With evidence of Spring surrounding us North Floridians this time of year and PBS Kids’ Explore the Outdoors this month, we’ve had the cycles we see in nature on our brains. We had a garden craft activity in mind when we stumbled across a Wild Kratts episode that explores the various jobs of pollinators, so pairing the two seemed like a match made in early childhood educator heaven! We set out to test drive the activity with Apalachee Elementary School’s after school students, who range between Pre-K and First Grade. What follows are instructions for replicating what was an exciting Friday afternoon of learning about that sticky yellow stuff that is oh so effective at coating the windows of our cars!
- Wild Kratts “Flight of the Pollinators” episode (can be found on PBS Learning Media, Netflix, and YouTube)
- full sheets of construction paper
- paper scraps (any kind – the more colors the better!)
- glue sticks
- yellow sand (pollen)
- optional: fresh flowers (with visible stamens & pollen)
Before playing the episode of Wild Kratts, ask your kids to share something they know about pollinators and their jobs. What are some examples of pollinators? Who knows what role that pollinator plays in our ecosystem? Why is that role important? If you have fresh flowers at your disposal, encourage participants to take a close look at them and try to guess what happens when a bee, hummingbird, or other pollinator comes along.
After the conclusion of the episode, discuss the key vocabulary. Ask your kids to share what they learned from the Kratt brothers! So, how do fig wasps spread pollen? What is a hummingbird’s favorite color? Why are bees so important?
Now that we’ve reinforced the learning part, it’s time to craft! This activity is great because it’s entirely open-ended and really allows a wide range of age groups to get creative. Using a whole sheet of colored paper as a base, ask your gardeners to design a flower using scraps of paper. We pre-cut a ton of geometric shapes for our after school group, but feel free to make your kids do that work depending on their scissor skills! This is also an opportunity to reinforce new shapes you may have recently learned.
The bigger the group, the more diverse the garden! Depending on the age group you’re working with, you can direct them to clearly place and identify stems, petals, and stamens, or just let them go crazy and reinforce that vocabulary later.
Once your busy bees have finished gluing down their shapes, ask them to identify the logical location for the pollen. Apply glue using a glue stick to the area they pointed out and then add “pollen” by sprinkling yellow sand over it.
Arrange the flowers to create a garden on your wall, step back, and admire the flora!