Bird Study Unit
Studying birds is a great way for kids to connect with nature.
“Anything you can teach in an indoor classroom can be taught outdoors, often in ways that are more enjoyable for children.” ~ Cathy James
Birds are not only fascinating animals but they are also one wild animal that just about every child will come into contact with in their life. Studying birds is a great way for kids to connect with nature. We decided to put together the activities and resources that we have used in a Bird Study Unit.
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Bird Study Unit; Free Resources and Activities for Elementary Age Students
There are so many ways to explore birds. An easy way to get started is to watch the birds that come to your yard. If you want to entice the birds to come and visit put out a bird feeder. Kids like to make bird feeders and there are some simple ways they can make them at home. Hanging out and watching the birds come to the bird feeder can be a magical experience. Once the birds are attracted to the feeder have the kids observe the birds, draw pictures and identify what types of birds you see.
Take a nature walk and look for birds!
We had fun walking in the woods and identifying the birds we saw. Once we figured out what birds were nearby we used the Audobon Bird App to play the songs of the nearby birds that we had identified. We put the smartphone on the ground and crept away to watch. It was amazing to see the birds come close in response to the birds call we played. If you are interested, you can check out this list of Bird Apps. If you don’t want to add yet another app to your smartphone visit Urban Bird Sounds Project for some fun, free resources.
Play a Game about Birds
Then we played Chickadees. Put the children in groups of 3 or 4. If you are in an area with nuts or pine cones around you can collect them for this game. Otherwise, bring a bunch of nuts or small objects that they can collect. These objects represent bird food. Put the bird food around the area where you are playing. Then tell the groups of kids to each make their “home nest”. The idea of the game is for one team member to guard the nest while the other team members go out and try to gather or steal bird food to bring back to their nest. If an opposing team member tags you, you must drop any food that you may have collected and return to your nest. The team who collects the most food wins. After the game, talk about how much energy the chickadees used to collect and protect their food.
Explore birds through books!
There are so many great books about birds for the kids, it’s a fun way for them to learn about our feathered friends. We like the National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America for older kids and we like Birds by Kevin Henkes for younger children.
Do some research and learn about birds.
After bird watching outdoors, it was time to do some research.
Flying WILDoffers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as the focus.
Fledgling Birds brings the joy and benefits of birding to others and has a wealth of free resources for children, parents, and educators.
The Audobon Society has a fun web page for kids, it’s worth checking out. We watched some videos and read some books.
For the younger kids, we went on a virtual trip to the San Diego Zoo.
You can check out more fun bird activity ideas at How Stuff Works.
For the older kids, we found some great resources.
We played some Bird Learning Games and visited The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Perhaps the kids want to learn about flightless birds. They are pretty cool.
Learn all about owls by reading all about them and dissecting owl pellets. Kids will love this hands-on learning unit from Kid World Citizen!
Make bird crafts with the kids!
After all the fun learning about birds, we decided it was time to make a craft. We decided to make a Bird Mobile Craft. It was a great way to end our Bird Study Unit. For more Bird Craft Activity ideas you can visit DLTK’s Bird Crafts Activities for Children. We also found that 3 Dinosaurs has some awesome Bird printables that are to be used with children from 2 to 7. We turned a cardboard roll bird craft into a game. Kids will love extending the learning by getting creative with crafts,