Packed with things to touch, taste, craft, plant and learn, our Honey Bee Experience Box is designed to provide a family adventure filled with fun and fascinating facts.

Are you the proud owner of one of these amazing boxes? First off, thank you for supporting honey bee education initiatives in schools!

And now, what should you do with all this cool stuff? There are hours of fun and educational activities inside, and we’ve got lots of ideas to help you get the most from your box.

One idea? Plan a pollinator week.

We’ve made it easy with the outline below, but you can plan your pollinator week however you like. Do a few activities each day, or declare one day each week for a month as Bee-Day!

Each day, plan 1) an element of learning 2) something hands on and 3) time for an active body. You can even turn gathering the supplies for each activity into a scavenger hunt. Kiddos can keep track of observations, questions, doodles and lightbulb moments in the notebook provided, and at the end of the week they’ll have a journal of their learning adventure.

Adventure Day 1 > Pollinators with Purpose

  • Read The Thing about Bees together. Don’t miss the reading guide (PDF). Search your local library for more books about bees and pollinators, and check out our list of picture book favorites.
  • Make pollinator puppets. (See our pro tips at the bottom of this post!*) Sketch some ideas for a puppet show in your notebook. Your puppets could share the basics of what they do in nature, or become characters in their own made-for-living-room drama series.
  • Do the waggle dance! (Inside Buzz page 11 and video) Experiment with changing the “dance” speed and direction to help younger folks make a kinetic connection to this real-life biological phenomenon.

Adventure Day 2 > Bee-ing a Bee & Bee Friendly

  • Read and talk about what you can do to protect pollinators at home. (Inside Buzz pages 14 & 15 and this blog post.) What are some steps you can take today? What are some longer-term changes you can implement over the summer?
  • Make the seed flings. Have a dish towel handy and don’t sweat the look of the final product; it’s merely a vessel for tiny plants-in-waiting! Leave them somewhere safe overnight. Tomorrow, you’ll decide where to deploy them. (Hint: Save a few seeds to plant in your peat pucks.)
  • Do some festooning! (Inside Buzz page 5) Kids will physically connect with the space around them to learn about size, proportion and counting. Knowing how to measure with their bodies is a handy tool they can use the rest of their lives, even as the size of their “rulers” grow and change. Track discoveries in the notebook. Bonus: later, they can help you plot a pollinator garden using their newfound measuring tools!

Adventure Day 3 > Rainbows & Honey

  • Plan and eat a colorful breakfast and write the menu down in your notebook. (Inside Buzz page 20) This is a great time to try the honey in your box — drizzle it over your oatmeal, into a smoothie or onto toast with fresh fruit. Explore how honey is made (Inside Buzz pages 12 & 13), see what the process looks like in real life and discover how to “make the honey swap” with recipes and ideas featuring this sweet wonder-ingredient.
  • Talk about what foods pollinators are responsible for (Inside Buzz page 19), and check out our photos of what your grocery store and picnic basket would look like without bees. Discuss at the dinner table: What would some of your favorite meals taste like without the veggies, fruits and nuts pollinators make possible? Connecting these ingredients to foods you eat as a family helps solidify the role honey bees play in everyday life.
  • Deploy your seed flings! Take a walk in your neighborhood to find the right spot to catapult your creation. While you’re out, have a pollinator scavenger hunt. See how many pollinators you can spot, or how many flowers and plants pollinators might visit. Take photos with your phone, and don’t forget your notebook!

Adventure Day 4 > Honey Bee Heroes

  • Read about all the jobs honey bees do over their lifespan. (Inside Buzz pages 6 & 7). Talk about how these jobs might be like chores around your house or yard. (Bonus: Make a “hive helpers” chore chart with fun roles and descriptions that mimic honey bee tasks.)
  • Queen spotting! Learn how to find the Queen in a hive (Inside Buzz pages 8 & 9). Be sure to check out our labeled pictures. Draw a Queen and worker bee side-by-side in your notebook and label the differences. (Bonus: Do a quick quiz based on some of the things you’ve discovered this week. Set kids up for success by asking about lessons you know they’ve connected with. If they get a question right, they get to play Queen Bee at dinner and make a few silly royal requests. Or, make and decorate a crown, and the prize can be wearing it around the house for the rest of the day.)
  • Learn about beekeeping with our beekeeping video. Plan a trip to your local farmers market to meet a beekeeper, or visit the honey section at your local grocery store. Look at the different colors and names for the honey. You can even purchase two unique varieties and try to taste the difference — first with your eyes open, then with a blindfold on. Record tasting notes in your journal.

Adventure Day 5 > Expand Your Hive

  • Share some of what you’ve learned with friends or relatives. Kids who are reading can FaceTime a grandparent and read The Thing About Bees to them. Or maybe invite a friend over and watch a few of your favorite honey bee videos together. Share a honey recipe for a snack. Have a waggle-dance-off! Show where you tossed your seed fling. Tell one way you’re going to help pollinators this summer. Pull out your puppets and act out with a friend. Festoon at the playground! Pick your favorite honey bee fact to share. Show off your journal!

We’re certain your worker bees will have great ideas of their own. Please share them with our hive! Post your activities, journal, crafts and waggle dances (and whatever else your Bee Box inspired!) with #GiveBeesAChance.

More tips:

  • Invite your child(ren) to open the box with you. Observe what they are most drawn to; that can help you know which activities pique their curiosity most. If you prefer a planned approach, peruse the contents of the box first, so you can introduce activities at times that are right for your schedule.
  • Our box is meant to engage even before you dive into the contents. For younger kids, ask them how many bees they can find. (Answer: 19. Don’t miss the tiny one on the front flap in the blue box!) Share how the box can be used as a planter. Decorate your box, put your name on it and keep it in a special spot.

*Tips & Tricks for Making Pollinator Puppets

  • There are enough supplies to make three puppets. Share among multiple kids, or make a new one each day.
  • When you plan this activity, know that there are breaks to let things dry. This is a perfect time to watch some of the video links mentioned in the Inside Buzz booklet, or find and color the hidden picture puzzle on page 4.
  • Keep a paper clip or binder clip handy for holding things in place while they dry.
  • For younger kids, it’s helpful to let them know the steps in the puppet-making process. Try working in three’s: “First we’re going to choose a color for the body of our bee. Then we’ll cut out the wings. Then we can decide if we want stripes.”
  • If your kid is going through a special-interest phase, support their choice to make a princess bee or butterfly or maybe a ninja honey bee!