Engage Students With Pollinator Activities for World Bee Day

pollinator activities for world bee dayWorld Bee Day, celebrated every year on May 20, highlights the important role of bees as the ambassadors of pollinators. It raises awareness about the threats facing bees, including habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, and conservation efforts to help bees overcome these obstacles. 

In the classroom, it’s an opportunity to teach students of all ages about these small but mighty pollinators and their contribution to biodiversity, the stability of our ecosystems, and even food security. We can teach our students that we need bees…and bees need us to maintain healthy populations.

This World Bee Day, celebrate with activities that teach about every aspect of bee life, including challenges faced by hives around the world.

What a Bee Sees

Grade Level: PreK-K

The idea of bees with lots of little eyes is a common misconception for kids. This activity introduces your youngest learners to the idea of compound eyes. Bees have two of them, and the images they see through those compounds are pixelated rather than a collection of multiple images. The activity includes a simple worksheet to illustrate the concept.


Pollination Experiment

Grade Level: PreK-1

This simple activity is a visual way to show how flowers get pollinated by bees. Use two different colors of Jell-O or powdered drink packets, printables, and a little bit of tape to show pollen transfer. Spray the pollinated areas with a little water to show the bee’s efforts in an obvious way. Choose colors like blue and yellow that mix to create a new color when water is added. 


The Pollinator Game

Grade Level: K-1

This hands-on activity allows children to see pollination at work using bottles as flowers, popsicle sticks with sticky tabs as the pollinators and pom poms as the pollen. Moving from “flower” to “flower,” students see how bees and other pollinators move bits of pollen just by visiting each site. Extend the activity with observation in a garden if possible. 


Flying Cardboard Bees

Grade Level: K-1

This easy craft uses simple materials to show how bees buzz from flower to flower. The cute bees are made out of pieces of cardboard tubes, yarn, paper, and googly eyes, then connected to flower shapes with pieces of yarn. They can then hold the flowers in each hand and watch their bees fly from one end to the other. It’s an easy visual to show pollination.


Bee Flower Experiment

Grade Level: K-2

Story-based learning can be a more engaging way to get your students thinking about science topics. This activity aims to answer the question, “How do bees make honey?” using fun characters as the basis of their investigation and also supports concepts around measurement and counting.


Pollinators STEM Challenge

Grade Level: 1-2

This STEM pollinating activity explores the idea of what makes a good pollinator. From there, students create their own pollinators and flowerbeds out of simple materials like pipe cleaners and cornmeal. At the end of the activity, they describe their results and define any improvements they could make to their models for next time.


Wildflower Seed Bomb Launcher

Grade Level: 1-2

This activity puts students’ engineering skills to work as they’re introduced to the idea of seed bombs, or mounds of clay, earth, seeds, and water to seed hard-to-reach places. You’ll help them create seed launchers or cannons for their targeted areas. Older students may appreciate the origins of seed bombs. They’ve grown in popularity for the reseeding of public spaces. 


3D Bee Life Cycle

Grade Level: 1-2

This simple activity allows students to see a visual of the four stages of the bee life cycle (egg, larvae, pupa, and adult) using readily available materials like paper plates and clay. Start with some vocabulary building around each stage so that students know what they’re building once it’s time to create their visuals.


Flower Dissection

Grade Level: 2-3

What’s in a flower? Lead students in a gentle dissection of flowers in your area. Daffodils are a great option for their long trumpet and plentiful pollen. Set this activity up with a lesson around flower parts, especially the parts connected to pollination. Vary complexity of flower parts with older students and note any potential driving questions for future lessons.


Paper Honey Bees

Grade Level: 2-4

This step-by-step paper craft is a fun way to introduce students to different bee parts. Have shapes ready to go for your youngest learners or allow for some more creativity with older students. The video below is easy to share with students and pause as needed, or have them follow steps you model as you create the craft with them.



Buzz Like a Bee

Grade Level: 3-5

One of the most obvious characteristics of bees is the buzzing sound they make. This isn’t just for show. That buzzing can be the bees shaking pollen off their bodies in their role as super pollinators or as a defense mechanism. With this activity from Exploratorium or this one from Scientific American, students create buzzing tools of their own as a great follow-up to a lesson on bee communication. For younger learners, have fun doing the Sounds Around activity from Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children, where they can mimic the sounds heard in nature, like bees, to create a forest concert.


Beehive Structure STEM Challenge

Grade Level: 5-8

Bees are some of the most efficient builders out there. This STEM activity from the Piedmont Park Conservancy and this one from Discovery K12 explore how bees make honeycombs and why a hexagon is the chosen shape of beehive builders. This one is perfect for older students learning geometry concepts, as they do require some basic knowledge of concepts like vertices, area, and geometric patterns.


Electrically Charged Bees

Grade Level: 5-8

Introduce students to the idea of protons and electrons with this lesson on what happens to bees as they fly from flower to flower. (The idea is that bees become covered in pollen because they are positively charged, while pollen is negatively charged. That creates an attraction.) Go further with a visual of static charges by having students rub balloons on soft surfaces. Zap!


Native Bee Visuals

Grade Level: 5-8

Group students to create scientific visuals of bees to show how they vary in size. The linked activity introduces students to the diversity of bee species in Australia, but this one is easy to adapt to populations found around the United States. There are 4,000 different bee species in the U.S. to choose from, including the blue orchard bee and carpenter bees.


Engineer a Bee

Grade Level: 6-8

Combine science and engineering with this STEM activity for middle schoolers where students create artificial bees to replace native pollinators in a target area. Guide older students to hypothesize about why we need native bees over their engineered versions, and how we can recover lost bee populations countrywide.


Pollinator Inventions

Grade Level: 6-8

Similar to the activity above where students engineer the “perfect” artificial bee, this activity leads students to create pollinating devices to stand in for bees and other native pollinators. You can focus on bees for World Bee Day or introduce the idea of other types of pollinators like birds and butterflies, especially if they’re native to your community.


Build a Bee Habitat

Grade Level: 6-8

This series of activities goes beyond beehives to teach students about the importance of healthy ecosystems for bee habitats. Students start with an article about real dangers to bees, like pesticides and pathogens affecting bees. From there, they can create designs of ideal habitats for bees where those obstacles don’t exist. Consider a read aloud for younger students.


These ideas all come with grade level ranges to make it easy to sort by your classroom needs, but they can all be adapted for younger or older students. They can also be adapted for different learning styles and needs. World Bee Day should be accessible to all students as they learn about the importance of bees to the health of our environment. 

Additional PLT Activities & Resources to Learn About Bees & Other Pollinators

Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide

  • Here We Grow Again: When it comes to elements a plant needs to survive, pollinators like bees are crucial. In this activity students conduct inquiry-based experiments to explore essential plant requirements.
  • Neighborhood Naturalist (formerly Backyard Safari): Head outside to look (and listen) for signs of animals and insects like bees living in your backyard, schoolyard, or other outdoor setting.

Recommended Reading

Bee My Friend is a fun book to accompany these activities for younger learners. Like many children, the main character, Poppy, is afraid of bees until she learns about all the essential ecosystem services that powerful pollinators like bees provide. Check out our Recommended Reading post with more details about this book. 


Rebecca Reynandez

Rebecca Reynandez

Rebecca Reynandez is a Marketing and Communications Consultant and Principal of Spring Media Strategies, LLC. She has worked with nonprofits for the past 10 years and currently focuses on working with environmental organizations. She is based in Minneapolis, MN.

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