Ahhhh, the life of a bee. Buzzing lazily from flower to flower, soaking up the sun, lounging in sweet honey. OK, that’s not exactly a bee’s daily routine, but it sure draws the attention of our youngest learners!
The Free Printable Life Cycle of a Bee Play Dough Mats for Kids will also engage them in hands-on fine motor development while exploring the life cycle of a bee from fertilized eggs to adult bees.
This life cycle of a bee activity allows children to really understand how bees develop. With detailed illustrations and play dough-like examples, students will create each step of a bee’s life. The easy-prep download includes six mats: eggs, comb (with larva), larva, bee, hive, combs (empty). Add these awesome play dough mats to your life cycle unit today!
Life Cycle of a Bee for Children
A bee goes through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Students can learn many facts about bees as well as new vocabulary by studying the life cycle of bees in preschool.
Each stage in the life cycle includes fascinating facts:
- After the queen lays an egg in each cell of the honeycomb, the larva begins to grow. After just four days, the larva hatches.
- Worker bees feed the larva “royal jelly” or “bee milk” (snack time connection, teachers!) for two days. Then, the fed larva begins to form a cocoon/pupa.
- Finally, after about 10 to 23 days, the bee has formed eyes, legs, wings, and other parts so that it can chew its way out of the pupa. A bee is born!
- Unfertilized eggs become future queens or drones. The queen is determined by the worker bees, who then move her into a larger cell and feed her “royal jelly” to increase her size.
While exploring the life cycle, you can also delve into the three types of bees:
- Queen bees: Laying eggs is their job! They are the only bee that can do this, and they do it well! Queen bees lay around 2,000 eggs per day!
- Worker bees: As the name implies, these bees earn their keep within a hive! They are responsible for cleaning and expanding the hive, foraging for food and hive locations, and they act as nurse bees to the queen and her babies.
- Drones: These bees rest their wings and legs often, as their only job is to mate with the queen bee and then they die soon after.
Books About the Life Cycle of a Bee for Kids
You’ll love these life cycle books for preschoolers and beyond! Perfect for your preschool science center, circle time, or just for fun!
National Geographic Readers: BeesYou Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Bees! (You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without…)The HoneybeeThe Life and Times of the HoneybeeTurn This Book Into a Beehive!: And 19 Other Experiments and Activities That Explore the Amazing World of BeesExplore My World: Honey BeesDK Readers L2: Amazing Bees: Buzzing with Bee Facts! (DK Readers Level 2)The Bee TreeBee: A Peek-Through Picture Book
How to Use the Life Cycle of a Bee Play Dough Mats
I love this resource because it’s so simple! All you need is cardstock, a printer, and a laminator or a plastic sleeve.
Prepare the mats by printing, then cutting in half. Each stage is a half sheet of paper. Protect the page by laminating or sliding into a plastic sleeve.
Get out the play dough! That’s it. Students can explore before, during, and after learning more about the stages in a bee’s life.
Manipulating the dough while reinforcing the stage is the perfect way for children to connect with the learning.
Life Cycle of a Bee Models
Life Cycle Connections for Preschool
Studying a variety of life cycles in preschool really helps children understand that all living creatures have a unique cycle. Students will begin to see similarities and differences among life cycles, which leads to deeper understandings.
Other life cycles to include in your preschool science curriculum might include:
- Plant life cycle
- Butterfly life cycle
- Ladybug life cycles (worksheets available)
- Life cycle of a frog
- Life cycle of a chicken