Put on your splendid beekeeping hat and follow an oatmeal container bee to a flower! Today, we’re collecting nectar, taking it back to the hive, and turning it into something delicious!
We read A Taste of Honey by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (Winslow Press, 2001). A golden jar of honey prompts Lily the bear to ask her Poppy a series of questions about its origins. Where does honey come from? Well, where does it come from before it’s put in a jar? Where does it come from before it’s purchased at the store? And before that? And before that? In addition to being a clever succession of questions and answers, this book is stocked with facts about beekeeping equipment, protective clothing, honey harvesting, beehives, varieties of wildflowers, and more!You’ll need:
- 1 large oatmeal container
- Yellow construction paper
- 2 long strips of black construction paper (approximately 2.25″ x 18″ each)
- A 5.25″ circle of yellow construction paper
- 2, 1.5″ circles of black construction paper
- 2 yellow dot stickers
- 6 pipe cleaners (2 black, 4 any color you’d like)
- 1 bee wings template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
- 1 plastic fedora (I purchased mine from Oriental Trading Company)
- A 1.5″ x 22″ strip of white poster board for hat band
- 1 little bees template, color printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
- A 12″ x 32″ piece of white tulle
- 1 “Find the Nectar” game (more on this later!)
- Scissors, glue, and tape for construction
- Markers for decorating
We’ll start with the bee! Wrap a large oatmeal container with yellow construction paper, then wrap two strips of black construction paper around the container to create stripes.
Next, stick 2 yellow dot stickers onto 2 circles of black construction paper. These are your bee’s eyes. Tape (or glue) the eyes onto a large circle of yellow construction paper. Draw a pointy nose and smiley mouth on the circle, then tape (or hot glue) it to the lid of the oatmeal container. Curl both ends of a pipe cleaner and tape it onto the container to create your bee’s antennae.
To make the legs, cut 2 black pipe cleaners into thirds and bend each piece into a loose, inverted “Z.”
Attach the pieces to the sides of the oatmeal container with tape.
Cut the wings from the bee wings template, fold each wing upwards along the dotted line, then tape the middle of the wings to the back of your bee. Done!
Set the bee aside for a moment, it’s time for the hat! Use markers to decorate a strip of white poster board, then wrap it around the hat like a hat band. Cut some bees from the little bee template (at our story time, each kid got 6 bees). Attach 3 of the bees to the ends of curled pipe cleaners, then tuck the bottom of the pipe cleaners into the hat band. The remaining 3 bees can be taped directly to the plastic hat. The final touch is to wrap a long piece of white tulle around the hat. Secure the fabric to the back of the hat with tape.
You can stop here, or you can proceed to the “Find the Nectar” game! First, Katie made 4 amazing flowers (2 blue, 2 red) out of poster board, tissue paper, construction paper, and pipe cleaners.
The flowers were taped (using nice strong packing tape) onto 40.5″ pieces of PVC pipe. Later, the PVC was wrapped with green masking tape and adorned with green poster board leaves. At the center of each flower was a plastic cup to hold nectar. Because little hands would be repeatedly bumping into the cups, Katie secured each cup to the poster board with a brass fastener.
For the beehive, Katie raided her basement (nicknamed “The Magic Basement” for all the unusual and useful things she unearths from it) and found this 13.5″ x 17″ styrofoam block used to ship wine.
Katie was already coloring the front of the styrofoam with yellow highlighters when I snapped this picture. The highlighter pens worked a treat, but there were lots of squeaky, scratchy, pens-on-styrofoam sounds. Eeeee! Next, Katie added a yellow poster board facade to the hive, lined the holes with rolls of yellow construction paper, and added 6 little bees to the front.
During story time, I placed the hive at one end of the gallery, and “planted” the flowers at the other end of the gallery. Each flower cup was loaded with a single yellow cotton ball to represent “nectar.”
I split the kids into two teams – Red Flower Team and Blue Flower Team. Each kid on the team had to fly his/her bee to the flowers, find the 2 flowers that corresponded with his/her team color, remove a ball of nectar from each flower cup…
And then zoom back to the hive and deposit the nectar inside!
Granted, you could way simplify this game with a set of cups representing the flowers and a shoe box covered with yellow paper representing the hive. But sometimes, you just get a hankering to make giant flowers.
Two important things about the game:
- Just put one cotton ball into a cup at a time. If you stuff the cups full of nectar, some kids will be tempted to grab everything, leaving nothing for the other bees! During our game, we had Miss Joani next to the flowers, patiently reloading the cups with nectar.
- Make sure to emphasize that this is not a race. It’s all the bees working together to collect nectar for the hive!