By Christy Erickson
Your family has probably been hearing a lot about declining bee populations and these drops are causing concern among many experts. If you are looking for a great way to help these insects while doing a fun project with your children, consider starting a bee garden together. Even beginners can make an impact and this is a wonderful learning opportunity for kids of all ages.
Gardening with children can help counteract damage to bee populations
Bee Built details that 75 percent of the world’s flowers depend on pollinators in order to reproduce, with bees being the most efficient pollinator. Dozens of food crops rely on this process and experts say that one out of three bites of food we eat are connected to bee pollination. Unfortunately, environmental changes are causing population drops in many bee species and this could soon take a serious toll on many types of plants and crops.
Gardening is a wonderful opportunity for kids to get outside, learn valuable skills, and bond with their parents. In the case of a bee garden, the family receives the bonus benefit of helping this troubled population as children develop their science, math, and art skills. You may want to start by checking out some books from the library to read about bees and their importance and then dig into the planning process.
Find the right spot and pick your plants
As you develop your family bee garden, take a look at the space you have available. There are plenty of options you can use when it comes to gardening, even if you don’t have a lot of space. Pick a spot in your yard or do some container gardening on your deck or patio.
Consider how much light and shade you have and focus on choosing plants that are native to your area. Parents recommends focusing on an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day, and the ideal spot will also be fairly sheltered from the wind as well.
Once you have picked an area, it is time to make your plant selections. You can go with either seeds or established plants, and there are pros and cons to each. Seeds give your child the opportunity to watch the full cycle of plant growth, but they may take a long time to mature. On the other hand, established plants will give your family faster results and they may be easier for little hands to manage. However, this route does leave out some learning possibilities.
Kid and bee-friendly picks include plants like honeysuckle, verbena, lavender, marigolds, sunflowers, and cosmos. Focus on flowers with single blossoms and incorporate a variety so you have blooms opening throughout the season. Natural Herbal Living shares that it helps to plant groups of the same types of flowers together in order to attract bees and you may want to go for colors like purple, yellow, blue, and white.
Take precautions with your children in your bee garden
There are some safety issues to consider when you have children creating a bee garden. Skip using pesticides, as they are dangerous to both bees and kids. You want to avoid bee stings while working with your kids in the garden, so teach little ones not to bother these insects and to stand still if one lands on them. Wear closed-toed shoes in the garden and avoid wearing brightly-colored prints or having sweet drinks or food nearby.
Creating a bee garden with your children provides a wonderful opportunity for bonding, learning, and helping a species that is in a precarious position in our environment. Rely on plants that will attract bees and do well in the space you have available, and go for a variety of colorful single blooms. Keep kids safe by avoiding pesticides and stings and cherish this fun time you have together as you make your mark in protecting these valuable assets to our environment.[Photo via Pixabay]