From Ludocity
Designer: Holly Gramazio
Year: 2008
Players: 10 to 40
Stuff required: Bouncy head boppers for each player (a different colour for each team - three teams is ideal). Large flowers (felt or paper is fine). Pollen - we used small yellow lumps of plastic intended for floristry weights. A "hive" for each team - something with many divisions, each big enough to accommodate one piece of pollen (egg cartons, cupcake pans, a piece of paper with lots of square drawn on it...). Double-sided tape.
Crew required: One
Preparation: Some.
Time required: 40 minutes.
Place required: Large outdoors area.
Activities: Running, finding, music, child-friendly, teamwork.
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Three teams of bees hunt for pollen, armed only with kazoos and bouncy head boppers.


Choose a large area with clear boundaries. A park, a pedestrianised area, even a large building (if you're allowed to run in it) could be suitable. There should be a base within the area, where the hives are kept.

Make a number of flowers, and stick yellow stones, or "pollen", to each one - anywhere between one grain and ten on each flower. Stick these around the playing area, using the double-sided tape. Don't hide them too well: some on the ground beside benches, some up walls, some on benches.

There should be about 150% as many pieces of pollen as there are holes in all three hives combined.

Instructions for the organiser

Set the hives out in the place you're using as a base.

Gather the players together and divide them into three teams, then hand out the head boppers. Each team should have its own colour of head bopper. Give each player a kazoo, as well; ideally these would match the head boppers, but it doesn't really matter if they don't.

Explain the instructions for players (below) to the players, then send them off to collect pollen. Stand guard over the hives to make sure everyone adheres to the rules.

Instructions for players

Put on your bouncy head boppers; ready your kazoo.

Hidden around the playing area there are flowers with pollen on them. Your job, as a bee, is to find these flowers, pick up a grain of pollen - only one at a time! - and bring it back to your hive. Then go out and find another grain, and then another...

The team who fills up its hive first is the winner. Naturally, you'll therefore want to guide your fellow hive-members to any flowers that you've found (assuming they still have pollen in them). However, as a bee, you can't talk: you can only play your kazoo, or make gestures.

The idea is that, like bees, you will buzz and communicate to fellow team members through movement.

Play history

Bees was first played at Hide and Seek 2008, and was run for children as Be a Bee at the Southbank Centre's Festival of Food in September 2008.

Flickr gallery

<flickr size="m">ludocity%3Agame%3Dbees</flickr>

(These are the ten most recent Flickr photos of Bees. To add your own, just add the "ludocity:game=bees" tag to your Flickr photos.)