We made this fun and simple butterfly craft as part of our letter Ii activities. It meets all my criteria of requiring no prep work, needing no special materials, and actually being able to be made by a tot, NOT just by mom. For those reasons it got a big thumbs up from this mama!
Here's what you'll need:
A coffee filter
A spray bottle full of water
(A tray or plate to do this on would be very helpful as well)
First let you child color the coffee filter however they like.
Next let them spray the coffee filter with water just enough to get the entire thing saturated. Observe the colors bleeding together.
Let dry. You could probably do this with a hair dryer if you were short on time, but we just waited until the next day.
Scrunch up the coffee filter in the middle and let your child secure it with a clothespin.
Add pipe cleaner antennae if you like and let your child get busy with the pretend play!