Nature Explorer – Nesting Birds

Birds

Starting to gather resources together for Nesting Birds week with Exploring Nature with Children curriculum in a couple of weeks. I find if I start gathering things early it often makes me think of other things that I could add and use in our nature study.

If you follow Raising Little Shoots curriculum there is a really lovely, supportive Facebook group that share lots of ideas. Some of the ideas I’ve been adding to this post of from wonderful people from this group.

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I’ll be adding our activities and other resources over the next couple of weeks as we get going. Here’s some ideas so far:

  • Bird spotting in the garden
  • Heading to a local wildlife reserve to spot birds with binoculars
  • Watercolour bird journaling
  • Make a nest – one member of the Facebook group suggested hiding different scarves around the house for children to find and then build a nest, another suggestion was chocolate nests!
  • Retelling with props the story of The Ugly Duckling

Binocular Adventures

Neither my daughter or I were feeling very well the other day, but really wanted to get out of the house. We weren’t up for a walk, but I decided to pop us in the car with a pair of binoculars, blankets and the garden bird ID cards (link below).

We went to a local area that I thought might be good for a little bird spotting. I wrapped Floss up in the back with a blanket, put the windows down so we could listen for birds. We had a wonderful time. Floss loved using the binoculars and we managed to spot robins, blue tits, blackbirds, a crow and a squirrel.

The Power of Stories

Even when we study nature I like to interweave this more factual, exploratory learning with stories and imagination. I’ve chosen to delve into the traditional tale of The Ugly Duckling for Nesting Bird week with Floss. We have purchased the Early Years Curriculum Pack from Fiddlesticks.Education – it continues to be added to. One of the resources is The Ugly Duckling and we’ll be using these to explore number and letter learning too.

Resources

We love matching books and resources together to explore different aspects of nature learning. I usually buy a few new books each month and visit the library to help with our studies. We love the puzzle above of birds and they are great to use as small world play too. They do a range of birds from different countries that you can find here.

Garden Birds ID Cards – Fiddlesticks.Education – we love everything the lovely Becca paints, they’re just stunning. I love the fact you can alter the size too – FANF15 gives you 15% off her resources.

199 Birds – is a brilliantly sturdy board book suitable from 2 years plus. It has birds from all around the world, so you’ll find something for everyone to spot. The great thing about the 199 series that Usborne do is how they build vocabulary. They also help children develop key skills in categorising words that they know and support them to group and look at similarities and differences.

Collection of 199 Usborne books - spotters guides

Books which give actual bird song are lovely for children to explore – well I’ve learnt a lot too! Listening to the sounds and trying to identify which bird is making that sound is a great phase 1 phonics activity around identifying different sounds. To find out more about phase 1 head to my blog post here.

There’s a couple of books I’d recommend – The Little Book of Garden Bird Songs – and the rest of the series and Usborne Bird Sounds (more for younger little ones)

The Usborne 50 Birds to Spot Cards are a brilliant resources. They’re currently out of print, but we picked up ours second hand. Really lovely illustrations with a few facts about each bird on the back of the card.

We’ve recently done some more bird study while in lockdown at home and explored maths through our learning – check out the post here.

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