Recently my daughter’s second grade class took a field trip to an apiary. Their class is studying pollinators, and her fantastic teacher set up an opportunity for kids to meet a beekeeper and interact with hives. Of course I volunteered to tag along. A big part of this was that I wanted to meet bees up close and personal (and of course get to know the kids in my daughter's class).
The kids had a long walk to the apiary, and we passed the time by chanting about how much we love bees. It was a beautiful early fall day in Vermont and there were lots of bees out on flowers and weeds on our walk. Even though they had been studying bees, there were quite a few kids who were scared of being stung. How was this going to go if they were surrounded by thousands of bees?!
Once we got to the apiary, kids were divided into two groups that would take turns doing an activity. One group found a flower to sit near in a native pollinator garden, and did a quiet observation of any visiting insects. The other group dressed in the kid-sized beekeeper suits and visited the hives. Can you guess which activity kids were more excited for?
Kids who were scared of bees without a suit were fearless wearing a suit. They were excited to listen to the beekeeper and interact with the hives. They got to hold bees in their hand, observe them closely, and learn all sorts of cool facts. Such as:
- Boy bees don’t sting.
- Girl bees have a stinger because when they were not chosen to be the queen, their egg tube turns into the stinger. (I feel like this is a whole mood.)
- Girl bees kick the boy bees out of the hive as it starts to get cold.
It was really fun seeing kids be able to get up close and personal with bees. It’s a hands-on learning experience they’ll remember forever. If you ever have a chance to take a class or your own kiddos to an apiary – do it!!