. Photo by Greyson Orlando
The ladybug is the state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Tennessee. In Massachusetts, it was a group of second graders from Kennedy School in Franklin who petitioned to make the ladybug their state's official insect.

Why ladybugs so popular?
Farmers and gardeners know how aphids, mites and scales can damage plants by sucking the sap from them. Ladybugs are beneficial because both adults and larvae prey on these pests.

The most common species is the convergent ladybug, which can be recognized by the 13 spots on its red to orange wings. Convergent ladybug larva eat their weight in aphids every day, and adults eat up to 50 aphids a day. Its larger European cousin, the seven-spot ladybug, has an even bigger appetite, devouring up to 300 aphids every day.

Bug or Beetle?
Lady Beetle Life Cycle image
Ladybugs, or ladybirds, are not bugs at all. They are actually beetles.

Bugs have needle-like mouths that they use like straws to puncture their food so they can suck out nectar, sap or animal fluids. Bugs may or may not have wings. If they do, their wings are thin, like membranes. Baby bugs look like mini adult bugs...without the wings.

Beetles have chewing mouth parts, and feed on a wide range of plants and animals. Adult bugs have hard forewings that cover and protect the thin, membranous hindwings. And beetles, unlike bugs, undergo a complete metamorphosis. Beetle larvae, which look very different from adults, must enter a pupal stage before it transforms itself into an adult with hard outer wings.

Ladybugs gather in Mill Valley, California. 
Photo by Kristopher Anderson.

Fun Facts: 
  • There are over 450 species of ladybugs in North America alone. Of these, two, the Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle, feed on plants and are considered pests.
  • Ladybugs spend the winter gathering in large groups beneath rocks, in leafy litter, or in hollowed trunks. In the spring they emerge to feed and find a place to lay their eggs.

Print and fold an Origami Ladybug:

Difficulty: Easy


1.  Print and cut out Ladybug Origami along outer solid line.

2. With printed side facing down, fold in half diagonally as shown.

3a. Turn origami over.
3b. Fold wing down, as shown.
3c. Repeat on other side.

4. Turn origami over. Fold ladybug's head forward, as shown, then up, as shown.

5. Turn origami over. Fold corner of wing back, as shown.

6. Repeat on other side, folding corner of wing back. Finally, fold corner of abdomen back as shown.
©2010 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved.

Wild Turkey Origami: State Game Bird of Alabama and Massachusetts

Eastern wild turkey. Photo by Dimus.

The wild turkey, the largest and heaviest of all gamefowls, is native to North America and is the official state bird of Massachusetts.

The Eastern wild turkey is found in woodlands and savannas throughout the eastern U.S. and up into Canada, where they scrounge on forest floors and through grasslands for nuts, seeds, fruits, insects and salamanders. They were a favored food of Native Americans, and the first turkey encountered by the Puritans.

Turkeys, with their distinctive red wattles (males only), fanned tails and gobbling, have become so much a part of our national heritage and our traditional celebrations that's it hard to imagine an America without them. Yet, by the early part of the 20th century, hunting and the loss of woodland forests threatened to wipe them out. Fortunately, with intensive wild turkey reintroduction programs to relocate the birds to their native habitats, wild turkeys are here to stay.

Fun Fact:
Benjamin Franklin preferred the wild turkey as the national bird:
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him...

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward... 

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

1. Print Wild Turkey Origami.

2a. Cut out Turkey Origami.
2b. Cut along bold red lines, as shown by red arrows.
2c. Fold turkey tail feather back, as shown by blue arrow.

 3. Accordion fold tail feathers, back and forth, as shown.

4. Repeat accordion folds on other side.

5. Fold body up as shown.

6a. Fold turkey body forward to center, as shown.
6b. Repeat on other side.

7. Fold turkey's head down, as shown.

8a. Fold corners of turkey body back, as shown.
8b. Fold top of tail back, as shown.

9a. Grasping tip of tail, pull down to open accordion pleats, as shown.
9b. Repeat on other side.

10. Fold bottom of body back, as shown.

©2010 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved.

Diana Fritillary Butterfly Origami, Arkansas State Butterfly

The Diana fritillary butterfly is the official state butterfly of Arkansas. Found in wooded areas along southern and eastern North America, in the Arkansas River Valley and along the Appalachian mountains, this beautiful butterfly is noted for the dramatic differences between males and females. Males appear brown with bright orange markings, while females are dark blue with bright blue markings.

Diana fritillary caterpillars feed on violet leaves. As adults, they feed on flower nectar and dung.

Print and fold an origami Diana Fritillary Butterfly. For folding instructions, follow the same directions as the Tiger Swallowtail Origami.

©2010 Tammy Yee