This is a great project that encourages kids to really think as animals do, and in the process, make something interesting. Ask your child how they think a bird makes its nest and see what she says. Then tell her you are going to be like birds today and make your own nests!
While exploring your own backyard, or a neighborhood park, help your kid gather the items she thinks a bird would need to make a nest. These nests may not look pretty, but kids will understand how hard it is to create something out of what nature has to offer. If she asks for glue, don’t give in. This is a nature only project!
What You Need:
- Pine needles
- Pen or pencil
What You Do:
- Ask your kid what she thinks goes into making a bird’s nest. Write the items down on a piece of paper. Encourage her to think outside the box. If she suggests gum wrappers, for example, go with it.
- Take her outside, either in the backyard or a neighborhood park, and start scavenging for the items that she mentioned. Encourage her to think about what in nature is pliable, what it is sturdy, and what a bird has access to out in the wild.
- Bring the items inside and place them on a newspaper (or, weather permitting, set up outdoors). Have your child try to manipulate the grass and twigs and other items into a bird's nest shape. Tell her not to worry if doesn’t look like a nest. The idea is to get her thinking about what kinds of things would make a nest hold its shape.
- Encourage her to weave items together, like the pine needles and grass. See if she can just use her two fingers, mimicking a bird’s beak, to get items to stick together.
- To take this activity a step further, check out some books at your local library about birds native to your area. See what kinds of things they use to build a nest and how they put them together. Talk about why they build them high up in a tree and whether that is a key element to keeping the nest together.
- Have your child display her nest outside in a tree. You never know, you might make a family of birds very happy to visit!
Lisa M. Cope is a freelance writer who focuses on parenting and child development issues, among many others. She is the mother of two boys, ages five and two.