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.

Free Bee Life Cycle Play Dough Mats

Recommended Grade Level:

Bee Life Cycle Play Dough Mats Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Scissors
  • Dry Erase Marker
  • Play Dough

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 activity for preschoolers to learn about the life cycle of a bee. Hive play dough mat shown

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.
Free printable life cycle of a bee preschool play dough mats. Bee play dough mat shown with jars of play doh.

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.

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 play dough mat showing larva inside a honey comb. With books about bees: Willbee the Bumblebee and The Best Bug Parade

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

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

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author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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