I try to teach Drew (my 3 1/2 year old) things here and there through every day learning experiences. Some weeks I do really good at this, other times we go a month or two without me really planning anything, and to my delight he still learns without me doing little "lessons".
He responds to learning very when I let him move and use his hands, it really helps him focus. He is young yet, but I can not imagine him sitting still for a "lesson" any time soon. He may just be a kinesthetic learner (learns through moving, doing, touching). I have even read that these type of learners actually shut off or can not learn if they are made to sit still. Not sure about that, but found it interesting. I payed attention to Drew after I read that to see if he would fit in that category. Oh my little moving friend, he is CONSTANTLY on the move or doing something, he even moves in his sleep! Cracks me up.
Anyways, I decided to do a little work with him on recognizing letters, shapes, & counting. Over the past 2 weeks we have been learning through studying bees. It really has been fun, so I thought I would share some ideas with you in case you want to do something similar.
First I googled Bee activities / lessons. I found a few sites suggest the book: The Honeybee & The Robber by Eric Carle. I found this at a local library and took Drew and Emma there to read it (they didn't offer this to take home b/c it is interactive and can rip easily). To my surprise he wanted to read it several times. So that is how we introduced this bee learning extravaganza.
I searched for lots of craft ideas and asked Toddler Approved page on Facebook (to which she responded right away and she gave me a ton of ideas & links for different crafts, I was very impressed) and I also follow her blog, click here for her beehive letters. She has GREAT craft & activity ideas.
Here is a list & pictures of the different things we did, such a fun 2 weeks!
Made honey sweetened smoothies
So we did footprint bees and attached them to finger painted flowers.
Made our own honey comb "hive" using a potato as a stamp.
Learned a new shape, the Hexagon!
Worked on adding and subtracting and counting, coloring & cutting with little bees.
Made honey sweetened cupcakes & honey butter cream frosting & decorated them with bees. Thank you family fun magazine for the great idea!
Worked on letters & spelling with bee hive letters.
Acted out the story of The Honeybee & The Robber with teddy bear & homemade bees. Too fun!
Spent time outside in our garden watching the bees pollinate (so glad they are out there helping our little garden grow) and took pictures.
Made our weekly bible verse relevant to what we are learning: "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103
We checked out a bunch of books on bees and learned a lot as we read. Things like:
-In 2010 it was discovered in the previous 4 years about 1/3 of the honeybees in the US had disappeared without a trace.
-Bees aren't the only pollinators, bats, birds, beetles, butterflies & other insects, rain and wind can carry pollen from one plant to another.
-Honeybees are the most important bees in modern agriculture. Large farms that grow only one crop need thousands of hives to pollinate & bee keepers transport their hives all over the country to achieve this.
-Not all bees live together in nests, some are by themselves. Most are solitary.
- Bees wings can beat up to 11,400 times a minute
- The worker honeybees are female and they have "pollen baskets" on their legs to carry it back to the hive.
-The female honeybees are the only ones who have the stingers and can produce wax.
-As many as 60,000 bees can live in one hive.
-Killer bees are not more poisonus than any other honeybees, they just gather in a large group to attack when they smell the danger pheromone.
-Killer bees were born when a scientist brought back queen bees from Africa and crossed them with South American drones. (Oh why did they do this?!)
-After a honeybee stings it dies.
-Honeybees have a "honey stomach" that stores nectar and turns it into honey.
-Queen bees lay up to 1500 eggs a day.
-In its lifetime a bee makes less than a small spoonful of honey!
-To make a small jar of honey, bees must visit 2 million flowers.
-There are more than 25000 kinds of bees in the world.
Facts from books: "Bees" - Deborah Hodge, "Bee" - Karen Hartley & Chris Macro, "BEES" - Larry Dane Brimner, "The BUZZ on BEES" Why are they disappearing? - Shelley Rotner & Anne Woodhull
The book pictured on top had a lot of craft ideas inside.
So anyways that was our learning for the last 2 weeks, it was fun, different and a real enjoyable time. We were reading a book just today and he saw a hive where there were lots of little bees & one big one and he said LOOK mama, that is the Queen bee! I was like "He was listening!!!" We hope to wrap up our bee study with watching either Winnie the Pooh, or The Bee Movie :)