My kids are going through a bit of a phobia of bugs so I thought we should meet the fear head-on with some fun bug-themed activities that also built up their knowledge of God’s wonderful creatures.
This Honey Bee Life Cycle Sensory Tray is especially important now as our bee populations are facing a crisis and families are making eco-choices “for the bees.”
It is natural for a child to be scared of bees, especially with the risk of allergic reactions. I, myself, have a hard time staying calm around them because one sting of a yellow jacket (yes, I know, not technically a “bee”) sent my younger brother to the hospital and almost killed him.
However, it is important to stress to kids that as long as we aren’t bothering the bees, they are not likely to bother us. And we shouldn’t kill bees just because they look scary.
Bees play an important role in our ecosystem and without them, well… life wouldn’t exist.
Teaching kids about bees and the role that they plan in our world is important, so that they can make decisions that will ensure that we will have a thriving bee population in the future.
The more that we can teach kids about nature, animals and even insects, the better. Because what good does it do to know that a+b=c, if we aren’t taking good care of the world around us?
Materials Needed to Make a Honey Bee Sensory Tray
- Large tray or storage bin
- Honey Comb cereal (we used a 16oz box)
- Safari Ltd. Lifecycle of the Honey Bee figures
- Magnifying Glasses
Post Honey Comb Nutritious Sweetened Corn & Oat 12.5 Oz. Pk Of 3.Safari Ltd Safariology the Life Cycle of a Honey BeeLearning Resources Primary Science Jumbo Magnifiers with Stand, Set of 6 Magnifiers, Ages 3+
I’ve been using cereal in my sensory bins for a couple years now for a safe “filler” for mixed aged groups (because kids+small things=mouths), but first credit for using the Honey Comb cereal goes to this Sensory Bin on Pre-K Pages.
You can of course go with a full-size honey bee sensory bin, but this tray was the perfect size to hold a 16oz box of Honey Comb cereal, which I felt was more than enough for our purposes.
More Sensory Bins You’ll Love: Sunflower Sensory Bin for Fine Motor Skills
Of course, my kids were first really excited that I was actually giving them a sugary treat to play with, but after a few tastes they were ready to dig in and learn.
I started off by talking to them about what they already knew about bees – which turned out to be quite a lot!
I also love pairing our sensory bins with some great books!
The sensory bin keeps the kids busy while I read to them. And the kids can explore the things that they see in the books while playing with the sensory bin. Win win!
What If There Were No Bees?: A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem (Food Chain Reactions)The HoneybeeAre You a Bee? (Backyard Books)Little Yellow Bee Chunky Lift-a-Flap Board Book (Babies Love)The Bee BookBee: A Peek-Through Picture Book
Next, I shared with them the different stages of the bee’s life, and then went further in detail – reinforcing the names of the stages by picking up the corresponding figure each time.
The presence of the magnifying glasses encouraged the kids to naturally examine the shape of the cereal and the characteristics and features of the bee figures. I encouraged them to make observations and I subtly tested them by asking which figures they were studying and if they could “pass me” specific figures.
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Overall, we spent almost an hour exploring this easy to set up sensory tray, and we could easily get several more hours over the week. If you’re worried about your kids sneaking in too many samples of the cereal, make sure that you present this sensory tray after they’ve had a filling snack.
You can use the leftover honeycomb cereal to make your own honeycomb art – either gluing the honeycombs onto card stock or using them to make prints – or string them onto some dental floss for a delicious take on a candy necklace.
Don’t have HoneyComb cereal? Try this bee life cycle sensory bin instead.