Can your kids tell a tufted titmouse from a black capped chickadee? Children are naturally full of wonder at the world, and if we slow down a bit, they will patiently teach us to re-experience some of that joy that can be found when everything in the world is new and exciting.
That is why I love this activity. Keeping a bird book is a fun way to teach children about the wonders of nature. It also helps teach observation and organization skills. But, my children and I do it mostly because it really is a lot of fun.
The first thing you will have to do is to find some birds. You can go to a local park or woods, or attract them to your own backyard with a feeder. We have a platform feeder right outside our window for great bird viewing.
Next, you will need a notebook of some kind. We use a wide rule composition book. It stands up to abuse with frequent use and when we travel with it.
Finally, you will need some sort of access to a bird guide. You can buy a bird identification book, or simply use the Internet. An easy way to search is by your state or region. We search on “Pennsylvania Birds,” for example.
Next watch for birds! When you spot a bird, look it up to find out its name. Write the name at the top of a new page of your composition book. You can draw or cut and paste a picture of the bird. You can even take photos of your birds, directly. We generally will write down the date and time of the sighting, as well as an interesting fact about the bird that we have observed. When the tufted titmouse come to visit, it bangs its seed against the side of the feeder to crack the shell, while the woodpecker is king of the feeder, chasing all of the other birds away.
You can also note the dates of subsequent bird sightings and see if you notice a pattern.
This idea can also be adapted to include all sorts of creatures you come across, and is especially fun to do on vacation.
Mary Ann Romans writes for the Frugal Living Blog here at Families.com, where she shares money saving tips for today’s families. She also writes for the Computing Blog here at Families.com where she shares everything from the latest news on technology to cool downloads and fun websites.