The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. — Henry David Thoreau
This session focuses on the family home through an investigation of bees and their homes. The activities explore the idea of home as a specific, physical place that plays a role in the lives of bees. Children will discover commonalities shared by the homes of bees, the homes of other animals, and our family homes. You may find that many children already know some things about bees. Look for opportunities to invite them to build upon the knowledge they have.
The world of the beehive is highly structured. Individual community members have specific responsibilities that relate to the group's survival and the maintenance of their "home." Participants will explore the roles and responsibilities of the different members of a bee community. Then, they will compare the functions of the hive and the roles of its inhabitants to the functions of their own homes and the roles different people play in their families. The understanding participants gain in this session will prepare them, too, for future sessions that draw parallels between family homes and faith homes. Participants will encounter the interesting roles within the "family" of bees sharing a hive, the wonder of a geometrically perfect honeycomb, and possibly the sweet taste of honey, adding up to a positive, safe experience with bees.
In Activity 3: What Bees Do at Home you will present a factual story about how bees live and work together in and around the beehive. The story includes opportunities for the children to move creatively and suggests questions you can ask the group to ensure that the children remain engaged. Reading the story ahead of time will help you get comfortable presenting the information in your own words, in your own way.
If you want deeper information about bees than the story provides, read Leader Resource 1, Background on Bees and Beehives. To enrich this session, begin ahead of time collecting images of bees from magazines, calendars, and books to show the children during this activity; see "Leader Resources" for sources.
This session involves the children in making paper bees to enhance a poster of a beehive for the meeting space. Find the poster, designed to be printed as a single 11x17" sheet, in the Resources section (Leader Resource 2, Beehive Poster). If your meeting space cannot accommodate the poster, cut out the hive from the poster and find a place for it on a wall so the children can see it throughout this session. After the children make their paper bees, you can "send the bees home" by taping them along the wall in the vicinity of the beehive.
Before this session, ask the parents of all participants about allergies, particularly to honey or bees. Parents who are strictly vegan may not want their children to eat honey. Although no actual bees are used in the session, it will be helpful for you to know ahead of time if the group includes a child who has a fear of bees.
This session will:
- Affirm that home can be a particular place
- Help participants understand that all homes exist to fill the needs of the inhabitants
- Encourage participants to find meaningful correlations between human homes and the homes of other animals
- Identify the hive as a home for bees where each bee has an important role
- Compare and contrast human homes and other animal homes
- Understand and name some of the functions homes serve
- Optional: Manipulate and taste honey, a product of beehive activity