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! First, Katie made 4 amazing flowers (2 blue, 2 red) out of poster board, tissue paper, construction paper, and pipe cleaners.

flowersThe 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!

Think Spring

three flowersWhat could be better than this lovely bluebell, orchid, and dandelion? How about an entire garden full of this fantastical flowery headgear?

gardenWe read My Garden by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, 2010). While a little girl is helping her mother in the garden, she daydreams about her own garden. In her garden, the flowers change color according to your thoughts, chocolate bunnies pose no threat to your lettuce, colorful jelly bean bushes bloom, the air is full of birds and butterflies, and the strawberries glow like little lanterns at night. Beautiful!

You’ll need:

  • A circle of white poster board (approximately 10″ in diameter)
  • A pencil
  • 1 long strip of poster board (approximately 2″ x 20″)
  • 1 shorter strip of poster board (approximately 2″ x 15″)
  • Pieces of poster board, assorted colors
  • Pieces of construction paper, assorted colors
  • Pieces of tissue paper, assorted colors
  • A selection of pipe cleaners, assorted colors
  • A selection of pom-poms, assorted colors
  • 2 rectangles of green poster board (approximately 5.25″ x 10″)
  • 2 pieces of green britelace
  • Green masking tape
  • Scissors, stapler, tape, white glue and/or glue stick for construction
  • Markers for decoration
  • Hot glue

Press the circle of poster board up to your face and use a pencil to trace an opening for your face in the center. The top of the face opening should be under your eyebrows, and the bottom should be just below your lips. For this particular project, it’s best if the face circle is on the small side (my face circle, for example, was 5.5″ in diameter). Once the circle is traced, cut it out.

circleNow for the straps. Tab one end of the long construction paper strip and staple it to one side of the circle. Then hold the circle up to your face and wrap the strap around the back of your head. Make sure the strap is fairly snug, then tab it and staple to the other side of the circle.

strap 1Next, lay the shorter poster board strip over top of your head. Measure for snugness and staple the short strip to the longer strip. You now have two straps – one that fits around the back of your head, and one that rests on the top of your head.

strap 2 Now it’s time to decorate! Use markers, poster board, construction paper, tissue paper, pipe cleaners and pom-poms to create your flower. I made 3 example flowers – a bluebell, a pink orchid, and a yellow dandelion.

flower examples I figured I wouldn’t have to sell girls on this project, but I thought boys might be a little hesitant to become flowers. So the dandelion was designed to be appealing to boys, as was the color / name choice for the bluebell. We had 9 boys and 3 girls at this story time. I’m delighted to report that not a single boy balked at being a flower.

With your headdress complete, it’s time for leafy wristbands! Cut fringes, leaf, or petal shapes out of your green construction paper rectangle.

wristbandsThen wrap it around your wrist and staple. Make sure you staple the wristband a little loose so you can slip it on and off easily. Next add construction paper fringes, green masking tape highlights, twisted green pipe cleaners, green britelace “vines”…whatever strikes your fancy!

finished wristbandYour project is complete, but we’re not done with this post just yet. This weekend kicked off the world-famous Philidelphia Flower Show and my assistant Joani celebrated by wearing her orchid headdress to the event! Just look at this image and tell me it isn’t the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen.

joani with butterflies