Buzz Worthy

buzz worthyPut 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

finished beeWe’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.

bee faceTo make the legs, cut 2 black pipe cleaners into thirds and bend each piece into a loose, inverted “Z.”

bent pipe cleanerAttach the pieces to the sides of the oatmeal container with tape.

bee legsCut 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!

wingsSet 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.

hatYou can stop here, or you can proceed to the “Find the Nectar” game! Here’s how we made it…

flowersFirst, 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 tack.

flower with brass tackFor 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.

wine shipping styrofoamKatie 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.

beehiveDuring 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.”

nectarI 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…

bee game collectionAnd then zoom back to the hive and deposit the nectar inside!

bee game drop offGranted, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Make sure to emphasize that this is not a race. It’s all the bees working together to collect nectar for the hive!

Cheshire Cat Grin

cheshire cat grinSomething to smile about! I designed this Cheshire Cat project for an Alice in Wonderland program. It’s quick, easy, and the results are frabjous!

You’ll need:

First, select a grin from the template and use markers to color it. Glue (or tape, or hot glue) the smile to a jumbo craft stick. Make sure to leave about 1″ of space at the top of the stick for your whiskers and nose.

grin step 1Pinch the centers of the twisteez wires together, then secure them to the stick with masking tape. If you can’t find twisteez wires, use very thin strips of card stock for whiskers. I wouldn’t recommend using pipe cleaners. The ends can get rather sharp when you cut them, and that’s not good for a project that is held close to the eyes.

grin step 2Shape a square of self-adhesive foam into a cat nose, then peel and stick on top of the masking tape. You can also use regular foam and adhere the nose with hot glue.

grin step 3Trim and curl the whiskers (or leave them straight), and you’re done!

grin step 4Hold the project to your face to become a cat with a grin, or hold it away from you to demonstrate a grin without a cat!

Oh So Crafty

box and tubeWhat do you get when you decorate 1 plain box and 1 toilet paper tube roll with a plethora of art supplies? Clearly, some very clever crafting!

creative charactersFor our story time project, we started everyone with a 4″ x 4″ x 4″ box and a toilet paper tube. Then we asked the kids to use the tube to create a doll, and the box to make an accessory for the doll. Helping themselves to tables loaded with art supplies, our imaginative inventors went to work!

We read Crafty Chloe, written by Kelly DiPucchio, and illustrated by Heather Ross (Atheneum Books, 2012). Chloe may not be good at sports, video games, or dance, but she is an absolute genius at crafting. Chloe’s creativity is challenged, however, when it comes time to find a birthday present for her best friend Emma. More than anything, Emma wants a Violet doll, but when Chloe goes to purchase one, she finds that London, a snooty classmate, has beaten her to the purchase. Rattled, Chloe tells London she’s going to make Emma’s present. London’s response is derisive (“You’re going to MAKE her something?”). The big day arrives, but, on her way to the shindig, London trips on her glittery heels. She drops Violet in a muddy puddle, and, to add insult to injury, the doll’s dress is ripped off by London’s dog. Instead of leaving London to her awful fate, Chloe unveils her present. It’s a handmade purple dolly dress that fits Violet perfectly. Also in the gift box? A color-coordinated canopy bed for Violet. Perfect.

I love this book on so many levels, and not just because of the super sweet hot glue gun holster Chloe wears while she’s crafting her masterpieces.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4″ x 4″ x 4″ but any size will work)
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • A selection of multicultural construction paper for skin
  • Black, brown, yellow, and red construction paper for hair
  • Assorted craft supplies (see our complete list a little later in this post)
  • A Bling Bin
  • Scissors, tape, and glue sticks for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

As I mentioned in the introduction, the projects all started with the same box. Here’s a look at how we cut them down in various ways.

project boxesFor this particular project, it’s important to create a few example projects to put on display. Example projects are helpful for craft-challenged parents and caretakers, and they also help kids who have trouble brainstorming. The only drawback, of course, is that some kids just want to recreate your projects. I mean, who wouldn’t be tempted to recreate Vivian Ward shopping on Rodeo Drive?

pretty womanAhem. As far as art supplies, we offered colored masking tape, felt pieces, twisteez wire, a selection of small feathers, 3 sizes of pom-poms, colored macaroni, mesh tubing, large plastic buttons, seashells, bubble tea straws, self-adhesive foam shapes, construction paper, embossed foil paper, patterned paper, white poster board, tagboard, a selection of tissue paper, cellophane, pipe cleaners, sparkle stems, plastic sample cups with lids, fabric flowers, balloon stick cups, and iridescent fabric shapes. And the Bling Bin of course.

OK…ready to see some crafting awesomeness?

mermaid 3tiger housegirl with carninja turtles 2mermaid 2batman 2sea creaturesponge bobshopping 1ninja turtles 1beach girlbatman 1ninja turtles 3marioshopping 2batman 3mermaid 1Alas, a few projects did get away without being photographed. There was another mermaid, a butterfly princess, Queen Elsa, and a football field with pom-pom fans swarming the goal post.