Celebrate National Pollinator Month with Kids!

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Happy National Pollinator Month!  As I ease my family into “slow down summer” mode, I still like to have lots of options for activity and learning at hand, and this is a great start.  June 17 – 23 is “Pollinator Week” this year: a celebration of the vital role pollinators (those four super “Bs:” bees, butterflies, bats, and birds) play in maintaining our ecosystem, contributing to agriculture, and even supporting our economy! The earlier we educate and involve children in understanding pollinators and their importance, the better off we’ll all be. Luckily, kids LOVE this stuff. Here are some fun ways to celebrate National Pollinator Month all June long!

Butterfly House at Ladew Topiary Gardens from a few years ago

Pollinator Events

Butterflies, Bees and Beetles

This event will be held on Sunday, June 9, 10-11am at Burke Lake Park. Learn about pollinators and our environment in this tranquil setting. The trails around the lake are perfect for nature lovers. (There is also a miniature train and carousel to round out the day!) Registration required.

The World And Me: Pollinator Celebration

The Natural History Museum is hosting a celebration on Saturday, June 15, 10-12:30pm on the ground level. The free event is sponsored by the Natural History Museum and Smithsonian Gardens. Youngsters will be able to view different pollinators up close, meet scientists, create their own pollinator-inspired print and more.

Manassas Bee Festival

A fun festival will be on Saturday, June 22, 10am-2pm at the Liberia House and Grounds. It will feature live music, food and drinks, farm animals, vendors, tractor wagon rides, gong bath, drum circle, spelling bee, arts and crafts. There will be opportunity to learn about our native plants and bee population, check out some real honey bee hives, and tour the Mead Garden. Kids may want to dress like a pollinator for the costume parade. An optional sign-up and donation of $20 also includes participation in the 2k “honey hike,” a jar of local honey, and an Adopt-a-Bee badge.

Concert in the Garden 

While not a pollinator-specific event, what better low-key way to celebrate than enjoying a summer evening garden concert? Green Springs Garden has a children’s section and small butterfly area perfect for incorporating the month’s focus. On June 20 from 6-8pm there will also be interactive kids’ activities! Bring your own chairs and picnic dinner.

Consider planning a family outing or two with a focus on learning and appreciating pollinators

Visit a Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Pavilion: Located on the second floor of the Natural History Museum, timed entry tickets are required. Tuesdays are free, but get to the ticket desk early to snag a free timed ticket!

Brookside Gardens: hosts many events for children, has an open-air butterfly garden, children’s garden and even butterfly “hot spots” marked along the walkways.

Ladew Topiary Gardens is home to a pollinator gardens trail and offers ample opportunities for little explorers to learn about pollinators throughout the year. They do have a magical enclosed butterfly house onsite, but note that it doesn’t open until July 5. The grounds here are really lovely and worth spending a day in!

Or, take a trip to the National Zoo to visit the Bird House.

Visit Local Nature Centers or Pollinator Demonstration Sites

  1. Rock Creek Park Nature Center Washington, DC
  2. Kingman & Heritage Islands Washington, DC
  3. Long Branch Nature Center Arlington, VA
  4. Potomac Overlook Nature Center Arlington, VA
  5. Hidden Oaks Nature Center Annandale, VA
  6. Walker Nature Center Reston, VA
  7. Croyden Creek Nature Center Rockville, MD
  8. Watkins Nature Center Upper Marlboro, MD
  9. Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Chantilly, VA (pollinator demonstration site)
  10. Huntley Meadows Park Alexandria, VA (pollinator demonstration site)

(Check out our guide for more places to enjoy nature in the DC area here!)

Get Crafty

Make a hummingbird feeder!

Bee and other pollinator crafts for littles

Or, create a pollinator garden using native plants in sunny spots!

Our Hummingbird Feeder!

Head to local libraries to read favorite books about pollinators:

  1. Senorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer (ages 1 and up)
  2. Monarch and Milkweed by Helon Frost (ages 3-8)
  3. The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner (5- 7)
  4. Know Your Pollinators by Tim Harris (ages 5 and up)
  5. The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale of Africa by Cristina Kessler (ages 6-8)
  6. What if there Were No Bees? By Suzanne Slade and Carol Schwartz (ages 7-9)
  7. Native Pollinators: Bats by Roberta Baxter (8-10)
  8. Animals Help Plants by Mary Lindeen (ages 8-12)
  9. Sip, Pick and Pack by Polly Cheney (8 – 11)
  10. Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw (ages 8-14)

Here are more from our recent library haul (“The Thing About Bees” is already a favorite with my little guy!):

Library Books for Pollinator Month

With school out (or almost out) and summer around the corner, I hope you enjoy celebrating the solstice as a family beginning with National Pollinator Month! For more fun June options in the DMV, check out our guide here.

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Catie Misleh
Catie has lived in the DC area since 2012 and currently resides in McLean, Virginia with her husband, and their son Basil (2020). She spent most of her childhood in California, and then Hawaii before leaving to attend school on the mainland. Like many, after graduating from law school she moved to the DC area for work opportunities and began exploring right away. Now that it is the place she has lived longest, she officially calls it home. Catie describes herself as a hybrid stay-at-home-working mom: she recently started homeschooling her toddler, and also works part-time remotely as a contracts consultant for a nonprofit healthcare system. Favorite things include spending time with her family outdoors, reading, cooking, travel, and exercising. She really, really dislikes being cold, prefers tea over coffee, and enjoys board games as much as binge watching mindless shows after a long day. One of the best parts of momhood for her has been rediscovering all the awesome things this area has to offer through the eyes of her little boy!

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