Butterflies – Tame or Release?

Lesson Plan Glossary

Glossary of Terms

At URSTRONG, we believe it’s important to use kids’ language for kids’ problems. That’s why we have our very own, unique language of friendship. Here are some important terms that children, parents, and teachers learn in our program.

Friendship Fire®: Any situation between you and a friend that results in negative feelings.

Mean-on-Purpose: When someone is intentionally unkind to someone else.

Quick Comeback: A very short word or phrase that is used when someone is Mean-on-Purpose. Quick Comebacks are designed to let the other person know that you heard/saw what they did and you’re not okay with it.

Friend-o-meter: A visual tool that assesses the health of friendships, ranging from the healthy zone to the unhealthy zone.

Friend-o-cycle: The normal cycle in a friendship that brings the friendship back to the healthy zone after experiencing a Friendship Fire. The phases of the Friend-o-cycle are: Healthy Friendship – Fire – Confront the issue – Talk-it-Out – Forgive & Forget – Closer & Stronger – Healthy Friendship…

4 Friendship Facts: A set of four facts that help us have realistic expectations in our friendships so we understand what is normal.

  1. No friendship (relationship) is perfect.
  2. Every friendship is different.
  3. Trust & Respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship.
  4. Friendships change…and that’s okay.

Red Shirt Girl and Striped Shirt Boy: Two characters that remind us about the importance of body language.

Friendship Ninja: A Friendship Ninja is someone who surrounds themselves with friends in the healthy zone of the Friend-o-meter. A Friendship Ninja is kind and friendly to everyone. A Friendship Ninja understands the 4 Friendship Facts and puts out their Friendship Fires when they ignite. A Friendship Ninja stands up for themselves and their friends. A Friendship Ninja makes new friends and understands that friendships change…and that’s okay. Above all else, a Friendship Ninja is someone you want to be friends with because they’re true to who they are!

We all feel butterflies once in a while! Let’s move beyond the word “anxiety” and teach kids how to take control and tame those pesky butterflies. 

To access this resource, you must purchase Educator Membership or Trial Membership.


Have you ever felt like there were butterflies dancing around inside of you? Did those butterflies make their way to your fingers and make your hands shake or make your heart beat really fast?

Sometimes when we are thinking about doing something for the first time we can feel a little scared, worried, excited or nervous. People often describe those big, uncomfortable feelings by saying I have butterflies in my tummy!” 

But, what can we do to tame our butterflies and calm them down, so that they don’t get in our way and stop us from trying new things or enjoying lifeDo we tame our butterflies or set them free?

Key Outcome

Your students will learn how to calm their worries, nerves, and anxiety (which we call “butterflies”) by identifying the ones they can and cannot control. 


  • Handouts: Butterfly Sorting
  • Paper, pencils and pens
  • Cardboard or large paper and sticky notes
  • Optional: Crafting materials to make a butterfly cage!


  1. Review the Friendology Session 7 – Taming Butterflies activity with your students. Ask them “What do we mean when we talk about ‘feeling butterflies’?” Ask students to recall and describe a time that they have had that feeling of ‘butterflies’ in a friendship (without using any other students’ names of course!).
  2. Say to your students, “It is normal that Friendship Fires® and Mean-on-Purpose encounters can give us butterflies, because we feel lots of big, uncomfortable feelings when our friendships are not in the healthy zone of the Friend-o-meter.”
  3. Tell your students that, “We can choose what to do with our butterflies. We don’t need to let them control us or stop us from doing things!” Using the Butterfly Sorting Activity Sheet (or by doing this as a whole-class activity with colorful sticky notes and a display board), ask students to write down their ‘butterflies’ (or worrying thoughts) and then sort them into the two columns: Tame or Release. Explain what the two categories mean:
    • TAME is for butterflies that you have control over. These are butterflies we can calm down by doing different things!
      • Example: I’m worried I won’t know what to say when I’m talking to my friend about a Friendship Fire!
    • RELEASE is for the butterflies that you cannot control and need to let go of!
      • Example: I’m worried my friend will get mad at me.
  4. Get the students to come up with ways to tame the controllable butterflies. What could they do? For example, if one of their butterflies is: I’m worried I won’t know what to say when I’m talking to my friend about a Friendship Fire! Ask, “How could we calm that butterfly down? What could we do?” A few ideas include practicing what we’re going to say in the mirror, writing it down, etc.
  5. For the butterflies they cannot control, explain to the students that worrying about these butterflies is wasted energy. Say, “We need to set those butterflies free and let them go! We can only focus our energy on things we have control over!”
  6. If you have time, get the students to design a Butterfly Cage (two or three dimensional) in which to keep those butterflies that need to be tamed. You could create one cage for the whole class, or individual cages for each student. Be as creative as you like! Display the butterfly cages as a friendly reminder to the students that they have control over lots of those pesky butterflies and can tame them.

Next Steps

Get artsy! Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. In the fold of the paper place a few small blobs of paint. Fold the paper together and, working from the middle, gently push the paint towards the edges of the paper. Open up the paper to reveal a colourful, symmetrical pattern that looks kinda like a butterfly!