Winter seems to have taken an extra-long hold in my area. We seem to get a few fleeting hours of nice weather between the cold and rain. I took advantage of the few minutes of nice weather recently and went for a walk. During my walk, I happened to look up in the trees hoping to see the buds beginning to form. What I saw instead was a hidden treasure high up in the tree tops. A bird’s nest was only now visible due to the leaves being off the trees.
Now is a great time to take the children on a hunt for hidden treasures. Winter makes it easy to find these hidden birds’ nests. As you hunt for nests, brainstorm with the children about why the birds build nests high up in the trees. During the exploration, ask the children if they can find nests that are different sizes. Wonder with the children about what types of birds might make nests the sizes the children see.
If you are lucky you may find a nest that has fallen to the ground. If you are that lucky, take the nest back to the classroom for the children to explore. Give the children magnifying glasses to get a good look at the material the bird used to create the nest. Help the children investigate items in the nest from nature. Are there any materials in the nest that are not from nature? If so, why might the bird have used these materials? Ask the children if they know what the purpose of a nest is and what the bird may use a nest for.
A great way to extend the exploration of nests is to allow the children to build nests of their own using various materials. Discuss with the children the topic of how the bird got all the materials to stick together in a ring shape. Do some materials work better for nest building than others? Finding and exploring nests are great ways to explore where birds live and how they build their homes.