Busy Bees

Busy Bees


The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle
The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller


  • Use a bee puppet or picture as a prop.
  • What do bees make for us to use? Honey, beeswax
  • What products are made from beeswax? Candles, paint, skin cream, lipstick, furniture polish, car polish, and rust inhibitor. Show products.
  • What do bees eat? Nectar, the juice inside of a plant.
  • Who likes to eat apples, oranges, etc.? Then you can thank a bee because they are very important in pollinating plants that provide us with these fruits. Refer back to story to briefly explain pollination.
  • What are the three types of bees that live in a hive? (Refer to the story.) Queen – the mother bee that lays eggs, may live four to five years. Drones – the boy bees that stay in the hive to be with the queen. They do no work and have no stinger.
  • Workers -the girl bees who feed the young bee babies, keep the hive clean, guard the hive, receive nectar from incoming field workers, search for nectar, collect nectar and bring nectar to the hive, build the wax cells in the hive, feed the queen and drones, fan their wings to keep the hive air- conditioned. They cannot lay eggs.
  • Do you think a bee wants to sting you? No, they are usually just looking for a flower.
  • What do bees do in the winter? Bees seal up the hive because it is too cold for them to fly, and there are no flowers to find food. To stay warm in the hive, they fan their wings all winter and eat the honey they stored up.

Activity: The Bee Dance

If you found something outside that you were really excited about, how would you communicate that?
One way bees communicate is by doing the circular dance and the wag-tail dance.

The circular dance tells the bees that the food is close to the hive. In the circular dance, the scout bee dances in a circle, while the other bees watch to learn the direction of the food source.
The wag-tail dance is done when the food is a long distance away. When the scout bee does the wag-tail dance, they trace a figure eight and then wag their abdomen in the direction of the food source.

Demonstrate the dances to the children. Practice.

“Are you ready to be a bee?’

  1. Give each child a color card and crayon.
  2. Designate an area to be the hive.
  3. Have the children go out with their parents to look for the same color of flower as their card or crayon. Laminated flowers can be hidden ahead of time if a flower garden is not available.
  4. Once they find a flower they need to do the circular dance if the flower is close by the hive or the wag-tail dance if it is far away from the hive.  (They do not need to return to the hive to do the dance; they can do it by the flower they find.)

Craft: Beeswax Candles

  1. Cut the sheets of beeswax ahead of time into 2″ x 16 1/2″ strips.
  2. Have the children place wick on the edge of the beeswax sheet leaving at least 1/2″ of the wick hanging out.
  3. Caution children not to unroll the candle once they start rolling it up because it tends to crack. The tighter the candle is rolled, the longer it will last.

Safety note: Remind children about not touching matches and candles.


Graham crackers with honey or honeybee muffins (recipe below)

Finger Plays: Five Little Bees

One little bee flew and flew.
He met a friend, and that made two.
Two little bees, busy as could be.
Along came another and that made three.
Three little bees wanted one more.
Found one soon and that made four.
Four little bees going to the hive.
Spied their little brother and that made five.
Five little bees working every hour.
Buzz away, bees and find a flower.

Bee Hive

(Make a fist with mitt.)

Here is the beehive
But where are the bees?
They’re all hidden away
Where nobody sees.
Here they come,
Creeping out of their hive,
1-2-3-4-5 Buzzz Buzzz!


Bumblebee On My Nose by Jean Warren
(Sung to: Jingle Bells)
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Landing on my toes.
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Now he’s on my nose.
On my arms, on my legs,
On my elbows.
Bumblebee, oh, bumblebee,
He lands and then he goes!

Have the children touch their toes, noses, etc. as they sing the song. Then repeat, substituting the name “Buzzy Bee’ for “Bumblebee’.

Background Information

  • A queen bee will leave the hive with some worker bees and start a new hive.
  • Drones live only about three months, do no work, and have no stinger.
  • Bears, wasps, ants, or beetles like to rob bees’ honey.
  • Certain moth caterpillars will eat beeswax and destroy the hive.
  • Honey is made by a fermentation process of nectar.
  • Bees have a tongue that cleans like a vacuum cleaner.
  • Bees identify each other and detect enemies by their sense of smell.
  • For a new hive to be made, the queen bee leaves with worker bees.
  • Egyptians used beeswax to preserve dead bodies.
  • Factors that control the bee population are temperature and disease-causing parasites.


Julivert, Angels. The Fascinating World of Bees. 1991.
Morse, Roger. A Year in the Bee Yard: An Expert’s Month-by-Month Instructions for Successful Beekeeping. 1983
Style, Sue. Honey, from Hive to Honeypot. A Celebration of Bees and Their Bounty. 1993
Melzer, Werner. Beekeeping: A Complete Owner’s Manual. 1989.
Trump, Richard. Bees and Their Keepers. 1987.
Vansant, Rhonda and Barbara L. Dondiego. Moths, Butterflies, Other Insects, and Spiders. 1995.

Snack: Honeybee Muffins

This activity can help children practice kitchen chemistry; learn about dry measure and liquid measure; use whole numbers and fractions, and learn to follow directions.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • 1⁄4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • wooden spoon
  • muffin cup liners
  • muffin tin (A six-cup tin fits in most toaster ovens.)


  1. In one mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients: the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the other mixing bowl, stir together liquid ingredients: the egg, milk, honey, and oil
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients. Stir just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Line the muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full of batter.
  5. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 12 muffins

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Carrie Holler
Nature Friends is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.


_ 0-1
_ 1-2
_ 2-3
_ 3-4
✓ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 11.1, 11.2, 12.4, 12.6, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: