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Have you been outdoors at any point during the past few weeks? Of course, you have! So, of course, you’ve encountered at least one of them.

They are small, a little bit fuzzy, nattily clad in black and yellow—like miniature Pittsburgh sports fans, and get a bad rap because of the whole stinging thing.

Yep, bees are everywhere this time of year but there are fewer of them than ever. And believe it or not, that’s not a good thing. Sure, your next picnic may be more peaceful but bees are incredibly important to ensuring you’ve got tasty fresh food to fill your picnic basket! Still not sure if bees are essential to the natural world? Allow The Not-Its! to convince you that bees are, in fact, the bee’s knees…naturally!

Bees are incredibly fascinating creatures that the world desperately needs. Without bees doing their pollinating work, a gigantic portion of our fruit, nut and vegetable supply could disappear completely. How bees find their way from plant to plant to pollinate, to their family members, and back to their hive is also extremely fascinating. While a honeybee has five eyes—two of which are compound eyes giving it a wide field of vision and allowing it to spot rapid movement—it’s a bee’s sense of smell that is most remarkable! A honeybee has a sniffer 100 times more powerful than a human’s and can help it locate scents miles away.

This simple and fun sensory honeybee smelling activity will help your child appreciate the special smelling talents of honeybees and hopefully will make them understand how necessary they are to the future of food!

What You’ll Need

  • smelly stuff (two of each, for example: oranges, cinnamon, gummy vitamins, mints, mustard, pickles, flowers, and honey, of course!)
  • containers
  • plastic wrap
  • sharp pencil
  • bandana
  • black and yellow construction paper for a more crafty, bee-inspired blindfold (optional)

The hardest part of this honeybee smell test may be the smelling itself…if you are anything like me right now with allergies stuffing up your nose! But, assuming you and your kiddos still possess the ability to smell, here’s how to set up this honeybee smelling activity matching game.

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Getting Started

Line up a series of containers at the end of your kitchen table, one container for every smelly item you plan on using. Place an odoriferous sample in each container. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap and then use the sharp pencil to poke several small holes in the top — to make smelling the goodies possible but not too easy. Make less holes for the really pungent stuff like cinnamon and more for flowers, nuts and mint candies. Repeat the process down at the other end of your table. If you have a round table then you’ve got all curves and no ends, so just make the best of it!

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Make sure that when you are done, you have two of each sample (one on each end of the table) so that your little one can find the match. Now jumble up the order of one set of containers to make this smelling activity a true challenge!

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How To Play

Have your child take a good strong sniff of the first sample at one end of the table, inhaling the scent through the small holes in the plastic wrap. Instruct them to store that smell away as they buzzzzzz their way to the other side of the table where you’ve placed the second set of samples. Now, see if they can be like a bee and locate the matching scent.

Let them continue fluttering from side to side until all the smelly matches have been discovered.

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Congratulations, you’ve now got an adorable little honeybee in your family! And Music for Sprouts has got a charming theme song for you and your kids.

Learn More About The Disappearance of Honeybees

You can help the honeybees! Read about the bee shortage, its impact on the world’s food supply and the economy, and what we all might do to keep our black and yellow friends pollinating for years to come.

More Adventures in Learning

About Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle is an at-home dad who writes humorously about parenting and All Things Childhood on his site Out With The Kids. He is married to an adorable redheaded gal and has two lovely little ladies 12 and under who provide him with countless hours of humorous in-home entertainment, and who get to hear, see, and play with more cool stuff than you can possibly imagine.

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  • Debbie

    Sounds like a fun activity, Jeff. I shared it with my neighbor, who has two kids. Lily and I have faulty sniffers after years of allergies, so we would probably get them all wrong.

  • Brian K

    I love this, and the music too! Hmm, would you recommend letting the kids know what the possibilities are before they have to guess, or keep the smells themselves secret? That would make it tougher, I’d think!