Our last day of school was Wednesday so we’ve started our bird unit. It was a beautiful day out yesterday and I figured bird watching would be more exciting at the park, so we attempted to go on our first real trip out since the pandemic started. There is a park nearby that we love to go to that has a pond, stream, lots of walking trails and always has tons of wildlife to observe. I printed out the bird scavenger hunt that I made and we headed out with everyone very excited to finally be going somewhere other then our own backyard after exactly 70 (whoa!) days.
Once we got into the van we quickly realized that our windows were not functioning properly (only one would roll down). That’s ok, we’ll use the A/C. Nope, the A/C was also not working. I guess that’s what happens when you leave a 13 year old minivan sitting undriven for 2 months. I guess we were lucky it started. But it’s ok, we’re finally getting out! Woo-hoo! Everyone was still in good spirits as we got to the park, albeit warm. Yay! The park! But the excitement quickly dissipated as we realized the gates were locked. The sign read “Closed due to COVID-19”. They even had someone guarding the park to make sure no one entered! That’s ok, I thought. We’ll head somewhere else.
I remembered another trail spot that was close by, with a waterfall. That would be nice. We headed there instead, but everyone must have had that idea because that spot was so overcrowded we couldn’t park to stay. At this point the kids were ready to go home. Well, minus Purpleicious who slept the entire time. I forgot how much that kid liked car naps. Anyway, we decided to head home.
As we were getting closer to home Animal Lover said she was feeling car sick. Awesome. “Just try to relax, we’re almost home.” She used to get car sick all the time, and had grown out of it but I guess driving for the first time in so long triggered it again. She luckily made it all the way home and out of the van before she threw up all over out front steps with the neighbors watching.
Even though the park didn’t work out, in just the past two days in the backyard, we’ve seen probably half of the birds on the scavenger hunt so far, and hopefully our homemade bird feeders will attract some more.
To make the feeders I collected up a bunch of recyclables and some other supplies and let the kids decide how they wanted to make them. We came up with two designs. I’m not sure how well either will hold up, but they were fun to make. We filled up our “real” bird feeder as well.
Design #1 was made out of a yogurt container with an extra yogurt container lid on the bottom as a base. We cut holes at the bottom of the container so the bird seed would fill the base. Then we hot glued craft sticks to the bottom as perches and hot glued some ribbon to the sides so we could hang it and still be able to open the lid to refill.
Design #2 was made out of a gallon milk jug. It had a hole cut in the side and a craft stick inserted as a perch. While I was supervising the cutting of jugs and the hot glue gun, Purpleicious got tired of gluing craft sticks together and took off. I later found out she had decided to try to shove the craft sticks down the bathroom sink. Luckily they didn’t fit.
My kids always love playing with 3 part cards so I made some bird ones that pair with Safari LTD’s backyard bird TOOB. I started off by placing them all in a bucket of bird seed since I had that readily available from the bird feeders. All three of my kids love sensory bins of any sort, especially Chaosman and Purpleicious. They both will sit and play with any sort of sensory bin for a long time and this was no different. Purpleicious just had the one set of cards and would match all the birds up with the figure and name each one. I gave Animal Lover and Chaosman all the cards and they would match the name with the bird and then check their answers with the card that had both the bird picture and name.
Math is my least favorite subject personally, so I feel like I am always trying to find fun manipulatives and games that will make it more tolerable. I made these math cards with eggs and nests to go with the bird theme and we’ve been using them for counting, adding and subtracting. We’ve also been using these wooden easter eggs and nests with them.
Chaosman said these were “too easy” so he decided to draw number cards and put the eggs into the nests to form multiplication facts. Then he would transfer them to the whiteboard. He is a math lover and clearly gets it from Daddy, not Mommy.
We’ve played a few of the bird themed board games already. The favorite seemed to be bingo. I’m always surprised how much my kids enjoy bingo. You would think it would not be that entertaining after awhile but they love different themed bingo games. Bird Bingo from Laurence King publishing is beautiful and well made, but I wish it had more birds that were native to our area. Because these were more “birds of the world” when we would pick a bird we would look it up in the bird book and find where it lived and then Animal Lover would find it on the globe for us.
In case anyone was wondering ostriches are native to Africa, not Australia. Why did I think they lived in Australia and why did I question Animal Lovers knowledge of the topic??! Perhaps I confused them with emus? Who knows.
Since the Bird Bingo game we had covered world birds, I decided to make a bird bingo game that was just North American birds, so that it would contain more birds that we would be able to see in our area.
That’s all the birding I have to report for now, but our owl pellet kit just came in the mail so that will be up next! I never dissected owl pellets in school as a kid so it will be interesting to see how it goes! Anyone have owl pellet dissection experience? Any tips?
I’m putting links below to print the bird activities I made. If you end up using any let me know how they work for you!
Click on the button or picture below to download the printables.