Inside: Here are fun and educational activities centered around bird watching for kids and grandkids. An opportunity to discover and learn about birds using arts & crafts, nature walks, books, games, puzzles, and more!
Bird Watching for Kids & Grandkids
Do you love birds? Have you ever been on a nature walk with your kids or grandkids observing and watching birds?
There is something special about birds—their striking colors, amazing flying abilities, and melodious singing voices—that make them incredibly unique.
Author and naturalist, Julie Zickefosse said, “The presence of a single bird can change everything for one who appreciates them.” (“Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard-Luck Jay.”)
I agree. I appreciate birds and to encourage my grandkids’ interest in and appreciation for birds, we’ve taken them “birding,” and engaged in bird watching activities and games. It’s paying off…
Before I share our bird watching activities for kids and grandkids, here is a yearly bird activity to mark on your calendar; a wonderful website for more ideas and activities on bird watching for kids and a book filled with fabulous bird information
The Great Backyard Bird Count
This event happens every February all over the world and can be done in your own backyard! Spend about 15 minutes with your kids/grandkids in your backyard each day watching for birds. Mark down how many birds you see; any details about the bird’s behavior; the type of bird, or even draw a picture. Submit your findings online to the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Audubon Society for Kids
A great site that is filled with information about birds. Click here to learn more
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
If you and your kids/grandkids are nature lovers—I highly recommend this book. There is an in-depth chapter on birds and includes detailed pictures and topics on birds such as:
- Anatomy of a Bird
- A Bevy of Birds—pictures and information on 24 birds
- Kinds of Bird Feathers
- A Variety of Bird Nests
- Different Kinds of Bird Eggs
- Bird Behavior
- Birds of Prey
- A Variety of Beaks
Now, get ready for some amazing activities, games, books, and DVDs all about birds and bird watching for kids and grandkids!
Bird Family Passions
Every family is passionate about something. In our family and extended family, we are passionate about:
- Lifelong learning
- And too many more things to list…
We combined our passions with our love of birds and made a bird family of 5—each representing one of our passions.
What are your family’s passions? Write down 5 things you are passionate about and want to pass down to future generations and use birds to illustrate each passion.
We gathered pictures and text from children’s books; music paper, symbols of nature and learning, and some of our grandkids’ art drawings.
We snipped and cut everything and then designated one bird for each passion and glued on the symbols related to that passion.
The end result—our colorful “Bird Family Passions!”
- Free bird template
- Illustrations that represent the passions that your family has. Ours included pictures from books, music paper, nature (flowers, trees, birds, etc.), and even stickers symbolizing learning
- Cardstock in 5 different colors
- Download the free bird template and print off 5 birds in different colors of cardstock—5 birds for each child
- Take the symbols representing your family’s passions and designate one bird per passion and fill it with the symbols that represent that passion
- The bird that represented “art,” the kids took some of their artwork; traced the bird on the artwork, and cut it out. They were very colorful and a great way to recycle (see below)
- Mount your 5 birds on a poster board
Recycled Art Birds
Have you ever wondered what to do with all your kids/grandkids’ art projects that have been hanging on the wall for years? Don’t throw them away! Recycle them into another project.
For these recycled art birds—the grandkids took their art projects and cut them up into various shapes and sizes. Included were their bubble wrap paintings; spin-art paintings; shaving cream paintings, newsprint drawings, and random scribbles.
From these bits and pieces, they created very colorful birds while giving another life to the artwork that was ready for the trash!
- Bird template (FREE)
- White cardstock
- Old artwork from your children/grandchildren
- Glue stick
- Print the bird template on cardstock paper—one per child
- Take old artwork and cut it into different shapes and sizes
- Arrange the cut up pieces of artwork on the bird
- Glue in place
Bird Watching for Kids & Grandkids: An Educational & Fun Activity
The best way to teach your kids/grandkids about birds is to take them out birdwatching because kids learn best by doing…
There are a few supplies you’ll need. Click here for my comprehensive bird-watching supply list.
Most importantly, you need binoculars purchased in a variety of colors. Each child/grandchild should have their own binoculars.
Choose different places to go to look for birds—your backyard, neighborhood parks, hikes in the mountains, or by the ocean—the places are endless because birds are everywhere!
Every season of the year is good but the best times to see birds are dawn and dusk.
Here are some things to watch for when bird watching:
- Look for feathers on the ground (birds are molting and feathers indicate species)
- Birds singing or bird calls (sometimes you hear birds before you see them)
- Look for bird nests—some are high in the trees, others on the ground
- Check out anthills—you may see birds lying near because ants leave traces of formic acid on their wings which repeals parasites
- Look by water—the birds may be bathing
Grab your kids/grandkids and get going for the experience of a lifetime!
Bird Feeders from Pinecones, Peanut Butter & Birdseed
Have you made a bird feeder before? They’re easy and require very few supplies—pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed.
When finished you can hang them in your backyard, or at a nature park. Since we’ve made bird feeders and birdhouses and hung them in our backyard to attract birds, we decided to hang these bird feeders in the trees at a nature park. Either place is ideal and will provide wonderful food for the birds.
It’s a fun sensory project as your kids/grandkids get their hands in gooey peanut butter and little bits of birdseed!
- Smooth peanut butter
- Large pinecones
- Hot glue gun
- Plastic knives
- Give your kids/grandkids bowls of smooth peanut butter and a plastic knife and have them carefully spread the peanut butter over the pinecone
- Roll the pinecone in birdseed
- Hot glue a long piece of yarn at the top of the pinecone. You want to be able to attach it to a tree limb.
- Either in your own backyard or nature park, hang your birdfeeders on a tree.
Bird Filler Games & Activities
Here are 3 bird activities that I used as bird “filler” activities—something to keep the grandkids busy while I prepare for the next project. They include a game, puzzles, and pattern-block birds. All three of these activities build spatial intelligence—important for reading, math, and language!
I purchased this game from Amazon and we’ve played it with the grandkids dozens of times—they love it! What I really like about this Bird Bingo is that all the cards show pictures of real birds—not drawn, which helps if you want your kids/grandkids to be able to eventually identify birds.
Purchase some simple prizes for the winners to add to the fun!
Homemade Bird Puzzles
I downloaded these beautiful bird pictures from Danielle Hansen of Harbor & Sprout. I’ve purchased some of her bundles, too. These drawings are gorgeous! I printed them out on cardstock paper; laminated them and then made them into puzzles.
Make swirl, zig-zag, vertical, horizontal, and diagonal cuts—to make each puzzle interesting and different.
I’ve made lots of puzzles for the grandkids using purchased clipart. They are a great activity when you’re looking for something quick, fun, and educational.
Pattern Block Birds
Many years ago, when our sons were young, I purchased a large set of pattern blocks and pattern block pictures for the boys to use.
This activity used pattern blocks and pictures of birds that I found on Adventures in a Box. They are fabulous and FREE! Simply download, print on cardstock paper; laminate; add pattern blocks and your kids/grandkids are free to create!
Like puzzles, this is a great spatial activity for kids—which builds important math skills!
Books, Magazines & DVDs about Bird Watching for Kids
Here are some fabulous books, magazines, and DVDs about bird watching for kids & grandkids.
“Birds & Blooms” is a subscription magazine. Getting a monthly magazine is a great way to spark continual enthusiasm for birds with your kids/grandkids!
Are you familiar with The Great Courses? I’ve been purchasing DVDs and streaming downloads from this company for 20 years. A DVD I have about birds is “National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America.” They offer DVDs and video downloads on every subject imaginable—a great way to become a lifelong learner! NOTE: subscribe to their mailing list–they will send you fantastic offers. Don’t pay retail!
Last, check out these bird-watching books for kids and grandkids.
- A Backyard Birding Adventure: What’s in Your Yard by Kermit Cummings
- The Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer
- The Most Popular Birds in North America: Bird Watching Guide for Kids by Nona Kid
- Why Should I Walk? I Can Fly! By Ann Ingalls
- Bird Builds a Nest: A First Science Storybook by Martin Jenkins
- Backpack Explorer: Bird Watch: What Will You Find by Editors of Storey Publishing
- Exploring Birds Activity Book for Kids by Kristine Rivers
- The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington
“Get to Know Your Ancestor’s” Tip
Do you have an ancestor that loved birds? That raised certain birds or went birdwatching? When doing any activity with your kids or grandkids, research your family tree and find an ancestor that had a similar interest, hobby, or talent. It’s a powerful way to make these people come alive in your child’s/grandchild’s life. Our grandchildren’s great-great-great-grandfather loved birds–particularly canaries and he raised pigeons. When we did this birdwatching activity, I showed them his picture and talked about his love for birds.
Find someone in your family tree that may have loved birds and when you are doing these bird projects, share their life and bird hobbies. Make it an opportunity to connect with someone from the past that belongs to your family tree.
Do you go bird-watching with your kids or grandkids? What experiences have you had? Please comment in the section below
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