The best way I know to get children excited about birds is through observation. Our class took walks this week, looking for signs of Spring. While we walked we also, of course, looked for birds and listened for chirping, cheeping, tweeting, and cawing. We also observed and listened to birds while we were on the playground, and we watched for birds in the trees just outside our classroom windows. Our windows are up pretty high, so the children are allowed to climb up on this table, three children at a time, to look out.
The cards on the windows show some of the kinds of birds the children are most likely to see. These include a cardinal, a house finch, a sparrow, a goldfinch, a blue jay, a robin, and a red tailed hawk. Yup, our school is across the street from a park where a red tailed hawk has a nest. How great is that?!?!
Under the bird watching table is a cozy place where the children may pretend to make or be inside a nest. It has some blankets for the nesting activities, and also has some Audubon toy birds. Wouldn't it be fun if we could also make some large paper mache eggs? Hmm, I'll have to think about that.
We also have some binoculars for closer viewing, a huge (it must weigh 20 pounds) book with all the watercolors of James Audubon, a couple of other bird identification books, and a little coloring book of the birds on the window cards, My Little Book of Birds. I made one of these for each of the children. They can look at the birds outside, check the cards inside, and color and label the pictures of the book to match.
Next week we will be adding a more activities to the bird watching area, and working with some of the third graders, the big kids! I will post more about that next week. Yay!