Learn about honey bees with these activities, books and fun facts!
Today we are traveling the country with Charlie, who is the star of a great Search & Find book series titled Travels with Charlie.
This virtual road trip was organized by my friend Jodie who writes all about great kids books at Growing Book by Book (you'll definately want to stop by and visit!) and inspired by the books.
We are representing the state of Missouri. There are quite a few amazing things about Missouri -- most noteably, the state insect, the Honey Bee!
Honey Bee Activities, Books & Facts for Kids
While we love a lot about Missouri, I wanted to share a little about the state insect -- the honeybee.
In addition to making honey, bees are so important in the process of pollination. They are the ones that help flowers to grow and garden plants to produce all those wonderful fruits and veggies.
Now I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not overly fond of bees. If I see one coming my way, I never stick around the say 'hello'.
However, if you've been following the news over the past few years, you'll know that bees are endangered -- for some reason, many of them are dying and scientists are trying to find a way to save them.
Many nature center and science museums are trying to help the honeybees by hosting 'indoor' beehives. These are really cool to see because the bees will fly into the hive through a tube that leads to the outdoors and visitors are able to see all the workings of the hive.
If you'd like to see the inside of a beehive, visit this live beehive cam on Explore.org. You can also see the bees up close as they fly into the hive -- kids will be fascinated at seeing a bee up close in a safe way.
And there's a few great books that share more about honeybees, their job as pollinators and what they do all day (man, and I thought I worked hard!) I've included affiliate links for each of the titles too.
The Life and Times of the Honeybee - a wonderful question & answer book that tells kids everything from 'how do bees make honey?' to 'why do bees dance?'
Are You a Bee? (Backyard Books) - help kids to identify bees from other insects with this fun read!
What If There Were No Bees?: A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem - perfect for older kids, this book shows how all living things depend on each other and what can happen if bees were to disappear.
Jump into Science: Honeybees - a great early science book about bees!
The Honey Makers - a great nonfiction book by Gail Gibbons gives the reader an inside look at the life of bees.
The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery - explore why our bees are disappearing & what we can do to help.
The Honeybee Man - learn what it's like to be a bee keeper!
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And we can all help the bees too! No matter what your age, you can be involved in helping to track the bees right in your own backyard or neighborhood.
Join one of the Citizen Scientist projects where anyone (you, me and the kids) can observe bees and report their location online.
This type of data collection will help scientists to better understand what is happening and hopefully help to protect them.
It's easy to do and there are a few different citizen scientist projects you can join:
Be part of the Great Sunflower Project and track pollinators in your own back yard.
Help scientists at the University of California by becoming a ZomBee Hunter and tracking honey bees that fly at night.
If you have a Bumble Bee nest in your yard, you can report the information on the Bumble Bee Nest Survey so scientists know where the bees are living.
Teens and classroom groups will enjoy taking photos of the bees and uploading them as they participate in Bee Hunt!
So the next time you see a bee, don't run away or swat at it. Just let it fly around to the closest plant and watch as it works it's magic to make food for all of us.
Fun Facts about Missouri
There's some amazing things to know about the state of Missouri --
First, the World's Fair was held in Missouri in 1904 where both ice cream cones and iced tea were invented!
Pancake flour was also invented in Missouri in 1889 by the Aunt Jemima company. I know -- PANCAKES! Now that's one invention that our family loves :)
When we read Travels with Charlie: Across the Midwest from Blue Apple Publishing, we also learned that Missouri is home to quite a few caves -- more than 5,600 of them!
Did you know that when you explore a cave it's called spleunking?
We went spleunking last summer and had a great time - it's definately a fun family activity you can enjoy on a hot summer day because cave temperatures are always in the 50's and 60's.
One of the most famous American authors was born in Missouri too -- Mark Twain, the author of the books Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is from the state.
His real name is Samual Clements. When he was younger, he worked on the riverboats and learned some river boat terms. Once he began to write, he decided he wanted a pen name so he used the term 'mark twain' which in river boat language means a water depth of 12 feet or 2 fathoms.
The Pony Express also began in the state of Missouri in 1860.
This old-time delivery service started when settelers moved out west in the 1860s and there wasn't a way to communicate with them. So riders would make the dangerous 2,000 mile journey on horseback to deliver mail -- it took them 21 days to make the round-trip journey!
Virtual Field Trip Across the USA
Are you ready to explore the rest of the country!?
Travel with Charlie and my friends to each of the 50 states, learn a little geography and have a great time doing some awesome activities! See all the activities here --> An InLinkz Link-up
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