Studying bees has been my kids’ all time favorite unit to date. From repeated renditions of The Birth of a Bee (complete with plush blankie “cocoon”) to sampling honeycomb to melting down crayons and beeswax for homemade modeling clay — it’s been a busy, buzzy couple of weeks for our Honey Bee Unit Study!
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Honeycomb Cabin: Honey Bee Printables
Twig & Moth: Types of Bees cards and free “Bee Content” bunting
The Silvan Reverie: Free Hexagon Bee Hive Counting Cards & Free Insect Silhouette Cards
Twelve Little Tales: July Polinator Pack
Memory Board for GCP
As Gentle + Classical Preschool is our base curriculum, the memory statements play a big part in our days. GCP isn’t designed to be a 100% coordinated unit study, but it is easy to adapt for unit studies (which we are doing). If you follow or implement the material holistically, you do get a very comprehensive early childhood education with basic skills covered really nicely! I’m attempting a middle ground between Doing All the Things and expanding a science themed unit study. It works for us!
Bee Life Cycle Re-enactment
As incredibly silly as this sounds (and it WAS), the kids had an absolute blast acting out bee life cycles. Who knew??
We read The Life and Times of the Honeybee and used our printables from Honey Comb Cabin and Gentle + Classical Nature for this activity.
Beeswax Sensory Activity
So simple, friends. I had beeswax pellets on hand (from my attempts at making chapstick, deodorant, and baby bum cream — another tale for another time) so I pour a little bit into a bowl. I led the kids in using their senses to look at (noting size, shape, color), smell, and touch (observing texture, malleability) the beeswax. My daughter wanted to taste it, so I let her try some. Not too tasty, as it turns out — but 100% edible if she had enjoyed it!
Hive Bubblewrap Painting
This is a Pinterest win for sure! We made bee hive paintings by brushing yellow paint across the bumpy side of bubble wrap (which I had pre-cut into the shape of a hive), then pressing it onto a large sheet of paper. Very simple, but for my littles this took a lot of attention to detail spreading paint on the bubble wrap and then carefully pressing the paint-side down without wiggling it.
I let the hive prints dry overnight. The next day, I outlined the prints with sharpie. Then, my daughter and I cut out these free printable bees and glued them onto her hive. My son also helped with the gluing — but when he got flustered and frustrated attempting to cut out bees of his own, I helped him practice cutting a fringe on his sheet of bees. He was overjoyed (so was I).
You guys. Youhavetotrythis!! I ordered a slice of honeycomb for us to all experience! Talk about a sticky situation— but totally worth it. It was so perfect being able to let the kids explore an actual honeycomb. They were curious about the hexagon cells (we counted the sides) and they were ecstatic about tasting the honey. It made for a delightful backyard second breakfast. Baths followed.
Yup, these were as divine as they sound. Here’s the recipe. I also blended up the remainder of our honeycomb and used it as part of the honey component.
Beeswax Modeling Clay
We attempted making our own modeling clay using beeswax and crayons. It was a super fun and slightly dangerous project (for a 3yo, 2yo, and baby in a small kitchen with hot wax) … and ultimately despite our best efforts it was a fail. I think we may have gone wrong using washable crayons…? In any case, we will certainly try again … but when everyone is a little older.
We had a great time watching and rewatching a couple short YouTube video clips about bees. These were our favorites:
Wonders of Creation (skip to 33 minutes into video)
On the Shelves
I set to our Montessori-inspired shelves with a few bee themed activities. The free honeycomb Counting Cards by The Silvan Reverie were a real hit.
We also used:
- Insect Silhouette Cards with Safari TOOB models
- Spanish 3 Part Cards (Insects)
- Letter B shape block pattern
- Free “Bee Content” bunting by Twig & Moth
Pollinator Story Telling
I recently heard about Twelve Little Takes, and quite honestly this subscription might be the best homeschool purchase I’ve yet made! Every month you receive a bundle of gorgeously illustrated materials for sharing stories together. We first read the main story all together, savoring the details and lovely art. Then, there are twelve story expansion prompt cards. I let each child choose a card over mealtime so we can expand the story together. I have also used this pack with my daughter for one-on-one time together.
The pack for July included a super sweet bunch of story starters about various pollinators, including bees! It was such a precious partnering with our unit study — I highly recommend Twelve Little Tales!
Overall it was a highly successful unit. I learned so much about bees that I didn’t know! We watched a lot of backyard bees busy with their flower business, and I am happy to report that despite a bad run-in with a bee earlier this year, both kids now know that bees are not sinister creatures out to get them but rather very industrious little insects who collect nectar and have intricate, beautifully choreographed lives in their hive. And anytime we see a bee (outside or in a book), my 2 year old pipes up, “Mama! Bees make honey!”
We’re studying Dinosaurs next! Who’s excited??? Follow our progress and keep up to date on sales, giveaways, bundles, and new releases over on Instagram!