Smelly Pots

Now that you have made your bee let’s fly them around the yard together. Make sure your stick has lots of room. Let’s see what your bee finds to sniff and smell.

You will need:

Once you’ve had your bit of fun with your bee, hang her somewhere safe and choose some delicious smelly things to add to your pots. You can just put one thing in each pot or mix one or two together.

Have a smell. Is it delicious?

Get your fat stick and squish those leaves, grasses and flowers into the bottoms of your cups.
Make sure to squish lots and smash up all those pieces. You could add a tiny bit of water to your cup if that helps you mix and squish.

Now smell. Is it different?

Squishing and smashing the leaves helps release some of the scents just like when you dig in your garden you can smell the earth because you’ve stirred it all up.

Let’s bring those pots into your play area and mix up some treats for your friends.

Have fun!

To the grownups:

Making potions is one of those activities almost all children enjoy. Keep the play going by letting your child have a little bit of water and some scissors to pour, scoop, snip and mix into many many different jars and containers.

Ideally there is somewhere in your backyard set up as a kind of kitchen mud area but really anywhere works.

Bring it inside:

You can extend this activity indoors further by making your own smelly pots and having your children guess what the smells are. Use a cup or a jar, wrap paper around the edges if it’s clear and cover the top with a tissue and rubber band. Some ideas to put in your jars are:

  • citrus peels
  • fresh pine needles or sap
  • coffee
  • lavendar buds
  • garlic

Playdough Prompt

If you have a mortar and pestle at home it is a wonderful tool to add to your children’s playdough play.
Gather some whole dried leaves and herbs and include them in a playdough set up.

Rosemary is a fun one and dried flowers like lavendar. If you really want your child to work throw a few all spice balls in the mix. Beware you might end up stepping on the ones that jumped away 😉

You could add scissors and longer pieces of herbs for them to trim into the playdough on another occasion.

Make a Map

Now that you have gotten to know your backyard really really well I wonder if you could make a map of it?

We might use these maps later to hide some treasure so feel free to make lots of maps and try again if you don’t like it.

I’ve probably drawn hundreds of maps in my life time and some of them went straight in the trash while some of them we used for our scavenger hunt games.

You will need:

  • Piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • A clipboard or hard surface to draw on
  1. Sit in your backyard facing North.
    If you don’t know where North is ask your grownup to help you find the direction the North Thompson River flows from. In Kamloops that’s North.
  2. Draw an arrow pointed straight up in the top right corner of your map and put an N on the top of it.
  3. Draw a circle on your map where ever there are big trees.
  4. Draw squares where ever there are buildings like sheds or playhouses.
  5. Draw a triangle where your favorite things are in the yard.
    Maybe you built your fort next to your shed, put a triangle there. Maybe you have a place you like to dig, put a triangle there.
  6. Draw a flower everywhere your bee found something yummy to sniff.

When you are done your map find something to hide for your grownup. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal or a plastic animal or a truck. Something a little bit small.

Put an X on your map where you hid the treasure.

Now see if your grownup can read your map and find the treasure!

To the grownups:

Older siblings will LOVE to help make very detailed maps so they can join in on the fun.

You can keep the fun going by making your own map of your backyard. Just follow the same instructions above. The key is including any large obvious landmarks to help give your child a reference point.

Add to the excitement by hiding the map somewhere mysterious like in a bottle or rolled up with a ribbon around it.

Hide a treasure for them to find and mark the spot on the ground and on the map. A couple sticks will do. Keen nature eyes will spot the x that might be missed at first glance. Remember we are sneakily building skills here 😉

If your child is allowed to dig in their yard feel free to bury that treasure. Not much beats the excitement of a shovel hitting something hidden below.

Backyard Bumble Bee

This week we are going to make a bumble bee together. When you are done making your bee we will take it on a journey through your backyard and see what interesting things she finds there.

You may have seen a few bumble bees already this year, maybe you thought they looked very big!

The first bumble bees you see in the spring are almost always queens looking for a nesting site. Bumble bees around here tend to make nests deep underground or in very undisturbed parts of yards like siding, under stairs and eves. Bumble been nests are generally quite small and only used for about four months before the queen moves out to find somewhere to hibernate until next year.

You will need:

  • A cone (alder, pine, fir, whatever you can find)
  • Yellow yarn or wool
  • A scrap of stiff clear plastic or netting
  • A long piece of string
  • A stick half as long as your arm

Have a watch of this little video from Essex Wildlife Trust to see how you can make your little bee on a stick. She is making a mobile but we are going to just have one been on a stick.