Spring is a hectic time of the year – around the house, in the garden, on the farm. In fact, some folks say they’re “busy as a bee” in the springtime. Why the comparison? Just like the bees, people are flying from one chore or activity to another, hoping to get their seasonal “to-do” list whittled down. Has your group heard the buzz? “Bee” ready with a few of the activities suggested below.
- BEES: Display photos of bees on flowers, fruits and vegetables, in swarms, or in beehives. (Note: Check out National Geographic for photos of bees native to North America.) Name kinds of bees (honeybees, wasps, bumblebees, hornets, yellow jackets, etc.) and talk about where they live and what they eat. Ask: How are bees beneficial to nature and humans? Which is your least favorite kind of bee? Have you ever encountered a swarm of bees? What did you do? What are some ways to treat a bee sting? Do you know any beekeepers?
- BEEKEEPING: Invite a local beekeeper to talk about his/her hobby and reasons for the decline of the bee population. Share ideas on how to attract bees and butterflies in a garden. Find out if bees like certain colors and scents.
- HONEY: Gather jars of various colors of honey. Make a batch of old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits and serve with butter and honey – and springtime flavors of tea. Ask your group how they used honey. Reminisce about favorite World War II recipes using honey. Share memories of sugar rationing and other substitutes used as sweeteners.
- POETRY: Read and discuss “bee” poems by Emily Dickinson, including “Fame Is a Bee,” “The Pedigree of Honey,” “Bee! I’m Expecting You,” “The Bee,” and “The Bee Is Not Afraid of Me.”
- FRIENDS: Ask participants if they agree with Ben Franklin: “Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.”
- MUSIC: Play a recording of “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Learn the history of the musical piece. Ask participants why the piece might have been chosen as the theme song of the old TV show The Green Hornet.
- GATHERINGS: Ask participants to give another meaning for the word bee (social gathering), and talk about old-fashioned quilting/sewing bees and spelling bees. For fun: Learn about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held in Washington, D.C., in late May. Challenge your group to an old-fashioned spelling bee on words related to insects.
- INTERGENERATIONS: Celebrate Mother’s Day with an intergenerational “queen bee” party. Use black and yellow as the colors of the day to decorate. Ask the children to dress in bee costumes and compose a song and poem for the “royal bee(s)” and to perform an original bee dance. Offer samples of Burt’s Bee products – lip balm, hand lotion, etc. – to mothers and grandmothers. Serve a honey beehive cake.
- HONEY SONGS: Listen to songs about “honey”: “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Sugar, Honey, Honey,” “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey,” “A Taste of Honey,” “Honey, Honey,” “Aba Daba Honeymoon,” and “Honey.” Talk about the use of “honey” as a term of endearment.
- BUZZING: Ask participants to imitate the sound of a swarm of bees. Do a simple exercise: Flap arms like wings. Find out why bees make a “buzzing” sound. Talk about places you might hear a “buzzer” sound (ex: game show, door buzzer, intercom, smoke detector, basketball game). Play a classic game, like Password, that uses a buzzer.
- CRAFT: Paint bumblebees on clay flower pots and fill with yellow daisy starter seeds. Or, make fabric accented garden pots, using a bee print.
- IDIOMS: Discuss the meaning of idioms such as “busy as a bee,” “bee in your bonnet,” “the birds and the bees,” “mad as a hornet,” “make a beeline for,” “mind your beeswax,” “sweet as honey,” “the land of milk and honey,” “buzz off,” and “give me a buzz.”
- CARDS: Create handmade cards of inspiration and encouragement using a “bee” rubber stamp. Add a favorite verse such as “Don’t worry, bee happy,” “Bee thankful,” or “ Bee humble.”
- BEEHIVES: List products of the beehive (honey, beeswax, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly), and talk about how they are used in folk medicine, nutrition, and other ways. (Example: beeswax – candles, cosmetics, crayons)
BEE TRIVIA QUIZ
- Which state is sometimes called the “Beehive State”? Utah
- What do bees make honey from? Nectar (and pollen)
- What is the home of a colony of bees called? Hive
- When was the “beehive” hairstyle popular? Late 1950s/early 1960s
- What are male honeybees called? Drones
- What is the shape of a honeycomb cell in a beehive? Hexagon (six-sided)
- What are “sweat bees” attracted to on humans? Salt in perspiration
- How many wings does a bumblebee have? Four (two on each side)
- What does Burt’s Bees Company sell? Personal care and hygiene products
- What is the name of a professional who studies bees and other insects? Entomologist
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“The bee, from her industry in the summer, eats honey all the winter.” ~ Proverb
“Buzzing Bees” written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2014 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.