Bees are essential members of our neighbourhoods. These little workers save us billions of dollars every year by spreading pollen from plant to plant and allowing them to bear fruit. Without bees, we would have to hand pollinate plants and the effort would be overwhelming. Unfortunately, there have been many challenges to our bee populations lately. From pesticides to heat deserts, mono-cropping, diseases and climate change bees are still struggling globally.
Our children have taken the charge and many have a good understanding that bees are important. Here are some fun activities to share at home, that will keep your children engaged and learning about the importance of bees.
Bees are great mathematicians and engineers. These little STEM wizards have been building hives using exact hexagons as the perfect shape. Hexagons are six-sided and fit perfectly together. This allows the bees to use less wax as well as have space to store their honey. To create your own hive, we are going to use a potato stamp. Have an adult cut a potato in half, then draw a 6 sided hexagon on the exposed potato. The adult will trim the shape with a paring knife until the hexagon is raised from the rest of the potato, about 1 inch. Dip into paint and stamp closely together onto construction paper. Once it is dry, add some cute bees and you have a beautiful picture.
Supplies: 1 potato, a paring knife, paint, a plate, paper and a marker.
Colour a flower with crayons with a big center. Use chalk to colour the center. Take a cotton ball and rub lightly on the center of the flower. Move to a second flower coloured with a different colour of chalk. Watch the chalk transfer.
Supplies: Crayons, Chalk, construction paper and cotton balls.
Set up three buckets. Use clothespins if available, otherwise, you can use rocks with the letters P or N on them (Pollen and Nectar). To start the relay, have 1 person line up and run to collect the Pollen at the first bucket, once the pollen is in hand or attached if it is a clothespin, run to the second bucket. At the second bucket drop off your Pollen and pick up the item with an N on it. You can only leave when the pollen has been left behind and you have the nectar in your position. Drop the Nectar at the hive and race back to the next player. If there are enough people, have competing lines.
Supplies: 3 buckets, clothespins or rocks, marker.
Seed bombs are a fun way to spread wildflower seeds in your own backyard. Look for local wildflower varieties to make the best impact. This recipe is from Wildlifetrusts.org; others you find online can also be made with construction paper and water.
- Peat-free compost.
- Wildflower Seeds
- Powdered clay (found in craft shops).
- Mixing bowl.
Creating your seed bomb:
- In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of seeds with 5 cups of compost and 2-3 cups of clay powder (you could use clay soil instead if you have it).
- Slowly mix in water with your hands until everything sticks together.
- Roll the mixture into firm balls.
- Leave the balls to dry in a sunny spot.
- Now for the fun bit! Plant your seed bombs by throwing them at bare parts of the garden and wait to see what pops up
Continue the fun with these books:
The Honeybee, written by Kristen Hall and illustrated by Isabell Arsenault
Please Please the Bees, written and illustrated by Gerald Kelley
The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive, written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen
Why do we need bees?, written by Katie Daynes