Monday, 20 June 2016

The Bee Hotel.....

During the recent half term Katie, Pip and I were invited to go to the Wyevale Garden Centre in Andover, Hampshire to join in with their Busy Bee week.  We had a choice of going to the Perfect Pollinator; Buzzing Bakery or Bee Hotel. In the Perfect Pollinator children planted a Cosmos Sonata (a buzzy bees favourite plant); make a bee cut out and decorate the pot. Buzzing Bakery involved making honey biscuits and decorating a bee cupcake. After much discussion about the potential merits of each session we decided to go along to make some Bee Hotels to put into our garden to offer an hibernation point once the building work has been completed and we have a garden again.

Each of the sessions was aimed at children of a variety of ages so at 3 and 8 Katie and Pip both were able to participate equally and at 20 minutes long it was the perfect length of time to interest our own 'busy bee' Pip and my little 'butterfly' Katie.  There was a colouring activity sheet to keep the children amused as the very entertaining staff set up for the session.  The staff were very friendly and welcoming but incredibly busy as each session flowed seamlessly into the next one and we were impressed with how well they managed the sessions in such a relatively short space of time with about 8-10 children per session and how organised they were.  The two ladies running the session were clearly enjoying themselves as well and were happy to pose for a picture.  Katie, Pip and I gave them a big thumbs up!

Making the Bee Hotel was really very simple and could easily be made at home (even for an "arts and crafts phobic" like my myself).  All that was required was a sturdy cardboard tube with 8 cigarelle-type tubes to fit inside; some straw to keep all the tubes inside and provide insulation; some string to make a tie to hang the hotel up in the garden and some colouring pens and decorations.....

First Katie and Pip decorated the outside of their hotels with colouring pens and stickers.  Katie named her hotel "Lovely Bee Hotel" and wrote that on the outside of the tube. Pip did some enthusiastic mark making that I'm sure any Impressionist artist would be impressed by......

Then we fed the string through the tube and tied the string into a knot so we could hang the hotels up in the garden (the children needed a little help with this bit).....

Next we put the 8 smaller tubes inside the large tube and filled it with lots of straw to keep the tubes snug inside and to provide much needed warmth and insulation for the tiny occupants .......

And that was all there was to it! Very simple yet effective.  We can hang them up in the garden for the bees and other small insects to snuggle into and keep warm and learn lots about our new friends as they come to stay.

After we'd finished our session we had a browse around the garden centre, bought a few gluten free cakes and goodies and collected the children's pre-ordered picnic bags from the restaurant.  This was the only part of the time we spent at the garden centre that was a little problematic for us because the queue at the restaurant was a little lengthy and very slow and my children don't really do standing still and not touching anything particularly well.  I had expected the picnics would be given out as part of the session but the sandwiches are actually made to order so we were directed towards the restaurant. I was feeling quite frazzled by the time we collected our picnics (and having to explain to the member of staff on the till about the pre-order) and I suspect I wouldn't bother ordering the picnics if we went along to another of their events.  I will be keeping a close eye on the Wyevale Garden Centre's events schedule though because the children thoroughly enjoyed making their hotels and the event length was perfect for children who don't cope well with concentrating for long periods of time.  The children came home proudly carrying their bee hotels and I could tell they could confidently do this activity again.

Making the Bee Hotels reminded us all of a song called The Stump Hotel which the children used to watch over and over again on YouTube and drove Daddy and I crazy.  It's the perfect ending for this blog post though. Maybe we could think about making our own Stump Hotel next?

Here is the main events listing page for the Wyevale Garden Centres if you want to find out more about forthcoming activities. There are Wyevale Garden Centres all over the country.


  1. Sounds like a good day out. I loved the Stump Hotel too :~).

    1. I love the Stump Hotel. The song is very addictive and does mess with my mind after a while though 😂😂😂😂

  2. Hi been reading your blog for a while and I know there's no quick fixes for fasd but thought some of the items on here might be interest you might be able to test them if you ask the company as part of your blog

    1. Hi Samatha, thank you for your reply. There are some great looking games on the list. I'll contact the company. I'm not sure if they would want to send me then from Aus though but it's worth asking them. Thanks for the heads up 💕💕