Free Sample Week / Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

Supply List

 

Binoculars

Megaphone (Paper Towels tube)

Cotton balls (For puff dough)

Nature magazines with birds

Sponges

Variety of eggs

Hard boiled egg—a glass bottle-matches and newspaper for experiment

10 plastic, hollow eggs

Hot plate

Egg shells

Food coloring

Needle

Acrylic paints

Q-tips

Gummy worms

Real worms

Pipe cleaners

Small feathers

Small, clear, plastic cups

Shovels

Peanut Butter (unless there are peanut allergies)

Feather dusters

Paper bowls

Squirt bottles (Used pancake syrup bottles work well)

Snow cone cups (Or paper rolled into a cone shape)

Nest stuff (Twigs-string-cotton-hair-grass etc.)

Paint in sky blue—navy blue and white

Butcher paper

 

Birds of a Feather - Day One 

Hooray For Birds!!

 

Circle Time Ideas 

Birds are a fun theme to explore in preschool because they can be found everywhere. Begin the week by taking the children outside on a bird watching expedition. Bring along a few pairs of binoculars for them to take turns using. If you have one, take along a digital camera and take pictures of the different birds you find. Later, you can identify them in a bird guide. 

 

Good Bird Book

About Birds - a guide for children

by John Sill (editor)   

Any bird guide book will do. Let the children gather around and look at the photographs in this book. Let them compare the birds they saw on their walk to the birds in the book. Are any of them the same? If so, read some facts that the children may find interesting.  

Bird Calls

While you were on your walk did you hear any interesting sounds? Did the birds make any noises? Nearly all birds have a voice and use their voices to call or sing. A call consists of a single sound. A song consists of a series of sounds in a definite pattern. Give each child the chance to make a bird call or bird song. Just for fun, you can let them pass a microphone (or megaphone if you don’t have a microphone) so their birdcalls are loud and majestic. 

 

Good Books

Birdsong

by Audrey Wood  

 

How to Find a Bird

By Jennifer Ward 

 

The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs

by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham

 

 

Messy Table 

Puff Dough

You can tie this fun recipe into the bird theme by using the dough to make fluffy clouds. Birds fly in the sky through clouds of all different shapes. Let the children form clouds that look like animals and other objects. Go outside and lay on your back to look at the clouds. What kinds of shapes do you see? Can you recreate those shapes with your cloud dough? 

Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag of white, cotton balls

 

Mix flour and water together to make a paste. Roll cotton balls in the paste and carefully lift them out. Excess paste will fall off. Let the children form the dough into desired shapes on a baking sheet. Bake the shapes for one hour at 325 degrees.

 

Good Book

Clouds

By Anne Rockwell

 

Cut & Color Table 

Bird Collage

Provide the children with plenty of nature magazines. Ask parents to bring in any bird magazines they do not need anymore. Let the children cut bird pictures out of the magazines and glue them onto a blue piece of construction paper. Don’t forget bird stickers and bird drawings too. Does anybody want to dictate a story about a bird?

 

 

Creative Art 

Cooperative Sponge Painting

Things you will need:

  • long sheets of white, poster paper
  • sponges in different shapes and sizes
  • white paint
  • light blue paint
  • navy blue paint

 

Let the children use the sponges to create a sky for the birds we will be making later in the week. They can overlap the colors as they print to create a truly beautiful backdrop.

 

Outside

 Duck Duck Goose

What better game to play while discovering birds? Encourage the children to fly around the circle instead of running. If one bird catches the other, that bird must sit in the “nest” until the next bird is caught. You can put a pile of blankets in the middle of the circle to form a nest.

 

Good Book

Duck and Goose

By Tad Hills

 

Birds of a Feather - Day Two
 Eggs

We will spend the rest of the week learning fun facts about birds. First of all, all birds hatch from eggs. Ask the children to bring in a favorite blanket. It can be any color but must be big enough to cover them completely. They will be using the blanket throughout the week for a variety of activities.

 

 

Circle Time Ideas 

Let’s look At Eggs

It would be wonderful if you could obtain a variety of eggs for the children look at. Go to a local farm and ask them if you can have eggs from various birds. A goose egg will look different than a chicken egg. An ostrich egg would be exciting to look at because it is the biggest bird egg. And pigeon eggs are fun because they are very small. Let the children look at the different eggs and talk about how they are alike and how they are different. Some eggs are even different colors to camouflage them from their enemies. 

 

Good Book

Inside an Egg (Lerner Natural Science)

By Sylvia A Johnson 

 

Incubation

If an egg is fertilized, an embryo will be formed and will grow into a bird. Incubation periods are different for each species. The parent molts feathers from his lower abdomen to form an incubation patch. This area of bare skin warms the eggs to the perfect temperature. Chickens will incubate for 21 days but an ostrich incubates for 42 days.

 

Song

CRACK Goes the Egg

(To the tune of POP Goes the Weasel)

Have the children roll into a small ball and cover themselves with their special blankets. Tell them to hold very still and pretend to be a baby bird inside his egg. Baby birds are inside their eggs 21-42 days. Remind them that they were inside their mommies for nine months. Then, lead them in the following movement rhyme.

 

CRACK Goes the Egg

(to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)

A baby grows inside an egg.

He wants to see his mommy.

Wiggle

Jiggle

Peck!

Peck!

Peck!

CRACK goes the egg!

 

 

A Science Experiment

Egg In A Bottle

 

Things you will need:

  • One hard boiled egg peeled
  • Quart or half gallon glass bottle. (The opening must be smaller than the circumference of the egg.)
  • Matches
  • Newspaper

 

Put the peeled egg on the opening of the bottle to show them that it will not fit through the opening. Fold a 4 x 4-inch piece of newspaper like an accordion. Have another adult light the bottom of the paper with the match and quickly put it into the glass jar so that the fire is burning from the bottom upwards. Quickly place the egg onto the top of the bottle and watch what happens.

 

 

What happens?

The egg will be sucked into the bottle through the opening.

 

 

Why does this happen?

This happens because the flame heats the air inside the bottle. This causes the air to expand. When the flame burns out, the air cools down and the air pressure is less than that of the air outside the bottle. The outside pressure pushes the egg into the bottle.

 

Another Good Book

Dora’s Eggs

by Julie Sykes 

 

One More Good Book

Too Many Eggs

by M. Christine Butler 

 

Movement

Pass the Egg

You will need 10 plastic, hollow eggs. (the kind you fill with candy at Easter) Put a number 1 in the first egg, a number 2 in the second egg and so on until each egg has a number from 1 - 10. Mix the eggs up in a bowl. Put on some music and have the children pass one of the eggs around the circle. When the music stops, the child holding the egg should open it and “CLUCK” the same number of times as the number inside the egg. For example; If the egg has the number 5 inside, the child should say, “CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK.” The other children can count the CLUCKS.

 

Anatomy of an Egg

Crack a few raw eggs in a bowl in the center of the circle. See if the children can identify the different parts of the egg as illustrated in the diagram below. Give them a couple of hard boiled eggs and let them peel the eggs. They will be able to see the air cell and outer membrane more clearly with the hard boiled eggs.

  

  

 

 

 

 

Messy Table

Scrambled Eggs

Put a hot plate on the messy table and set the heat to medium. Take the time to go over safety rules. Let each child crack two eggs into a bowl, add milk, salt and pepper. Using a fork, scramble the eggs and let each child pour his mixture into a skillet on the hot plate. Depending on the age of the children, the teacher can do the cooking or the children can help. Let them eat their eggs right away. Cold eggs are YUCK!

 

Cut & Color Table

Egg Shell Collage

Clean the eggshells from the messy table and dry them with a towel. Then, put them into a plastic bag and let the children crush the shells with a lightweight mallet. Let them use their shells with glue to make a shell collage on white paper cut into oval shapes.

 

Variation:

Colored Eggs

Ahead of time, crush the shells and add food coloring to the plastic bags. You can make four different colors in four different Baggies. Shake the shells to disperse the color evenly. Next, put the shells on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 250 degrees for about ten minutes to dry the food coloring. Then, let the children make a colored, eggshell collage out of the colorful shells.

 

 

Creative Art

 

Blown Egg Art

Be prepared to have a headache when this activity is finished. You’ll never want to blow an egg again.

Things you will need:

  • one egg per child
  • a needle
  • a strong pair of lungs
  • acrylic paints
  • Q-tips

 

Use the needle to poke a small hole at the wide end of an egg. Then, use the needle to make a slightly larger hole at the narrow end of the same egg. Place your mouth over the small hole and blow. The egg will ooze out of the opening at the other end. The children will “ooh” and “Ahh” as the egg spurts out. When the eggshell is empty, let the child hold the shell and use the acrylic paints to decorate the shells. Remind them often how fragile the shells are so they do not end up broken. Poke the bottoms out of small paper cups and turn them over on the table. These can be used to hold the eggs as they dry.

 

Good Book

Rechenka’s Eggs

by Patricia Polacco   

 

Outside

 

Egg Toss

You will need one, hard-boiled egg for each pair of children. Have the children stand across from a partner. They should stand one foot apart. When the teacher says, “Go” the children should toss the eggs to their partners. With hard-boiled eggs, everyone can play the whole game because the eggs won’t break. With each toss, the children should back up one step. Play until the eggs are destroyed or the kids get bored.

 

Birds of a Feather - Day Three

 

 

Babies

A baby bird grows and grows and grows inside his egg until he gets too big to grow anymore. Then, he wiggles and the egg cracks. After the egg cracks, he uses his “egg tooth” to peck away at the crack until he is able to hatch out of the egg.

 

Circle Time Ideas

 

Chirping Babies

In some species, when a baby bird first hatches, he is blind and featherless and so weak he cannot even stand. His parents must care for him. He chirps and chirps and waits to be fed. Let the children wrap up in their blankets as if they are hatching from their eggs again. After they are hatched, encourage them to sit on their blankets and pretend like the blankets are their nests. As they chirp, the teacher can come around and give each baby bird a gummy worm.

 

Song

Baby Birds Are Chirping

The teacher can sing this song as she hands out the gummy worms to the tune of The More We Get Together. When all of the birdies are finished eating, they can join in by singing with the teacher.

 

  

Baby Birds Are Chirping

 

Baby birds are chirping.

 

Chirp chirping.

 

Chirp chirping.

 

 

Baby birds are chirping.

 

Chirp chirping for worms.

 

 

They’re hungry and cold and not very old.

 

Baby birds are chirping.

 

Chirp chirping for worms.

 

Stretching Their Wings

Gradually, baby birds grow feathers and become strong enough to stand. They venture to the side of the nest and stretch their wings. Let the children use their blankets as their wings and practice stretching as they prepare to learn to fly. It can take months for a baby to finally learn to fly so make sure the birds stay in their nests for now. Put on some slow music and let them chirp and stretch to the music using their blankets as wings.

 

 

 

Good Book

Feathers For Lunch

by Lois Ehlert 

 

 

 

Another Good Book

Are you My Mother?

by P.D. Eastman 

 

Messy Table

 

WORMS!

Worms make a delicious, baby bird meal. Go to a bait and tackle store and buy a bunch of bait worms. Dump them into two large tubs of dirt and let the children observe them as they dig. The children can use their hands to dig up the worms. For fun, have a variety of plastic birds at the table for pretend feeding. Bring the worms outside and put them in the garden at the end of the day.

 

Cut & Color Table

 

Worm Sculpture

Provide the children with a bunch of green pipe cleaners. Let them twist and bend the pipe cleaner “worms” into different shapes. They can use scissors to cut the pipe cleaner “worms” into different sizes. Encourage them to connect the pipe cleaner “worms” together to make a worm sculpture.

 

Creative Art

 

Baby Birds

Things you will need:

  • Small feathers
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Large feathers

 Let the children use the large feathers to paint on large construction paper. They can use long, flowing strokes or short quick strokes. Then, let them glue small feathers on the paper in clusters to make “baby birds.” Add wiggly eyes and draw orange feet. Hang their bird pictures on the sky backdrop they made earlier in the week.

 

Outside

 

Insect Traps

Let the children help set up a few insect traps on the play yard.

Things you will need:

  • Four small, clear, plastic cups
  • Shovels
  • Peanut butter

Help the children dig four small holes in the dirt. The holes will need to be the same size as the plastic cups. Lower the plastic cups into the holes so that the brims are even with the Earth. Put a small scoop of peanut butter in each of the cups and cover it with a small layer of loose grass. That’s it! Wait a while and you will get a big surprise. in a few days, you will have an insect zoo!

 

Birds of a Feather - Day Four

 

 

Feathers

All birds have feathers and they are the only animals that have them. All birds have wings, however, not all birds can fly. No other animal can move faster than a bird can fly.

 

Circle Time Ideas

 

Feathers! Feathers! Feathers!

Finding a pretty feather is like finding a rare and wonderful treasure. They can be in every color of the rainbow. They can be all different sizes. Find or buy a variety of different feathers and let the children compare the sizes, colors and shapes. Match the different feathers to the feathers in a good book.

 

 

Good Book

The Perfect Purple Feather

Hanock Piven

 

 

Movement

 

I Can Fly!!

Have the children wrap up in their blankets and sit on a large nest (blanket) together. They can pretend like the blankets are their wings again. This time, they are older and are ready to try and fly from the nest. Put some music on and let them try. First, flap your wings slowly and fall to the ground. Then, fly a bit clumsily around the classroom before falling. Finally, fly with them all around the classroom chirping in triumph.

 

Another Good Book

 

Flap Your Wings

By P.D. Eastman

 

 

Movement

 

Blowing Feathers

This activity is fun no matter how many times you repeat it. It is good for rainy days when children need to be soothed. It is fun to play outside or inside, in small spaces or in large spaces. Give each child a small, fluffy feather and let him blow it into the air. Have a contest to see who can keep their feather in the air longer than the teacher. Be very dramatic as your feather falls to the ground in defeat.

 

Messy Table

 

Feather Collage

Provide the children with glue and fluffy, small feathers in every color. Let them glue the feathers onto construction paper. The feathers will be stuck to their fingers and everything else before they are done and their collages will be lovely.

 

 

 

Cut & Color Table

 

Bird Stories

I love to encourage the children to write stories when we study birds. I like to ask them, “If you were a bird and could fly anywhere, where would you fly?” Write their answers down word for word and leave room for them to illustrate their stories when they are finished.

 

 

 

Creative Art

 

Feather Duster Painting

Things you will need:

  • two are three inexpensive feather dusters
  • two or three colors of paint
  • large poster paper

 

Let the children dip the feather dusters into the paint and use them to paint on the poster paper. You can put on slow, “Flying” music and let them move the feather dusters as if they were wings.

 

 

 

Outside

 

Hide and Go Peep

(played like the popular game, Marco Pollo)

Let the children bring their blankets outside and practice flying around the play yard. When the teacher rings a bell, all of the birdies find a hiding place. Whenever the teacher says, “Chirp Chirp,” the babies have to say, “Peep Peep.” The teacher must listen to the “Peeps” and try to find the babies in their hiding places. When all of the babies have been found, they can fly back into the classroom and put their blankets away.

 

 Birds of a Feather - Day Five

 

Nests

Have the children bring their blankets to the circle and pile them all in the middle of the circle to form one, big nest. Most birds build nests. In most instances, the females do most, if not all of the work. There are so many different kinds of nests. Find a good book that has pictures of different nests and let the children get up close and examine the different nests. Let them sit in the blanket nest as they listen to the following stories.

 

 

Good Book

The Best Nest

by P.D. Eastman

 

 

Another Good Book

A Mother For Choco

by Keiko Kasza 

 

 

One More Good Book

Tanglebird

by Bernard Lodge 

 

 

Movement

Musical Nests

Arrange the blankets into a big circle. Then, remove one of the blankets so there are only enough nests for all but one child. Play this game just like musical chairs except, instead of walking around the circle, the children should fly. When a child gets out, his blanket is moved to the middle of the circle where a new nest is created. The game is over when all of the birdies are in the big nest together.

 

 

Messy Table

 

Mud Nest

Blue Jays and Swallows build their nests out of mud on the walls of cliffs, barns and caves. Provide the children with small, paper bowls and squirt bottles filled with mud. They can squirt the mud from the bottles and onto the bowls to form a mud nest. Try making thin mud by mixing fine dirt with water until it is creamy. Then, it will easily squirt from a pancake syrup bottle. The end products may not resemble nests, but the children will have a new appreciation for the work that goes into making one.

 

Cut & Color Table

 

Bird Beaks

Some birds use their pointy beaks as needles to sew leaves together to make nests. Others use their beaks to weave twigs and hairs together to form nests. Beaks come in handy during nest building season. Give each child a snow cone cup (or paper rolled into a cone) and let them use colorful markers to decorate their beaks. Use a hole puncher to make a hole on each side of the beaks. Tie a string to each hole and let the children wear the beaks while they pretend to be birds in the home center.

 

Creative Art

 

Nest Collage

 

Things you will need:

  • Glue
  • Twigs
  • String
  • Cotton
  • Hair
  • Thread
  • Grass
  • Poster board

 

Some birds make their nests from anything they can find and they weave the materials together. They use all kinds of different materials both from nature and man made. Put materials on the table and provide them with plenty of glue. Let them glue the materials onto poster board in the shape of a nest.

 

 

Outside

 

Naughty Little Birdy Tag

Put a large blanket in the middle of the grass. This is the nest. Have all of the baby birdies sit in the nest. Mama tells the babies, “Do not leave the nest while I am gone.” When mama flies away, the babies all fly out of the nest and around the play yard. Then, mama flies back. When they see mama fly back into sight, they must fly back to the nest before mama can touch them. If a baby is touched before he makes it back to the nest, he is out. As children get “out’ give them a gummy worm to eat as they fly from the nest. Then, mama leaves the nest and tries to catch her naughty little birdies again. Play until a pre-decided number of birdies are left in the nest.