You will need
- Paper drinking straws
- Bamboo canes
- Clean, empty plastic bottles (two litres)
- Natural materials (for example, leaves, twigs, feathers)
- Dead hollow stems from garden plants (optional)
- Small saw
Before you begin
- Ask everyone to collect empty two litre plastic bottles, clean them, and bring them in. You’ll need enough for everyone to have one each.
- If you don’t have any paper drinking straws, you could roll up pieces of scrap paper.
Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:
- Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
- Make sure people wash their hands before using any equipment and again straight afterwards.
- Clean equipment between different people using it.
- Remind everyone to stay a safe distance apart at all times.
Make your bee hotel
- The person leading the activity should ask everyone what food bees give us.
- Everyone should chat about the ways that bees are really important. Why are they important for people? What do they do for biodiversity (the variety of plants and animals in a certain space)?
- Everyone should think about how what they could do to help to protect bees. One thing people can do to help bees is to make them safe spaces to shelter – like these simple bee hotels.
- The person leading the activity should give everybody a plastic bottle. Using scissors, everyone should carefully cut the top and bottom off their bottle.
- Everyone should loop a piece of string through their bottle, so that it can be hung up outside.
- Everyone should gather enough bamboo canes, stems, and straws to fill their bottle. They should check that they’re hollow, with open ends for bees to burrow in.
- Everyone should use the scissors and saw to cut the canes, stems, and straws so that they are nearly the same length as their bottle – they should make them a few centimetres shorter, so they don’t get wet in the rain and go mouldy.
- Everyone should push their canes, stems and straws into the bottle. They should add smaller twigs and stems in the gaps to make sure it’s tightly packed.
- Everyone should think about where they’ll put their bee hotels. They should go in a sunny spot that’s at least one metre off the ground. It’s best to choose somewhere that’s sheltered from the rain.
- The person leading the activity should explain that it’s best to move the bee hotel in autumn and winter – they should go into a dry, unheated space like a shed. Everyone should think about where they could move their bee hotel in autumn.
- Everyone should share any other ideas on what they could do to help bees.
What did people learn about bees in this activity? Was anything surprising? People could think about the jobs bees do and the reasons they’re in trouble at the moment.
How do people feel about bees? Perhaps some people feel worried for the bees, frustrated that not enough is being done, or relieved they’ve taken action to help.
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people
- Sharp objects
Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.