BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet

Students use acrylic paint and simple materials to create small bee puppets that also act as musical instruments.

Required Time

140 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola White Glue Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Scissors Crayola Acrylic or Tempera Paint Small Styrofoam balls - 2 per student Toothpicks Wax Paper Small Elastics Pipe Cleaners - Black and Green Googly Eyes Paper Towels Water Containers Paper Plates or Plastic Lids for Palettes Paper Towel Rolls - ½ per student Crayola Scissors

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BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step One

Step One

  1. Stick a toothpick halfway into one of the Styrofoam balls.
  2. Put some glue on the ball where the toothpick is sticking out. 
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Put a little more glue on the toothpick.
  2. Push the other Styrofoam ball into the toothpick to join the two together.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Paint the two balls with yellow acrylic paint. This is your bee.
  2. Set the balls aside to dry.
  3. The paper towel roll will be the handle for your puppet. The bee will fly over it.
  4. Imagine your bee is flying over a garden.
  5. Mix blue and yellow to make green.
  6. Paint the paper towel roll green.
  7. Set it aside to dry.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Once the yellow paint has dried, paint the black bands on your bee.
  2. Set your bee aside to dry.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Cut out a wax paper circle about the size of a roll of masking tape.
  2. Scrunch the wax paper circle into the middle to form two wings.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Place two pipe cleaners together with the end of one extending about 8 cm (3") past the end of the other.
  2. Twist the two pipe cleaners together to make one that is slightly longer, and stronger.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Attach the wings by wrapping one end of the pipe cleaner around the middle of the bee's body and over the wax paper wings.
  2. Twist the pipe cleaner firmly on the underside of the bee's body.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Cut 8 short pieces of black pipe cleaner about 3 cm (1.25") long for the bee's legs and antennae.
  2. Use a skewer to poke holes where the antennae and legs will go. 
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Stick the pipe cleaner pieces into the holes.
  2. Add some googly eyes and paint any features you want on your bee's face.
  3. Wrap the bottom of the pipe cleaner around the paper towel roll.
  4. Twist it firmly in place to attach the bee to the handle.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Cut out a wax paper circle about 10 cm in diameter to cover the end of the paper towel roll.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Attach the wax paper circle to the roll with small elastic bands. 
  2. Make sure the paper is smooth and tight.
  3. Trim off any excess wax paper.
BUZZY BEE – Creating a Kazoo Puppet - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

  1. Use scissors to poke a hole in the top of the paper towel roll about a third of the way from the front.
  2. Make sure the wax paper does not cover it.
  3. This will help the paper to vibrate and make a buzzing sound when you hum through the roll.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a 3-dimensional bee puppet;
  • create a working kazoo;
  • create a dramatization of bees in their habitat;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • respond to the work of their peers.


Have students:

  • explore a variety of materials to discover ways to be creative with them;
  • apply what they have learned to make other insects of their own design;
  • write and perform dramatizations involving insects;
  • video their performances and share them with others.


  1. Prior to making these puppets have students research information about bees.
  2. Gather and make available books about insects and in particular bees, for example, Bugs Are Insects, by Anne Rockwell and Steve Jenkins; The Bee Tree, by Patricia Polacco; The Life and Times of the Honeybee, by Charles Micucci' by John Himmelman; Buzzzzzzzz...: What Honeybees Do, by Virginia Wright; What If There Were No Bees?, by Suzanne Slade; Are You a Bee?, by Judy Allen; and The Honey Makers, by Gail Gibbons.
  3. Download images from the Internet.
    Gathering Pollen
    Bee on Flower
    Honey Bee
    Pollinating Bee
  4. Gather enough paper towel rolls for each student to have half of one.
  5. Gather required art materials.
  6. Create a sample puppet to show students.
  7. If possible get a commercially produced kazoo for comparison.


  1. Display the images of bees in their habitat.
  2. Ask students to share what they know about bees. List information on a chart paper making two columns, one titled 'Visual Characteristics', and one titled 'Other'. Focus on visual characteristics such as body sections, number of wings, number of legs, antennae, and colouring.
  3. Show students your sample and compare it to the list. Notice that this is not an accurate representation of a real bee. Ask students to identify the discrepancies. Real bees have 2 pairs of wings, 3 body sections and 5 eyes.
  4. Demonstrate how the kazoo part of the puppet works by placing your lips inside the tube and making them into an 'O' shape. Make sure no air can escape from the edge of the tube and your lips. Gently hum into the tube to make the paper vibrate. It sometimes takes a bit of practice to make it work.
  5. Explain that a kazoo is an instrument that is similar to instruments found in Africa that have been around for hundreds of years. It works by making a membrane, such as the wax paper, vibrate. You have to hum, not blow into the kazoo to make it work. 
  6. If you have a real kazoo, demonstrate how it works and sounds. You can find a demonstration lesson at the following website:
    How to Play a Kazoo
  7. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a 3-dimensional bee puppet.
  2. Create a working kazoo.
  3. Create a dramatization of bees in their habitat.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Respond to the work of your peers.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - used my own ideas
    created a 3-dimensional puppet
    - created a kazoo that works
    - used the puppet to tell a story about how bees behave in their habitat

    - created a puppet with pieces that stay together
    - shared my ideas with others
  3. Demonstrate each step as you guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Encourage students to assist each other.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement as they work.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects. 
    - Develop a dramatization that teaches something about bees and uses all their bee puppets.
    - Find different ways to use the bee puppets as well as their bodies to animate the puppets.
    - Practice acting out the dramatization so they can present the story effectively.
  3. Have students share their stories with the whole class. 
  4. Once each group has presented ask the class to talk about what was difficult and what was easy, and how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds puppet to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Buzzy_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Buzzy_self-assessment.pdf)