Activities and Information for the Next Generation of Beekeepers
The mission of the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees Program is to educate the next generation of citizens on the importance of bees and inspire them to take part in their preservation.
This program was developed by the “Bee Lady” Kim Lehman in the early 1990s. Kim is a storyteller, beekeeper, artist, and brilliant educator. She was able to develop curriculum that brought beekeeping and bee love across the country, many times over, in the nearly twenty years that she facilitated the program.
In 2012, the Bee Lady transitioned the program to the “Bee Girl,” Sarah Red-Laird. Sarah is the executive director of the Bee Girl organization, which runs six programs focused on beekeeping education and honey bee conservation. Sarah’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching kids about bees has helped the program grow to feature kids’ events not only at the annual American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, but also the Western and Eastern Apicultural Society conferences. She is also working to develop curriculum to share with beekeepers interested in teaching kids about bees. Another goal of Sarah’s is to create connections between bee education, sustainable agriculture and planting for pollinators.
Bee Girl's Favorite Bee Books for Kids:
Flight of the Honey Bee, by Raymond Huber
Follow the flight of a honey bee as she searches for nectar to sustain her hive and, along the way, pollinates flowers to produce seeds and fruits. A tiny honey bee emerges from the hive for the first time. Using sunlight, landmarks, and scents to remember the path, she goes in search of pollen and nectar to share with the thousands of other bees in her hive. She uses her powerful sense of smell to locate the flowers that sustain her, avoids birds that might eat her, and returns home to share her finds with her many sisters. Nature lovers and scientists-to-be are invited to explore the fascinating life of a honey bee. Back matter includes information about protecting bees and an index. $6.99, Amazon.com
Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen
Backyard Books: Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen with illustrations by Tudor Humphries shows that–from the perspective of a honeybee–the backyard is a busy place. A young bee faces many challenges as it takes its place in the hive and joins in the work of the bee community. $6.25, Amazon.com
The Beeman, by Laurie Krebs (Note: Dr. Dewey Caron consulted on this book)
Told from the viewpoint of a child whose Grandpa is a beekeeper, this rhyming text offers an accessible and engaging introduction to the behavior of bees. You will learn where they live, how honey is made, what a beekeeper does, and more. Now in paperback! $8.99, Amazon.com
In the Trees, Honey Bees! by Lori Mortensen
Here is the ideal introduction for preschoolers and early elementary children to insects that are not only amazing but also critically important to humans. Inside-the-hive views of a wild colony of honey bees offer close-ups of the queen, the cells, even bee eggs. Simple verse will engage a young child, while sidebars with fascinating information satisfy the somewhat older child. Parents, teachers, and interested children will enjoy much more information about both wild and domestic hives in the back of the book. The detailed art shimmers with life, highlighting each hair or grain of pollen on the bees. A wild hive in a tree in her own backyard served as a model for the artist! $7.50, Amazon.com
More Amazing Resources
Sweet Virginia’s “Hive Alive” Curriculum
Sweet Virginia’s lesson plans help you lead your students to experience the wonder of the honey bee. You’ll find five lessons that can be used as we have presented them, in any order, or individually. The lesson pages include high-level summaries and activities and may be used by teachers and students; the full lesson PDFs include more background for teachers, readings and resources, and step-by- step instructions for lesson delivery.
Edible Schoolyard node 5505
In this lesson, students discuss bees and the importance of pollinators. They then catch and observe bees in the garden. You’ll find that stand-aligned objectives, assessments, and procedures are already written for you to a middle school level. A great resource for helping kids understand the connections between bees and their own garden!
Vitamin Bee delivers huge doses of fun and much more with his curious facts about foods and the life of a bee, kid-friendly recipes and tips, all wrapped up in his love of music, art, and silly antics, that will inspire kids to make healthy choices, one episode at a time. Vitamin Bee also encourages kids, families, and schools to learn and work together in order to build the support needed to create a long-lasting healthy environment.
Phineas and Ferb Waggle Dance
A fun, musical introduction to the waggle dance explained by well-recognized Phineas and Ferb characters. It’s a catchy song that the kids are bound to be singing for days!
PBS SciGirls “Bee Haven” Episode
An episode where the SciGirls use math, mapping and data visualization to help a colony of bees thrive in a downtown Phoenix neighborhood. Learn the basics of setting up a happy healthy honey bee hive in the city. This episode also teaches kids about mathematical survey techniques that can be used to quantify the number and diversity of plants in a neighborhood. Great for encouraging young girls to get excited about science and bees!
Pollinator Partnership Bee Smart Kit
A kit available for purchase that includes 10 lesson plans with pre- and post-tests, worksheets, relevant materials to each lesson. Lesson are geared towards children grade 3 to 6 and can be approached a few different ways: using school land to create/augment a garden habitat, using other demonstration areas to create/visit garden habitat, or using only in-classroom lessons and on-line experiences without a garden.
Montana Pollinator Education Project
A wide range of resources including: bulletin board illustration/information cards, lesson plans for grades 2 to 8, recommended reading for students and teachers, and link to additional resources for teachers and students. This website covers all forms of pollinators, not just bees! A wide range of materials and approaches here—excellent!
USFWS Pollinator Study
A blog post from U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Pacific Region about the importance and diversity of pollinators. The post discusses an ongoing study inventorying the bee species present on wildlife refuges and the implications of the results. It also discusses pollinator decline.
USFWS Pollinator Program
A U.S. Fish & Wildlife page dedicated to pollinator education. This site has everything from educational video links to explanations of how you can help pollinators in your daily life. It also included in-depth definitions of pollinators and pollination, as well as links to pollinator trails near you. A great resource for those looking to educate themselves and those around them!
The Great Sunflower Project
People all over the country are collecting data on pollinators in their yards, gardens, schools and parks. This project takes counts of the number and types of pollinators visiting plants (especially sunflowers). They have been gathering information on pollinator service since 2008, and now have the largest single body of information about bee pollinator service in North America. Utilizing their thousands of observers, they can determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to averages.
National Geographic Kids
An entertaining description of honey bee relating to their lifestyles and importance. It includes a few fun facts like how large they are and how fast they fly.
NASA’s Climate Kids: A Bee is More Than a Bug
An awesome description of how to make a clay bee and bee hive! The website also includes some information on topics such as threats to bees and bee life cycle.
Today in Louisiana Agriculture “Sweet Knowledge” Video
A short video to find inspiration for your own “World Honey Bee Day”!
The Honey Files: A Bee’s Life – A Teaching Guide, Grade Levels 4-6
An extensive resource for teachers that includes 13 different activities, accompanying worksheets, and an educator’s overview on each topic. The overviews are a great resource for those who want to teach about bees but may not know a whole lot themselves!
“Wings of Life” Movie
From Disneynature, the studio that brought you “Earth”, “Oceans”, “African Cats” and “Chimpanzee”, comes “Wings of Life” – a stunning adventure full of intrigue, drama and mesmerizing beauty. Narrated by Meryl Streep, this intimate and unprecedented look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats and flowers is a celebration of life, as a third of the world’s food supply depends on these incredible – and increasingly threatened – creatures.
The Story of Bees! Game
Enter the fascinating world of honey bees with this imaginative and educational game! Children will delight as they become part of a swarm in search of a new nesting site. Each child assumes the role of a worker bee with special job assignments to help their colony grow. As they act out their jobs, a compelling tale unfolds: The Story of Bees! Children will buzz, run, sing and dance their way through colony life all while learning real, factual information about bees. They will face threats, make sacrifices and overcome it together, illustrating the benefits of teamwork. The Story of Bees! is flexible and can be played in a variety of settings with mixed ages and with a large range of group sizes.