Letter Unit Activities · Uncategorized

B is for Bird Preschool Unit

OVERVIEW

We spent 3 weeks on Letter B. You can see our activities for Bees, Butterflies, and Blueberries for Sal on this post.

One week of Letter B was spent on B is for Bird, which I’ll share about below.

BOOKS

There are SO MANY great bird picture books! We really enjoyed all of these, and own most of them.

RESOURCES
IMG_2098.jpg Birding books:

IMG_2099.jpg Some non-book resources:

Binoculars — ones for kids or just let them use yours

If you’re really in to birding you could go further with camera equipment and a scope — both of those things my husband uses regularly and involves the kids.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds — this website is incredible!

SAFARI Bird TOOBS:

LEARNING ACTIVITIES
IMG_2865.jpg Beautiful Birds is a wonderful A to Z book. 

We formed letter B with our Safari TOOB birds (Backyard Birds and Exotic Birds), and worked on forming letter B on a small chalkboard slate. I have my son wipe it clean with a small sponge dipped in water and then repeat.

IMG_2466.jpg Bird themed large motor skill movement game: act like a bird! Draw a bird card from the basket & do the action (I came up with a wide variety of things: fly forward / fly backward, penguin waddle fast/slow/left/right, hoot & hop, flap in a circle, etc.)

My kids often need large motor skill breaks from focused learning activities. I don’t want all of “school” to feel like intense focused learning. Plus really the brain development happening through coordination & movement is just as essential to their days as phonics, counting, etc!

I created the cards using Charley Harper bird stickers (a favorite artist) on a square piece of paper & then added a bird-action on the back.

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Invitation to build bird nests with natural materials & play dough. We grabbed some materials on our morning walk like sticks & grass & pine needles, plus we also have an actual abandoned Carolina Wren nest. My son opted to make mini nests in a muffin tin, then used rocks as “eggs” for our little mama birds to keep warm (Safari TOOB birds: Backyard Birds and Exotic Birds)
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Books:

IMG_2100.jpg Very *simple* bird anatomy with tangrams. I just traced the tangram pieces we have on half-sheets of paper with pencil and then went over it again with black marker. I made maybe 10 different ones. I left this on our learning shelf all week & encouraged my son to do this during his quiet time.

Book: Nature Anatomy

IMG_2493.jpg Bird sound bingo fun!

For this, I selected 9 birds my kids already can I.D. by sound (birds we encounter a lot where we live). I initially played the sounds & identified each for them via All About Birds. After I played the sounds for the kids the first time through, we then played sort of a Bingo game where I changed the order and they had to shout out what it was and fill their little sheet up with the corresponding bird picture (bird photographs taken by my amazingly talented and wonderful husband).

Identifying birds by sound is something even little kids can totally do — on our walks I often play “quiet game” with my kids & simply ask them to tell me what they hear (everything, not just birds). Some birds are obviously easier than others, and we are definitely limited by my own knowledge, but it’s still good fun to listen to the birds and think about what they’re up to! For years now, whenever my son hears a Pileated Woodpecker he says: “it’s laughing at the squirrels!”

Book: Have You Heard The Nesting Bird?— which features the sounds of Mourning Doves, Pileated Woodpeckers, Starlings, Sparrows, Swallows, Crows, Cardinals, Chickadees, Catbirds, Blue Jays, Whip-poor-wills, Wood Thrushes, and Robins. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!

Another fun bird sound book: the classic Owl Moon

AND: Elizabeth Mitchell’s song “Little Bird, Little Bird” is also a wonderful intro to bird songs!

IMG_2926.jpg Counting & color sorting eggs: jellybeans into plastic Easter eggs. I was surprised at how much they were willing to do before eating!

Book: Nature Anatomy

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Invitation to paint some feathers! Super simple activity that combines creativity and focused fine motor skills.

I just bought some plain white craft feathers.

Books:

IMG_3026.jpg What’s it like to have a bird beak? Invitation to feed our little baby birds (Safari TOOB birds: Backyard Birds and Exotic Birds) in the nests we made earlier using tweezers & gummy worms.

Book: About Birds: A Guide for Children

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Fingerprint bird art piece based off of the book Little Bird

Basically all I had my kids do was put two fingerprints together on a blue sheet of paper (with this ink pad set — lots of color), and I made them in to birds with markers with their help — two wings, a beak, a dot for an eye, and tail feathers.

IMG_3103.jpg Bird seed sensory bin & forming the letter B (we added glue to the B first with Q-tips, then I had them put the paper in the bird seed bin and pour the bird seed on top to get it to stick to the B).

With sensory bins I often place a few items out at first to play — they always want their little scoops and usually measuring cups and spoons.

IMG_3208.jpg Birdseed cake ornaments! The kids helped do all of this except cooking the gelatin on the stove. We made ours in to woodland animals shapes (IKEA cookie cutters) and hung them outside our front window. If you do this I’d recommend using a birdseed mix that’s finer than what we used: the large sunflower seeds made it fall apart easily!

Steps:
(1) Cook a pack of gelatin according to instructions
(2) Add birdseed & stir in bowl until well incorporated
(3) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper & place cookie cutters on sheet.
(4) Fill each cookie cutter with a spoonful of birdseed mixture, packing it down as you go
(5) Place a straw in each so a hole remains to hang it later
(6) Let cool (or add to the freezer to speed up the process)
(7) Add twine or ribbon
(8) Hang outside & bird watch!

IMG_3052.jpg Investigating bird feet:

Woodland Footprint Rocks set (one side shows the animal, the flip side has a raised footprint)

Book: Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds (Golden Guide) (Herbert Zim)

Safari TOOB birds: Exotic Birds

NATURE STUDY

Birds up close…

IMG_2838.jpg We did our bird unit in June so there were plenty of opportunities to hunt for bird nests.
Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.16.58 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.17.30 PM.png We were able to find bluebird nests at a variety of stages so that was fun!
19051094_1890989311219998_4883283845962530816_n.jpg Interactive bird feeding aviary at our zoo! The birds in this aviary definitely try to eat your shoelaces 🙂
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