Step 1: Assemble Materials and Tools.
Scissors to cut straws and string
Computer to print out original butterfly sheet
Copier or copy store to make multiples of sheet.
(Only for at-home version: glue gun)
Transparent tape (not required for at-home glue-gun version)
String (White cotton household string is what I used; kitchen twine is fine; whatever the drugstore down the street from the event has in stock mid-event also turned out to be fine.)
Step 2: Make Butterfly
I've uploaded the document as you see it here: one side with 6 butterflies, the other with 6 maps of where in Mexico the monarchs come from.
Copy these onto the thickest cardstock you have access to. If it's too floppy, the toy won't work.
Alternatively, as I did on the prototype, glue the butterfly to a piece of thin cardboard. This worked at home, but would have been an added (unbearable) step at the event.
Cut butterflies apart.
Step 3: Cut and Attach Channel Straws
Cut 3 to 4-inch lengths for the upper cross piece. In the end of each cross piece, make a snip about a 1/4 or 1/3 of an inch in. This is where the string will be channelled through later.
Most of this cutting I did sitting at the activity table while young artists were carefully coloring in their butterflies.
Tape the straws to the back of the butterfly card in the upper corners at 45 degree angles, as seen in the picture, keeping the ends clear.
(Those pictured in the next step are ones I glued on with the glue gun.)
Step 4: Cut, Knot and Thread String
Before I began to run short of string (see Materials, above), I was pulling off about a 2 foot length, folding at the 2 foot mark and tying a knot that gives a small loop, then pulling the doubled length down to the original cut end and cutting it off there.
Hand the students the knotted string and have them pull each of the ends down through the straws.
Once the string is through, have them (or help them) tie a couple of knots at the end of each string so the butterfly won't slip off. The fancy, home version had beads on it; I fantasized these could be in colors that represented Michoacan, somehow--green for the exported avocadoes, for instance. The step-down version was using super short bits of straw as beads, but this was unnecessary. Knots were just fine.
Step 5: Insert Straw Crosspiece
Step 6: Play!
Slide the butterfly down to the knotted ends of the string.
Pinch one knot in each hand and pull each one alternately and watch the butterfly begin to climb (migrate) north!