The United Nations created World Bee Day to raise awareness the importance of bees, which as many of us know are under continuous threat from human activity. It's held on 20th May, which is the birth date of Anton Jansa, the pioneer of beekeeping, who was born back in 1734.
These little wonder creatures help to grow 90% of the world's wildflower plants, 35% of the world's crops, and help to build ecosystems all over the world. The very first bee found was 100 million years old, and it's so important both for us to help to look after them and also to raise awareness of the important work they do.
With that in mind, we wanted to celebrate bees with some of our favourite craft and play activities, which will hopefully help you to have conversations with the next generation of animal-lovers about the protection of bees.
Print honeycomb patterns
This is a really simple and fun way to create honeycomb patterns with little ones. Grab a sheet of bubble wrap, roll on some paint and stamp it onto your paper. You could also try rolling or stamping it into play dough!
Make bee waterers
Although it's been a very wet Spring so far, dry days will come and it's then that the bees need our help. Make them a safe place to drink in your garden by placing stones or sticks into a dish for them to land on, and add fresh water. We used these bright glass pebbles to add a splash of colour - but this would be just as lovely using natural items you find nearby!
Practice fine motor skills
I saw this honeycomb ice tray on Instagram and had to have one for myself! I bought this very cheaply from Amazon a few years ago but there are lots of variations still available online now. I set this up using yellow pom poms and tweezers, and my little one enjoyed putting the pom poms into the holes and moving them around. If you have older children, this could be a great way to talk about how bees make honey using pollen too.
Make a honeycomb jigsaw
Again, this is another really simple way to engage children with bee-themed play. Cut out lots of hexagons from beeswax, and then try putting them back together - just like a jigsaw. Beeswax is very tactile and little fingers just can't resist it! You could also use your shapes for simple maths activities or for making amazing prints in your play dough.
Build a bee hotel
This is such a lovely activity and will engage older children too. This one was created with bamboo but you an also use brambles, reeds or canes - the Wildlife Trust says bees like holes around 3 - 5mm to climb into! Simply cut them down and fill a clean aluminium can. Spring is the perfect time to build one as it's when bees are looking for somewhere to lay their eggs - each of which is left with a store of pollen for the grub to eat when it hatches!
Counting with bees
Our number play dough mats are perfect for learning through play, with ten beautiful mats included. Use felt, small loose parts or balls of sensory dough to both practice those fine motor skills and counting.