Teach students about the reasons birds need nests and materials birds use to make their nests. Take the students outside to collect materials to make a nest. For a craft preschoolers are sure to love, have students create their own bird's nests using materials collected and playdough.
Teach About a Bird's Nest
Teach the children that birds build nests to keep chicks safe from predators and from protection from the cold. Most birds build their nests high in a tree and take a long time to build their nests. Birds use mud, leaves, grass, twigs, yarn, thin twigs, string, feathers, and sometimes even soft paper. They use their beaks to "sew" the nest together.
Say to the students:
Today we will make our own bird's nests and remember to keep our earth a safe place for birds. Although the birds will not likely live in ours, remember that a nest is a safe place for birds.
For a fun book preschoolers are sure to want to hear again and again, read P.D. Eastman's classic, "The Best Nest," with the class.
Materials and Procedure for Making a Bird Nest
- Brown Play dough or Model Magic (about 1 cup per student)
- Outdoor materials - collected by students
- Small brown paper bags
- Optional - blue play dough
Preschoolers are natural scientists. On a warm day, take the students outside to observe birds and to collect materials for their bird's nests. Students should collect, grass, soft paper, string, leaves, yarn, leaves, and thin twigs. Provide students with small paper bags for their collections.
Once inside, give each student brown play dough. Tell the students that the brown play dough will represent the mud for this craft. Show the students how to shape the play dough into a bowl-like configuration. To do this, they can work the play dough piece into a ball and then flatten it a little bit. Next, they use their fists to push the center of the "nest" in, and gently fold the sides up. With a preschool craft, it is always best if each work of art is different. Before class, create a model for students to look at, but avoid using a bowl to create a mold for the nests. With a toothpick, print the student's initials on the bottom of his or her nest.
Last, have the students use the outdoor materials they collected to press into the play dough. Students should only press their materials in and on the nest, not through it. Teach them to avoid squeezing too hard to keep the nest in its form. Set the nests aside.
If desired, give students blue play dough to shape into ovals to represent bird eggs.