Some of our most favorite learning experiences are those that are spontaneous. The turtle in our tub and raising tadpoles to frogs both bring back such great memories...and they happened without any planning on my part (in the beginning anyway). Recently, we found a bird's nest in a potted plant on our front porch. We loved looking at those tiny babies so we traded in our frog books for books about birds. And "birds" became the theme around our home.
We filled our book basket with these titles:
Flap Your Wings by P.D. Eastman (reader)
A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Jenkins (reader)
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert (reader)
Guess What's Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada (reader)
The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman (reader)
Birds by Kevin Henkes (reader)
About Birds by Cathryn Sill (reader)
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston (reader/written in cursive)
Backyard Birds by Jonathan Latimer (resource book)
Eyewitness Explorers: Birds by Jill Bailey (resource book)
DK Eye Wonder: Birds by Samantha Gray (resource book)
Thunder Birds by Jim Arnosky (resource book/beautiful illustrations)
Birds, Nests, and Eggs by Mel Boring (resource book)
Draw 50 Birds by Lee Ames (art resource)
During "book basket" time, Old Crow would enjoy reading through these titles. Crazy Horse and Memphis Belle also loved some of the fun readers.
Along with the book basket, here are some activities we did to enjoy our time learning about birds.
1. Observe the bird's nest daily...but never touch. The no touching part was also a daily lesson. ;)
From our window we could see the mama bird bring food to the nest.
We pulled out our Bird Handbook and learned that our birds were House Wrens.
2. Take a nature walk and look for other nests. Before we left our yard, we had already found three.
3. Read aloud Mr. Popper's Penguins. Once we completed the book, we also enjoyed the movie.
4. Once the baby birds left our nest, we removed the nest and investigated.
We carefully looked through the nest to see what materials the birds used.
We found pinestraw, twigs, leaves, grass, and hair.
5. We gathered our own natural materials and created a nest craft. Memphis Belle enjoyed being the Mama Bird. During our readings, we learned that the male House Wren builds several nests and lets his mate choose the one to use. So Old Crow didn't mind this project...he enjoyed being the Daddy Bird. :)
6. We created bird feeders using an empty toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seed.
Super simple and lots of fun!
7. Old Crow used the book Draw 50 Birds to learn how to draw a bird. The book gives step-by-step instructions. He chose a falcon.
8. To complete our study on birds, we plan to visit our local bird sanctuary.
I'll end with this wonderful email we received from a friend who knew we were studying birds.
Only a creation by God could have the knowledge and wisdom to complete such a perfect home.
"I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine."