Play Leaps and Flutters!

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Screenshot from Leaps and Flutters game.

Click here to play game.


Download a printable board game version.

Why are frogs and butterflies important?

Endangered species are plants and animals that have become so rare they are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are plants and animals that are likely to become endangered soon. Extinct species are already history. Not a single individual of an extinct species is alive.


Green caterpillar with black and orange stripes.

Photo by Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons.

Orange, white, and black butterfly.

Photo by Uwe H. Friese Bremerhaven, Wikimedia Commons.

Many species of butterflies are endangered or threatened. Butterflies are very picky eaters. When in their caterpillar stage, most species can eat only a certain kind of leaf. If their habitat is disturbed, they can die out quickly. You can plant a special garden to attract your own state butterfly.

Global warming is also hard on butterflies. They are cold-blooded, taking on the same temperature as the surrounding air. If the air gets too warm, many butterflies can't survive. Some of them move to higher and cooler elevations. But butterflies that already live at high elevations are dying out since they cannot move higher.


Squirrel tree frog, gray-green.

Photo: USGS.

Frogs and other amphibians are the most endangered groups of animals on Earth. We have lost 170 species in the last 10 years and another 1,900 species are threatened. Frogs are vulnerable to changes in their environment. They have suffered pollution, destruction of their habitat, infectious diseases, and fungus. But all these are made worse by global warming. They are an important part of the web of life, and their health is a good indicator of the health of the environment.

Game board fun facts

When you play "Save the Frogs and Butterflies," your actions either help or hurt Earth. Here are some reasons some of these real-life actions help or hurt Earth. Numbers refer to the squares on the game board.

  1. Gadgets and appliances that you leave plugged in are energy "vampires," using energy even when you think they are "off."

  2. Growing your own food helps the planet. Plants help clean the air of greenhouse gases that make global warming worse.

  3. When a car or truck burns one gallon of gas, it dumps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air! For many cars, this means a pound of greenhouse gas per mile!

  4. Littering is wrong, because it is ugly and disrespectful to Earth and other people.

  5. Air conditioners should not have to cool the whole outdoors! Keep windows and doors shut.

  6. It takes energy to heat water-energy usually produced by burning fossil fuels (oil or coal), which makes global warming worse. Also, it is wrong to waste precious water.

  7. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use only one-fourth as much electricity as incandescent bulbs.

  8. Recycling cardboard and paper saves 40% of the energy that would be required to produce new cardboard and paper.

  9. You save enough energy by recycling one aluminum can to run a TV for three hours!

  10. Every minute a light or TV is on in an empty room needlessly puts more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

  11. A live Christmas tree can take 8 to 12 years to grow. All that time, it is taking in carbon dioxide and helping to slow global warming. When you buy a real tree, you reward the tree farmer, who then plants more trees.

  12. Bring your own reusable bags to the store. You will help reduce the number of plastic bags end up in landfills and even the ocean.

  13. In just 7 hours, a TV uses enough electricity from an oil- or coal-burning power plant to pollute the atmosphere with another 2.2 pounds of carbon dioxide. Most families run their TVs around 8 hours per day!

  14. Refrigerators in most homes are the second largest user of electricity, right after air conditioners.

  15. In the U.S., food production accounts for 8-16% of all the energy used! On average, each person in the U.S. wastes nearly 1/3 of their food!

  16. Most water bottles wind up in landfills, where it takes thousands of years for the plastic to decompose. Each year, around 1.5 million barrels of oil — enough to run 100,000 cars for a year — are used to make plastic water bottles.