Activity: Dress like a Bird
Go over the characteristics of birds: wings, feathers, beaks, feet, eggs, and nests. Using a bird costume, dress someone up as a bird.
Activity: Alphabet Bird Card Game
The purpose of this game is to help children recognize the beginning letter of a bird’s name. Give each child a laminated card with a letter on it and have them tell you the name of the letter. Show the children laminated picture of birds with names that begin with the letters the children have been given. Arrange the bird names that begin with the letters the children have been given. Arrange the bird pictures on the floor in front of the children. Ask each child to put their letter card on top of the bird whose name starts with that letter. Put a bird sticker on their shirt if they are correct. Play again by giving each child a different letter. The child with the most stickers is the winner.
Activity: Fly Away
Let your children pretend to be birds. Make a set of wings for each child by cutting a pair of wing shapes out of construction paper and taping them to his or her wrists. Let you “birds” experiment with their wings. Have them show you how they fly fast and slow, high and low. Ask them to swirl and twirl in the sky as they fly carefully around the room.
Activity: Bird Wings
Let your children create their bird wings, using a paper towel tube. Draw a straight line from the top of the tube down to the bottom. Cut along this line. Cut different colored crepe paper into strips and tape or staple along the cut line. Children can then slip the paper towel tube onto their arm and flap their wings.
Activity: Feather Painting
Who needs a paintbrush to paint? Let tot paint using a feather. You won’t need to give them instructions; just let them do what comes naturally.
Activity: Feather Rubbings
Place a feather under a piece of paper. Show your tot how to make a rubbing using the side of a crayon (paper removed). Try different feathers and different crayons.
Activity: Easy Bird Feeders
String Cheerios or old pretzels onto yarn. Tie the ends together and hang in a tree here or bring it home.
Activity: Pine cone Feeders
Have children pick out a pine cone, tie a string to its top end. Using spoons, children can smear either vegetable shorting or peanut butter onto the pine cone. Roll pine cone into birdseed, place into zippered back for children to hang on a tree at home.
Activity: Drumlin Farm Fruit Bird Feeder
Birds will love this winter treat! Take a grapefruit or an orange and cut in half. Core out the fruit inside the peel (kids can eat this part). Punch three holes into the peel’s sides and attach strings so you can hang the feeder. The children can mix the following ingredients together to make a bird pudding. Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 4 cups birdseed, 1 cup hot water, 2 cups oatmeal, 1 pound lard or vegetable shortening. Then mix! The children can spoon the bird pudding in the fruit feeder.
Activity: Biscuit Bird Feeders
Encourage your children to feed their fine-feathered friends with these easy-to-make bird feeders. Open a tube of refrigerated biscuits. Have your child poke a hole into the middle of the biscuit. Lay the biscuit into a bowl of bird seed until it’s covered in seed. Lay the biscuit on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake as directed. When it’s cool, tie a string through the hole and then hang your new bird feeder outside. Put close to a window so all can watch the birds devour every bite.
Activity: Bagel Bird Feeder
Use day old bagels for another easy bird feeder. Have the children spread shortening onto one half of a bagel. Push bagel shortening side down into bird seed. Place a string though the hole in the bagel and hang outside.
Activity: Egg Sort
Count the eggs. Have your tot sort eggs into egg cartons. They can choose to sort by color or size.
Activity: Egg Maracas
Place a couple popcorn kernels, rice, dried beans, or small pebbles in a plastic egg. Let child shake it and dance to their own music. What does it sound like if you put other things in the egg? Try grass, bark, berries, etc.
Activity: Paper Tube Binoculars
Staple or tape two toilet paper tubes together. A paper towel tube cut in half can be used instead of toilet paper tubes. Attach a string to each tube so that the binoculars can be hung around the neck. Decorate with stickers, crayons, or markers. This can be a strangle hazard. Do not connect tubes or do not add strap to prevent this hazard.
Activity: Bird Watching
Tots are fascinated by birds. Spend some time watching them. Count them. Notice that different birds come to different types of feeders. Why do you think that is? Notice the different colors on the birds. Birds are often more colorful in the summer than they are in the winter. Are birds big or small? Slow or fast? Can you fly like a bird?
Activity: Scavenger Hunt
How many birds can you find inside the conservation center?
Activity: Bird Zipline
Ahead of time, make cardboard cut-outs of common birds in flight (red-winged black bird, cardinal, blue jay, Canada goose, owl, robin, bluebird, chickadee, goldfinch and woodpecker). Glue a TP tube or a 1” drinking straw to the back of each cut-out bird. Then put the string through the TP tube or straw and allow the birds to zip along the string. Explain about bird migration. Take children on a hike through a backyard or a park. Place zipline in a tree and have students follow along with binoculars and identify each as they zip past. Or have children lie on their backs with their binoculars while you send a cutout bird down the zipline.
If children are unfamiliar with these birds, make a poster showing what the birds would look like if they were perching on a tree. In a circle, have the children match the bird perching with the bird in flight and identify each bird.
Activity: The Best Nest
Discuss some bird facts with the children, for example, all birds hatch from eggs, but not all birds build nests (killdeer, ostriches, penguins do not build nests). Now provide nest-building materials, including glue, tag board or paper bowls. Let your child create their own bird nest.
Activity: Nesting Sack
Providing birds with nesting materials is a satisfying activity for children. Begin by collecting grass, bits of yarn, small twigs, dog hair, and dryer lint. Have the children stuff these items into a netted onion sack and then pull bits of yarn, etc. out of the holes of the sack. Hang the sack in a bush or on a branch in the spring. Watch the bird zoom in!
Activity: Examine Real Nests
Look at the nests available. What do birds use to make nets? Do you think you could make one using your mouth and your feet? Try it!
Activity: Examine Real Eggs
Let the children experiment with real eggs. Try the next activity to test the strength of an egg. Then let the children crack open an egg into a bowl and explain that a baby bird will grow inside a wild egg using the yolk as food. Serve hard-boiled egg slices to compare a cooked egg to a raw egg. Scramble some eggs to eat.
Activity: One-fisted egg
Have you ever wondered why the eggs don’t break when Mama sits on them? Try this experiment at home. Wearing a rubber glove, place an egg in the palm of your hand. Squeeze with your fingers evenly. If the pressure is evenly distributed, the eggshell will resist cracking. If you squeeze more tightly with one finger, the egg will crack. Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?
Activity: Egg Sizes
The largest egg in the world is the ostrich egg and the smallest is the bee hummingbird egg. Real and wooden eggs can be purchased through Acorn Naturalists. The eggs are life-sized and colored correctly.
Activity: Clay Eggs
Using different colored model magic, have children roll clay into egg shapes. Let the clay dry and they can decorate the eggs.
Activity: Feather Match
Cut two feathers out of each color of construction paper. Make a memory game, by gluing the feather onto index cards. For a more advanced game, cut birds out of the same color of construction paper. Have your tot match the feather to the bird.
Activity: Hatching-egg Surprise
Draw a large egg on a sheet of construction paper and cut it out. Cut the egg in half by making a jagged line. Poke a hole in a corner of each half of the shell and hold the halves together with a paper fastener. Hand out the baby bird picture and have the children color it. Have the children glue the bird to the bottom half of the shell so its head and neck are showing. When you close the shell, you should not be able to see what’s inside.
Activity: Body Parts
Show the children pictures of different birds, including an owl, a duck with webbed feet, a long-legged water bird (like a great blue heron), a robin, a woodpecker, and a songbird. Talk about the different body parts of birds and how they may be used. Children should be able to identify and match the feet to the picture of the bird. How are the birds similar and different from each other?
Now compare the bird’s beaks to what they eat. Fat-beaked birds eat seeds (cardinal), long-pointed beaked birds eat worms and bugs (robin), hooked beaked birds eat meat (red-tailed hawk).
Activity: Eagle Sack Puppet
Cover the FLAP of the paper bag with white paper (just glue it on and trim) or paint it white and let dry. Glue the feather tuft to the top of the HEAD. Glue the eyes onto the HEAD just under the feathers. If you like, you can use wiggly eyes instead of the paper template pieces. Glue the beak under the eyes. It will likely hang down over a little bit of the BODY. Make sure you just put glue on top of the beak (where it touches the HEAD) so you don’t end up gluing the mouth shut. Glue the wings into the FLAP. Glue the feet onto the bottom of the BODY. Glue the tail onto the BACK.
Activity: Flying Birds
Using stuffed Audubon birds or stuffed animal birds, have the children try to toss these toys into a nest basket.
Activity: Sensory Seed Box
Fill a large container with bird seed. Use cups, containers, and spoons to fill and dump just like you would in a sandbox. Hide plastic birds and eggs in the box. Ask your tot to feel around and find the hidden items. Be aware of tree nut and peanut allergies. Some bird seed mixes contain nuts and peanuts. Read the label of the bird seed carefully.
Songs and Poems
Birds, Nests and Babies
(Sung to: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The birds are building nests,
The birds are building nests,
With twigs and grass and mud and string,
They’re using everything.
And when the nests are done,
The mother lays the eggs,
She sits on them to keep them warm,
And safe from any harm.
Sunggles down inside
An egg so creamy white,
Was a tiny little bird
With its head tucked tight.
Then it tilted its head,
Tapped the egg with its beak,
And quickly popped out.
Tweet, tweet, tweet.
Feed the Birds
(Sung to Row, row, row your boat”)
Feed, feed, feed the birds
In the wintertime.
When the days are dark and cold,
Food is hard to find.
Feed, feed, feed the birds
Till the spring has come.
Scatter birdseed on the snow.
Feeding birds you know!
Will You Read To Me?
Take time to enjoy a story.
City Birds by Heather Macleod
About Birds by Cathryn Sill
Birds by Kevin Henkes
Whose Chick are You? by Nancy Tafuri
In the Nest by Anna Milbourne
Pocket Bird Nests!
This simple activity invites children to pretend they are birds building a nest for their babies. Pocket bread will serve as the foundation for the nest. On separate dishes, serve lettuce, cold cuts, cut-up vegetables—anything your children would like on a sandwich. Messy but marvelous. For dessert, serve gummy worms.
Create your own bird snack gorp using the food provided. Food suggestions: sunflower seeds, peanuts, raisins, Cheerios, gummy worms, gummy bugs, beetles (M&Ms), dried fruit bits, goldfish crackers.
Activities provided by:
E Resources Group
2550 Stagecoach Road
Webster City, Iowa 50595-7375
Toddling on the Wild Side was supported by REAP-CEP
Iowa Early Learning Standards:
1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.3, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.3
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