Birds are lovely creatures and come in such great variety. We found there was a lot to learn about them. Plus, they were a happy reminder that Spring was on its way on the snowy day we had this Theme Day. You can enjoy this Theme Day any time of year though as birds are always around. Even if your children aren’t avid bird watchers there is much to enjoy with this Theme Day about our feathered friends.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
I love Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” It always cheers me up!
Rockin’ Robin is another fun song for a Bird Theme Day!
For a rhyme about birds with actions try “Two Little Dicky Birds.” Check here for the words: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/two_little_dicky_birds.htm
“Sing a Song of Sixpence” has blackbirds mentioned in it (http://www.rhymes.org.uk/sing_a_song_of_sixpence.htm)
For another children’s rhyme there is “Little Robin Red Breast” as well (http://www.rhymes.org.uk/little_robin_red_breast.htm).
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Birds Coloring Pages” or print out my Bird in a Tree Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What is your favourite type of bird? What types of birds do you know? What birds live in your country? What birds can you think of that are from other countries? If you had a pet bird what would you name it? Have you ever been bird watching? Did you like it?
Choose the level of your child:
· Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
· Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
· Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
· Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
· Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
· As a Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about birds.
Print out a Birds Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books with birds in them.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about birds.
Go to the library on your own to find books about birds from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “Birds” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:
· About Birds: A Guide for Children, by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill, Peachtree Publishers, Ltd., 1991—This is an easy reader book with very little text but it does teach a bit about birds along with the gorgeous realistic paintings of various birds.
· Birds: How to Choose and Care for a Bird, by Laura S. Jeffrey, Enslow Publisheers, Inc., 2004—This is an American Humane Society Book and would be a good chose to read with your kids if you are planning on purchasing a bird as a family pet.
· Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines, by Caroline Arnold and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne, Charlesbridge, 2003—If your kids are most interested in how birds are bale to fly this would be a good book to take a look at.
· The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of James Audubon, by Jaqueline Davies and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004—While this is written like a picture book story it tells the true story of James Audubon who came up with the idea of banding birds to track their movement. He also was a famous painter of birds. This is a great story to show kids how their inquisitive nature can lead to great innovations!
· Everything Bird: What kids Really Want to Know About Birds, by Cherie Winner, NorthWord, 2007—This book answers 29 questions about birds.
· Why Why Why Can’t Penguins Fly? And Other Chirpy Questions About Birds, by Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd., Mason Crest Publishers Inc., 2009—This is a good review about what makes birds unique to the animal kingdom. It offers a decent amount of information without overwhelming child readers.
· 100 Things You Should Know About Birds of Prey, by Camila de la Bedoyere, The Raptor Foundation, 2011—This book is full of facts (100 of course) about all aspects of hunting birds’ lives.
Here are some picture books about birds that we enjoyed reading:
· The Baby Beebee Bird, by Diane Redfield Massie and pictures by Steven Kellogg, harper Collins Publishers, 2000—This tale of the new and very noisy baby beebee bird at the zoo is a family favourite.
· Bring on the Birds, written and illustrated by susan Stockdale, Peachtree Publishers, 2011—This is a good picture book for toddlers as the pictures are bright and the words few but it does show that there are all sorts of different birds in the world.
· Grumpy Bird, by Jeremy Tankard, Scholastic Press, 2007—This is a humorous story about a grumpy bird who goes for a walk and is followed by other animals. It is fun to see what makes him happy again!
· Purple Little Bird, by Greg Foley, Balzer and Bray, 2011—A purple bird discovers the beauty of different colours as he searches for the perfect home.
· Roly-Poly Egg, by Kali Stileman, Tiger Tales, 2009– Splotch the bird has a perfect spotty egg but it rolls away!
· The Story of a Bluebird, by Tomek Bogacki, Frances Foster Books, 1998—A little bird searches for “nothing” and finds everything! Such a beautiful book.
Materials: Bird stickers (I found felt ones), coloured paper, markers or crayons (optional).
Step 1: Give your kids the stickers and let there imaginations run with them. Younger children may apply them simply all over the place as a collage but older ones are more prone to creating a scene with them.
Step 2: Let your children add embellishments to the stickers to finish the scene by adding further detail or decoration.
FINGER PRINT BIRDS:
Materials: Paper, paint (whatever colours your child chooses for the birds), wax paper, paper towels, art smock or old clothes to wear, plastic or newspaper to cover your work space, (Optional) Markers.
Step 1: Put some paint onto a piece of waxed paper .
Step 2: Have your child did his/her thumb into the paint and then press it onto the paper to be the birds’ bodies.
Step 3: Let the fingerprints dry and then have your child add embellishments like a little black dot for an eye, a wisp of paint for wings, and some feet using paint (or markers).
Step 4: After the paint is dry you can display the picture or glue it into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
BIRD ON A WIRE CRAFT:
Materials: Blue construction paper, other coloured paper, embroidery thread, child safe scissors, glue stick, glue stick, hole punch, markers or googly eyes, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Fold the blue construction paper in half and then use a hold punch to make two holes on each side of the paper (to be the top of the “pole:” where the thread will hang).
Step 2: Cut a piece of embroidery thread that is long enough to fit between the two punched holes and also long enough to thread through the holes. You don’t want it to be too tight!
Step 3: Open the folded blue paper and thread one end of the string through a hole (from the outside) and then tape on the inside so that when the card is folded again you cannot see the tape. Then poke the other end of the string through the other hole (on the outside) and tape that end to the inside of the folded paper. Do not pull the string too tightly—make sure there is a little give.
Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the inside of the blue folded paper and then refold and squish and press down. Now the taped ends of the thread are hidden.
Step 5: Help your child cut out folded oval shapes for the birds. My kids both choose three colours for their birds but your child may want more colours or only one. Fold the coloured paper over and then cut out the oval shape LEAVING THE FOLDED EDGE at the bottom. Essentially you will now have little fold oval cards. You can make different sizes as well. Just ask your child for input or have older kids do it themselves.
Step 6: Let your child choose the order or pattern of the birds and then have them apply glue to the inside of the folded paper ovals. Open the card, set one half under the string and then press together. The string should be at the bottom of the bird near the fold.
Step 7: Cut out small triangles of coloured paper and have your child glue them under the bird as tails.
Step 7: Cut out even smaller triangles of orange or yellow paper for beaks and have your child glue those on. You will definitely need a damp cloth for sticky fingers by this point.
Step 8: Then have your child either draw eyes onto the birds or glue googly eyes onto them. As you can see, my boys each made different choices.
Step 9: Now your child can add any embellishments. They can draw them on or cut out pieces and glue them on. My eldest made two fancy telephone wires out of brown paper to glue near the hole punches. My youngest chose a simple pole. Both wanted grass but my youngest only glued it in the center (they cut triangular teeth out of green paper for the grass).
Step 10: Lastly, apply glue to the backs of the birds and pull them slightly downward before pressing and gluing in place. This will give the “wire” the impression of the weight of the birds. My kids found this part a bit difficult so I did this for them.
Step 11: Let it dry and then display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
TEXTURED BIRD COLLAGE:
Materials: Magazine or old scrapbook paper (we used scrapbook paper), coloured paper, copy of my Bird Template, glue stick, child safe scissors, damp cloth for sticky fingers, markers.
Step 1: Have your child cut out the bird template and then use it to trace around to create a bird on a piece of coloured paper. This will be the base of the bird craft.
Step 2: Have your child glue this base onto a sheet of paper.
Step 3: Next, have your child pick out scrapbook paper or coloured magazine ads from old magazines and help him/her cut out many small leaf or oval shapes to be the feathers.
Step 4: Have your child glue them onto the base of the bird as feathers. I really had envisioned this as a multi-coloured craft but my eldest choose one type of paper to use for his.
Step 5: Your child can now add embellishments. My eldest son drew an eye on his bird and added an orange beak but my youngest decided to add more details. He opted to draw a sun and a cloud from other paper and then cut them out and glue them on. See what else your children can come up with...a nest, a tree, another bird (using the template again perhaps), a baby bird?
PAPER PLATE BIRDS:
Materials: Paper plates, hole punch, child safe scissors, markers, staple, craft feathers, white glue, a paper bowl to hold the glue, newspaper or a plastic sheet to cover the work area, a damp cloth for sticky fingers, a piece of wax paper for the craft to dry on when finished, yarn or other string to hang it.
Step 1: Cut the paper plate in half and cut one of the halves in half again.
Step 2: Each son created their own style of bird, one is face on and the other is side on. Have your child decide what type of bird he/she wants to create. For the side one have your child draw a beak and an eye on one tip of the full circle half (with the curve down and the flat part up). For the face on view your child can draw two eyes and a beak.
Step 3: For the face on bird you can now staple the last two pieces of the paper plate to the bird face as wings on each side of the face. For the side view you will fold an edge of each half to create a tab. This tab will allow the wings to stick out and look 3-D as if the bird is in flight. Staple each of these tabs to the paper plate, one on each side.
Step 4: Now comes the messy part! Give your child the feathers and a paper bowl full of glue to dip the feathers in. Have your child decorate the birds with feathers and then lay them onto a piece of wax paper to dry. They will take a while to dry so put them out of reach!
Step 5: Once dry you can hole punch the top of the birds and then thread some string through. We used a bulletin board tack to pin the string to the ceiling and let our birds fly in our dining room!
WAX PAPER WINDOW BIRDS:
Materials: a copy of Bird Template my wax paper, pencil sharpener that will fit crayons, old peeled crayons, old rags or towels, a copy of my bird template, child safe scissors, a black permanent marker, an iron (adult step only!), a hold punch, thread.
Step 1: Pull out a long piece of waxed paper and then fold it in half along its length.
Step 2: unfold the wax paper and then use the pencil sharpener to make wax crayon shavings onto one half of the wax paper. Let your child choose the colours and the amount.
Step 3: Fold the clean half back on top of the shavings to sandwich them. Make a fold along the three open edges (about a half inch) to keep the shavings in place. We made more than one bird so we did all the messy crayon shaving parts at the same time and set each one aside to they were all ready for the next step.
Step 4: (ADULT STEP) Warn your kids about the hot iron and being safe around hot things! Place the wax paper onto an old towel and then cover it with an old thick rag. Iron on medium heat pressing the old rag which will melt the crayon shavings and adhere them to the wax paper. Check after a few swipes of the iron to see if they are melting and stop when all the shavings have melted.
Step 5: Let the sheet cool but putting it off to the side. Because we made more than one bird I did all the ironing at the same time.
Step 6: Once cool have your child cut out the bird from the template and then place it on top of the melted wax. Mow your child can trace around the bird template with a permanent marker to draw a bird shape onto the wax paper.
Step 7: Help your child cut out the wax paper bird. Use a hole punch to make a hold on the top of the bird and then thread with string so you can hang your bird up in the window.
Step 8: Hang in your window and enjoy! This craft added some much needed cheer to a dreary winter day for us!
SOAP BOX BIRD HOUSE ORNAMENT:
NOTE: I made up this craft a long time ago for my eldest when he was a toddler. He couldn't do much back them but certainly enjoyed helping me make this tiny bird house. I wish I had a picture of the original one to show but it got crushed long ago!
Materials: an empty individual soap box, coloured paper, white glue, child-safe scissors, pencil, crayons or markers (optional), string or yarn (optional), pointed adult scissors.
Step 1: If you want to make this into a hanging ornament take an optional piece of yarn and lay it over the edge of the top of the box. You will then tape the open box shut again and in doing so enclose some of the yarn. Leave the two edges of yarn dangling on the side.
Step 2: When your child has picked the color of the house, trace the edges of the soapbox on that chosen color of paper. Trace the edges for each side of the box to fit each side. Get younger kids to try to help you trace. Encourage older kids to do it themselves.
Step 3: Have your child pick the color of the roof of the house. Trace the length of the top (if resting vertically) two times to make a longer strip.
Step 4: Have your child cut out all the pieces or help younger children in this process.
Step 5: On the top of the box (the side newly taped) glue the first strip of coloured paper that fits that smaller section. I found that white glue, while messier, works best for this craft.
Step 6: Have your child glue all the pieces onto the box and then set it aside to dry. The yarn will still be draped but this time over the two long sides. Remind your kids not to glue those!
Step 7: Bend the roof strip in half to form a triangle on the top of the box. On each side of the strip bend the paper about a little to make a small tab. Glue each bent tab to the top of box. This is a tricky step for children so you may have to do it yourself.
Step 8: (Adult Step) With the pointed adult scissors cut through the paper and the box to make a small door, but leave the bottom part uncut in order to bend it open for the “Bird” to sit on (try a rectangle or arched door).
Step 9: OPTIONAL: Have your child decorate the box in any way he/she sees fit (crayons, glued pieces of paper, stickers, sequins...) or make suggestions like a little heart for over the door as we added.
Step 10: Have your child pick a color for the little bird and a shape (circle or oval). Draw the shape and add a tab to bend later. Help your child cut out the body and add a tab to the bottom of the shape. Younger kids may need help with this as the bird is small.
Step 11: After your child has picked the color of the beak, cut out a small triangle.
Step 12: Have your child glue on beak and draw eyes and wings.
Step 13: Open door by bending it forward to make a perch. Bend the tab on the bird and glue it on the perch using a glue stick and then press and hold until it sticks.
Step 14: (OPTIONAL) If you included the yarn you can now tie the two ends together and now it will hang on a door handle or a cupboard handle, or add it to a bulletin board, or hang from a real tree branch (be sure to take it in if it rains!) or a house plant.
Many Craft books offer ways to make birdhouses or bird feeders from milk cartons etc. or you can go to a craft store and purchase a wooden one and have your child paint it or if you have someone handy with a hammer and nails in your family you can build your own!
Book Suggestion: Make Your Own Bird-Houses & Feeders, by Robyn Jaus, Williamson Publishing, 2011.
NOTE: My boys adore painting the wooden birdhouses from the craft store. We have all sorts…from the Eiffel tower to the Taj Mahal. For a photo of some of our wooden birdhouses check on our Facebook Album: More Crafts and Activities—https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.536331356394349.132868.194379807256174&type=3
Edible Bird Feeder Snack: You can either hang this out for the birds or eat it! My kids choose to eat it!
Ingredients: Ice cream cone, peanut butter (if your child has a nut allergy perhaps you could use another type of spread...I am not sure what the birds would like though), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cheerios, pipe cleaner
Step 1: Spread peanut butter around the ice cream cone.
Step 2: Roll the cone in sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Step 3: If your child doesn’t want to eat it you can poke hole at top of the cone and insert a pipe cleaner to hang it from a tree for the birds!
Angry Bird Bagel Snack:
NOTE: I found this on Pinterest and because my boys are huge Angry Birds fans we just had to make it. For the original link check here: http://cutestfood.com/?s=angry+bird&search=Search+ As there were no instructions I have made up my own.
Ingredients: Bagel, round slice of salami (mild or hot depending on your child’s preference), orange cheddar cheese, while cheese (whatever type your child likes), olives.
Step 1: Slice a little of the salami off in a crescent shape and lay that a bagel half.
Step 2: Slice that extra bit of salami into little pieces to be the feathers sticking up at the top of the bird and lay on the top of the bird’s head (unsliced part). You can tuck them under the salami to keep them in place.
Step 3: Cut out a beak from the orange cheddar and two round eyes from the white cheese.
Step 4: Cut an olive slice in half to create the eye brows and slice some more olive to be the pupils in the eyes.
Step 5: Enjoy!
NOTE: For a picture of this snack go to our Facebook More Goodies Album:
Birds and Nest:
Ingredients: bread, cream cheese, orange cheddar cheese, a slice of white cheese, a pitted olive, a hard boiled egg, mayonnaise, (optional) paprika and onion powder, shredded lettuce (easy to make just thinly slice a few leaves of romaine lettuce), a circle cookie cutter or an cleaned empty soup can.
Step 1: Arrange the shredded lettuce on the plate as the nest.
Step 2: Cut two slices of bread using the circle cookie cutter or empty can to create two circles (save leftovers scraps of bread to make homemade breadcrumbs).
Step 3: Spread cream cheese onto one circular slice and bread and then top with the other slice (you could make any type of sandwich your child likes for this step).
Step 4: Use the same cookie cutter or empty can to cut out two wings from the white cheese and lay on top of the small sandwich.
Step 5: Cut a small triangle out of orange cheddar for the beak and lay on the sandwich.
Step 6: Slice a pitted olive into circles to create two eyes for the top of the sandwich. When sandwich is created place on the lettuce nest. (NOTE: your child does not like olives you can use raisins).
Step 7: Carefully peel the hard boiled egg and then carefully cut in half. Remove the yellow yolk and mash with mayonnaise, paprika and onion powder to taste (or make your own favourite deviled egg recipe).
Step 8: Carefully refill the hard boiled egg whites to create a peeping bird from the egg. Use olive (or raisin) pieces as eyes and create another orange cheddar beak and then lay the baby bird on the salad next to the bird sandwich.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Angel Hair Pasta Nests:
I actually found dried spaghetti called bird’s nests at our grocery store and cooked them according to the package and then carefully lifted each “nest” of pasta with a slotted spoon to plate. If you cannot find these you can use regular angel hair pasta and then twirl the cooked pasta on your child’s plate to from a nest. Top with your favourite pasta sauce and meatballs as little eggs.
Chocolate Bird Nests:
I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Easter Nests from her cookbook How to be a Domestic Goddess for the basis of my recipe. Here’s what I used and how I made them:
Ingredients: 2 (100 g) milk chocolate bars, 1 baking cube (1 oz) of dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon of butter, 4 (original/large size) shredded wheat cereal biscuits, sugar-coated chocolate eggs.
Step 1: Break up the chocolate and put it in a microwaveable bowl with the butter and melt in intervals of 30 seconds mixing as you go along (for some reason mine started to seize up so I added some cream which immediately made the chocolate into a nice liquid consistency again).
Step 2: Let the melted chocolate cook a bit so you can put your hands in it and not burn yourself. Prepare a cookie sheet with parment paper and then lightly spray or oil the paper.
Step 3; Crumble the cereal into a large bowl and then pour the melted chocolate over the shredded wheat and mix with your hands until the cereal is completely coated with chocolate. Messy but delicious!
Step 4: Now form the chocolate cereal into little nests and rest these tiny bowls on the prepared cookie sheet to harden.
Step 5: Once hardened place little chocolate eggs in each nest and enjoy!
I found an adorable small bird cookie cutter and couldn’t help but purchase it to make some small colourful bird cookies. Check our Facebook Album: More Goodies for a picture: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.510290308998454.127299.194379807256174&type=3
Print out my All About Birds Chart and together as a family fill in each categories as you read and learn about
This site offers a lot of bird info and ideas: http://www.a-home-for-wild-birds.com/
GAMES: My kids used this Theme Day as an excuse to play the video game: Angry Birds!
Q: What is a bird’s favourite subject in school?
Is there an owl in there?
Q: Why do birds fly south for the winter?
A: Because it is too far to walk.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows that feature birds:
For a bird filled movie try this:
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
· Bill Nye the Science Guy: Birds, Disney Educational production, 2008
Bird Watching: Find a book about local birds at your library and then print out a copy of my Bird Watching Printable. Go to a park or for a walk with your child and take along the book, the worksheet and a pencil. Can you identify any birds? Have your child write down (or draw pictures for small children) what you see.
Bird Watching Books for Kids:
· For a great book with all sorts of activities try Bird Watcher, by David Burnie, DK publishers, 2005—This gives a list of equipment needed for bird watching, and includes signs of birds, tracks and trails, and activities to help with bird watching all the while educating little ornithologists about birds.
· Another good book to use that has bird feeder and bird house ideas as well is Backyard Bird Watching For Kids: How to Attact, Feed, and Provide Homes for Birds, by George H. Harrison, Willow Creek Press, 1997.
Take a family field trip to a zoo and visit the aviary to see the birds.
Birds of a Feather
Birds Coloring Page
Birds on a Wire Craft
Textured Collage Bird with added details
Flying Paper Plate Birds
Create a scene using Bird Stickers!
Flying Birds Craft for the Window
Bird House Ornament
Bird Themed Food
All About Birds Worksheet
As pretty as a peacock!
Photos by: C Wright
Textured Collage Bird
An Easy Birds Word Search