Do you love eating fresh fruits and enjoying the beauty of colorful flowers? You can thank all the little pollinators in the world for these wonderful gifts. As a mom, you want your little ones to have a deep understanding for how the world works so that they can appreciate everything. Put together pollination crafts and activities so that your children can know who is responsible for the beauty and bounty of the planet.
Finding out what pollen is, and what types of plants and flowers make pollen, is one of the first things young children should learn about the process of pollination. As a mommy, you can find examples of pollination right in your own backyard. Do you have flowering plants or ornamental flowers in your garden? Take a flower clipping to show your children the different parts of the flowers, especially the pollen-producing stamen. If you do not have a flower in your yard or garden, you can find one at the floral department at your grocery store. Lay the flower out on a table where your preschooler can easily see it, and carefully pull the different parts of the flower apart so that your little one can see the stamen, the pistil and the petals. Explain how the pollen from one flower's stamen enters the pistil of another flower to pollinate it.
Kids love crafts, so why not make the crafts educational? Collect a few nature magazines, and give your child a pair of child-safe scissors to cut out pictures of butterflies, flowers, bees, woodland animals and ladybugs. Have your child glue the pictures of the flowers on top of a sheet of craft paper, then glue a pollinator on to each flower. Or, twist together different colors of tissue paper to create a flower with your child, then use a bee finger puppet to "pollinate" the flower by carrying pollen on its legs.
Do you live near an area with a lot of pollinators? If so, you may not even realize it! Look around your area for an apple orchard, bee hives or a butterfly pavilion or moth house. Take your child on a fun field trip to show her a demonstration of pollination in a real-world way. She will get a chance to see bees collecting pollen as they gather nectar from flowers, and ladybugs and butterflies flitting from flower to flower at an apple orchard, spreading pollen along the way. Be sure to watch your little one like a hawk to avoid those bee stings!
So maybe you do not have an orchard or a bee hive in your town. Don't worry! Just pick up a few books about pollination from your local book store or library to read to your child. Choose books that are full of pictures and describe the process of pollination in a language that toddlers and preschoolers can understand. A few tried-and-true pollination children's books include "What Is Pollination?" by Bobbie Kalman, "What if There Were No Bees?" by Suzanne Buckingham Slade and Carol Schwartz and "What Lily Gets from Bee: And Other Pollination Facts," by Ellen Lawrence.
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