Make Like a Bird and Nest

What You Need:

  • Sticks, grass, leaves, pine needles, or other found natural materials
  • Newspaper
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child what they think a bird's nest is made of. Write the items down on a piece of paper.
  2. Take your child outdoors, either in your backyard or to a neighborhood park. Start scavenging for the items that they mentioned. Encourage them to consider what in nature is pliable, what it is sturdy, and what a bird has access to out in the wild. 
  3. Take care to use caution when picking up found materials. Be sure, too, that you are not taking items from a park or public area that are not permitted to leave the vicinity, and only take the small amount you need.
  4. Bring the items you have collected inside and place them on a newspaper (or, weather permitting, on an outdoor setup). Have your child attempt to manipulate the grass and twigs and other items into a bird's nest shape. Tell your child not to worry if doesn’t look like a nest. The idea is to get them thinking about what kinds of things would make a nest hold its shape.
  5. Encourage your child to weave items together, such as pine needles and grass. See if your child can just use two fingers, mimicking a bird’s beak, to get items to stick together.
  6. To take this activity a step further, check out some books at your local library about birds native to your area, or do some online research. Discover what kinds of things birds use to build a nest and how they put them together. Talk about why birds often construct their nests high up in a tree. Does this impact how the nest is held together? What are some example of unusual bird's nests, either in your area or elsewhere? 
  7. Once your child's nest is completed, have them display it indoors or outdoors, or even in a tree. You never know — this new home may be discovered by a family of birds!

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