So I made bird flash cards and got a bird poster for Sam back over 100 days ago! Wow, that sounds a lot further back when you say it in numbers. Well, we did get birds over the winter like I wanted but not that many. We had to sit for quite a while in order to see just a few. Sam never really got into using the flash cards and poster because there wasn't enough birds at once to hold her interest. Now with our nice new set up we are getting a lot more birds. Finches, morning doves, cardinals, juncos, chickadees, sparrows and grackels are all visiting our deck these days.
Both Sam and Avery like to sit by the big back doors and watch the birds.
Since the birds are cooperating and both girls have such an interest I got our flash cards and poster back out. At first I was just using the poster and cards to help us figure out what bird we were looking at outside and then showing the card and/or poster picture to Sam. But she figured out that once we saw a bird, she could first find the card and then find the bird on the poster (the do kind of blend in on the poster making more like a seek-and-find kind of picture), placing the card on top of the picture on the poster. She loves matching games and watching her create this sequence of matching over and over again is so fun.
Sam has also started asking Avery if she can see the birds out on the deck, which bird it is and where it is on the poster. Avery points and gets excited when there is a bird to watch but doesn't have a clue yet what the cards and poster are about. But it is fun to watch Sam "teaching" Avery.
The Nitty Gritty!
There are a lot of things that would be great to partner with indoor bird watching for toddlers. We have quite a few bird books that Sam really enjoys (need to get more of these up over at Must See Children's Books, sorry about that). Puppets would be great too so that kids could mimic the behaviors that they see the real birds doing. We have also colored bird pictures to try and match the colors that we see outside. And then of course the best is going for walks and trying to find them outside!
For the teachers that read my little blog I wanted to share some neat ideas that you can do with a group of kids -
Bird dress up -
- Have the kids list the characteristic of birds that make them unique. Wings, beak, feathers, talons, lay eggs, hollow bones, good eye sight...
- Then have a piece of dress-up for the kids to put on that represents each item. Paper wings with feathers they can glue on. Hollow bones can be straws tied together that they can tie on their arms and legs. Plastic forks can be used to simulate talons on their feet. Binnoculars can be used to represent the good eye sight. You get the idea.
Bird Eating activity -
- Set up stations that represent the different types of bird beaks and the different types of food.
- Long fish eating beaks (like herons) - set up a bucket that has rubber fish, frogs and snakes in it. Then give the kids long cooking tongs to try and catch the items with.
- A log with holes drilled in it that then has a piece of rice inserted into each hole. Give the kids tweezers to try and remove the rice with. (woodpeckers trying to get insects)
- Put nuts and seeds into a tray and give the kids pliers to try and break open the shells (seed eaters like cardinals).
- Place pieces of cut up straw in a shallow container of water (with lots of room to float around). Then give the kids a strainer to try and catch the floating food (ducks catching plants on top of the water).
- For older kids you can simple set up the stations and hand them all the tools and let them figure out which tool works best at each station.
- At the end discuss what birds they think would have beaks that work like those tools.
I have done both of these activities at the two centers I have worked at The Central WI Environmental Station and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. They are GREAT activities for giving kids a better idea of what it is like to be a bird. Just thought I would share some fun classroom activities with everyone today!