Thursday, January 31, 2019

January - Honeybees in Winter

Here are a few notes from our week of Wintertime Honeybee fun!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time


We had so much fun making these little bird feeders! You can do the classic "pine cones in peanut butter" but the oranges project is a nice peanut-free version of a homemade bird feeder. First, we squeezed the oranges. Each child got to squeeze and drink the juice from one large orange. Then we scooped out the pulp, used bamboo skewers as stands for the birds, and tied on yarn and filled them up. Using different colors of yarn for each child helps them figure out whose is whose when the birds come to visit.

If I did this again, I would experiment with different types of citrus. Our oranges had thin peels and sometimes cracked during the squeezing. It would be fun to get a pink grapefruit, a pomelo (these have very thick skin), and a blood orange to try as well, and compare the results.

After they watched Becca hang the feeders up outside our big picture window, the next project was to scoop all the birdseed out of our sensory bin and into the big metal can. This is the can which holds the birdseed outside for refilling the feeders. Our class had a blast scooping and pouring and transferring the seed from one container to another.

At Circle Time we read Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. We noticed that we hadn't seen any bees at all in our Winter bird watching. We talked about how the bumblebee queen sleeps alone underground through the winter (this is illustrated in the story), but honeybees stay warm in their hives in a big group with their family. We talked about the shape of the cells and looked at our wooden beehive toy, and we talked about how honeybees make honey to be their winter food! At snack people happily tasted honey (and nibbled on the leftover sweet pulp from our oranges, of course).


The children enthusiastically played honeybee today, turning the chairs under my dining room table into the cells of the hive, and building an elaborate silken structure all around the hive to protect it. They played honeybee the entire morning.

I didn't want to interrupt their flow with Circle Time, so when it was time for snack they paused only to do a bee poem ("Bee! I'm Expecting You" by Emily Dickinson, page 19 of Eric Carle's Animals Animals) and then eat. I got honeycomb from the international grocery store and they looked closely at it and had a little taste. I gave them plates and forks and mouthful-sized bites.

After snack we had our Honeybees in Winter Circle, which was a hit. I've never written a Circle before so I was very excited that it went well. For anyone who is interested, here is the link:

We ended the morning with our Flashlight Dance activity. Everyone took a turn making the flashlight's beam dance on the wall, and the remaining children moved and played instruments along with the tempo. When the light moved quickly we were quick; when the light moved slowly we were slow.


Another day of silken hive building and busy bee play!

The children also enjoy the sensation of smoothing and folding the silks when we put them back away in the basket. We also enjoyed another quite lovely sensory experience. I softly read "Velvet Shoes" by Elinor Wylie and then the children took off their socks and I stroked the soles of their bare feet with the cozy lambswool duster. Many children kept their socks off for a long time and enjoyed the sensation over and over. Even the older children came up and took off their socks to enjoy the softness on their bare feet. I adore this Winter poem and this was an absolutely wonderful way to share it.

And, of course, today was also Stone Soup Day! It was sooo delicious with the Parm on top. Here was our list of group contributions this week:

yellow onion
bok choy
Swiss chard
vegetable broth
shredded Parmesan cheese

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