This hands-on learning about bees theme has been in the works for over a year. It always seemed like one of those blog posts that I should have written eons ago, since my blog is called, "Mama's Happy Hive!" Needless to say, this will be the first write-up of many "bee" themed activities to come in the future. 😉
Over the past year, Little Bee and I have enjoyed collecting bee learning materials, bee specimens, and observing busy living bees as they gather pollen in our backyard. This collection of bee activities involves fine & gross motor work, science exploration, practical life activities, language work, crafting, and more!
Little Bee and I are huge fans of the Montessori puzzles. I have collected several puzzles second-hand from the online Facebook group called, Montessori Materials for Sale. With a little guidance, at 2.5 years old, Little Bee is able to manipulate the pieces of these puzzles and put them back into place again. This is a wonderful work for hand-eye coordination and for developing the fine motor muscles of the hand.
This bee puzzle offers amazing opportunities for learning the various anatomical parts of the insect. This puzzle can be used in combination with three-part cards for learning more detailed anatomy. Also, there are many extension exercises that can add value to these puzzles. Please visit, Extending Zoology Puzzles to learn about the extension exercises.
Science - Bee Exploration
I bought several bee specimens encased in acrylic from Amazon for Little Bee to closely examine. He enjoys looking at the bees with a magnifying glass. Unfortunately, the Amazon link for these specific bee specimens is gone. However, here is a link for the entire life-cycle of a bee encased in acrylic that is so wonderful!
Little Bee enjoys learning about the bee with these hands-on acrylic bee specimens, "real" (deceased) bee specimens, and insect three-part cards. Little Bee is not ready to use the three part cards yet. Instead, I put several of the cards into a little book with laminated pages and a ring to hold it together. This gives Little Bee the opportunity to become familiar with the various parts of the bee highlighted on each card.
Over the last year, I have collected several "deceased" bumble bees and hornets on our daily walk around the neighborhood. It may seem gross to some that I search and find these little creatures, but I find it fascinating to look closely at these marvelous insects.
You may wonder how I found all these marvelous bees... I simply kept my eyes searching my path as I walked around the neighborhood. The little bees wear out in the hot sun or at the end of the summer season then collapse on the ground. You just have to look for them and you will begin to see them here and there.
Finding these little creatures has been a wonderful learning opportunity for Little Bee to practice gentleness. He begs to hold the little bee in his hand. I tell him to open his hand wide and to hold the bee gently. He does a great job holding the fragile bee and is fascinated with these small creatures!Of course, we also enjoy watching the bees when they are alive and well. I take my camera with me on our walks and enjoy taking photographs of these amazing creatures as they gather pollen. Notice the legs of the bees, in the picture on the left, are overflowing with pollen! Wow! Didn't God make amazing creatures for us to observe? 🙂
Practical Life - Pollen Transfer
Little Bee absolutely loves transfer activities and creates his own transfer activities when he plays independently each day. He loves to transfer his food in the morning from one bowl to the next and loves to transfer his pompoms from the bucket of his tractor to his garbage truck.
When I presented this pollen transfer activity to Little Bee, he opened his mouth in a wide smile and let out a squeal of joy! He was so excited! At first it was challenging for him to fill the eye dropper with the yellow colored water and transfer it to the beehive mat. However, he was determined to master this task and practiced it over and over again. When he was tired of transferring the "pollen" to the "beehive" mat, he then played with the bee. He told me that the bee was drinking the pollen with his nose. 🙂
Bee Life-Cycle Matching Game
I found this lovely life-cycle printable on the Carrots are Orange blog and the original art work is contributed to Nasa. I used these story cards in combination with the Safari TOOB Bee life-cycle figures to create a matching game for Little Bee. By matching the plastic figurine to the correct stage of life on the card, Little Bee is learning to visually discriminate between the different shapes of the objects. As he placed the plastic figure onto each card, I read to him the name of that stage of life. This is an introduction to Little Bee of the concept of time as the bee grows through the stages of life.
Language Work & Art
I found these small cotton bags in the dollar section at Target and transformed them into language mystery bags. Inside this bag I placed 5 objects for Little Bee to discover that started with the letter "b" sound. As he took the item out of the bag, I said the name of the object while emphasizing the beginning "b" sound. Little Bee repeated after me and then placed the items back in the bag.
Little Bee and I enjoyed making these letter “b” bumble bees with black and yellow paper, googly eyes, and black pipe cleaners. The bigger b on the left is the one I designed and Little Bee helped to design the smaller b on the right. He practiced using his fine motor skills to tear the construction paper and glue the yellow paper strips onto the black background. This letter “b” craft was inspired by the Playing House blog – Toddler Crafts.
Fine & Gross Motor Play with Counting
Our final activity involved using these *bee printables and a grass beehive I found at Hobby Lobby. I laminated the bee printable, cut each bee out, and then hot glued a piece of yellow pipe cleaner (bent in a circle) to the back of the bee. I made ten bees for Little Bee to place onto each of his fingers. As he placed the bee onto his finger, we counted... "1, 2, 3, 4, 5..."
*(I searched to find the original source of these cute bee printables and was not able to locate the source. If you recognize these printables, please message me and I will update to give credit. Thank you!)
After the fun counting game, Little Bee flew his bees one by one into the hive. Then he ran outside to the garden with his bees on his fingers to gather nectar from the flowers. He enjoyed using fine and gross motor muscles in this fun game of flying the bees to gather nectar and return to their hive.
Thank you for your visit! You may also enjoy, 25 Kid Friendly Insects Activities and Printables.