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Make an Owl Mobile and a Bald Eagle Bird Box

written by: Michele Burgess • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 9/11/2012

Plan to include these two arts and crafts activities in your grasslands and plains unit. Both are focused on declining or endangered birds, and are educational for your preschool students, while raising early awareness of the need to protect nature.

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    The following two arts and craft activities are based on birds of the United States that are declining or have become endangered species, dependent on the lands and waters they need for survival. Teach the children the importance of preserving our natural lands for future generations. Plan arts and crafts to teach our children how important it is to protect habitats, our grasslands and plains.

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    Introduce Grasslands and Plains

    Teach the children that our grasslands and plains are essential for the well-being of all living creatures that use these areas as their habitat. This is an excellent opportunity to help children become aware of why we should protect mother earth’s natural lands.

    These arts and crafts are fun to make, and use common and inexpensive materials. In addition to this, allowing the children to work together in small groups will help develop their social skills as well as listening skills.

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    Owl Mobile

    The burrowing owl is a declining species and an endangered species in Canada. These birds prefer our open grasslands, prairies, plains and savannas. In recognition of this bird, the children could make this fabulous owl mobile to decorate their preschool classroom.

    Materials Needed:

    • Light weight cardboard (pre-cut owl head)
    • Brown paper bag
    • Construction paper (one sheet of black, white and yellow)
    • Yarn
    • Pine cones
    • Safety scissors
    • Hole-punch (teacher)
    • Glue
    • Markers

    Plan:

    To begin, place the children in small groups. (Note: Steps of arts and crafts may be divided among the children as directed by the teacher.) Children should be supplied with a pre-cut owl head (cut from light weight cardboard), a brown paper bag, three pieces of colored construction paper, yarn and four pine cones per craft being made. (Note: Teachers may find it very helpful to make a mobile in advance to give the children an example to follow.)

    Next, have the children place the pre-cut owl head on the brown paper bag. Ask the children to trace then cut around the owl’s head. Glue the cut out brown paper bag matching to the cardboard owl’s head. Using a brown marker (small “U” shaped) markings may be added to the owl’s head to represent feathers.

    Now using the white construction paper, two large eyes (for the large cardboard owl) and eight small eyes (for four small pine cone owls) will need to be cut and glued. Slightly smaller black construction paper eyes need to be glued over the existing white eyes. One large (for owl head) and four small triangular beaks (for pine cone owls) will need to be cut and glued in place. (Note: As a safety precaution, teachers may choose to do the hole-punching required of this arts and craft to eliminate any possible injuries.)

    Hole-punches are needed at the top (between the eyes) and punched two holes on each side on the big owl’s beak. Various lengths of yarn will be needed to be cut for this mobile. A loop of yarn will need to be put in the hole punched between the owl’s eyes. This will be used as a hanger. (Assistance may be required for securing knots.)

    Two short lengths of yarn and two slightly longer lengths of yarn should be glued to the top of each small pine cone owl head. These should be allowed time to dry. Once dried, teachers may chose to attach pine cones by placing loose end of yarn through punch holes (sides of beak) and secure so when hanging, pine cone owl heads are at various lengths and do not touch one another.

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    The Bald Eagle Box Bird

    The bald eagle is a declining symbol of the United States of America. Help the children learn that our grasslands and plains are essential to our wildlife. Planning arts and crafts is fun and engaging and is a great learning opportunity.

    Materials Needed:

    • Small cardboard box
    • Construction paper (dark brown)
    • Poster board (few sheets of white)
    • Three inch plastic foam ball (divided)
    • Safety scissors
    • Colored markers
    • Glue
    • Wooden or plastic stir sticks

    Plan:

    Let’s begin by placing the children in small groups at tables. Each child should be supplied with a small cardboard box, a piece of brown construction paper, a few sheets of white poster board, half of a three inch plastic foam ball, safety scissors, glue, colored markers and two stir sticks. Now have each child cover the small cardboard box with brown construction paper. (Teachers may choose to use tape to attach construction paper to cardboard box rather than glue to avoid drying process.)

    This covered box will make the body of our bird. A head and neck for our eagle will need to be cut from the white poster board. Eagle heads and necks are white so a pair of small black eyes and a beak is all that will be needed to complete the head. Once completed, cut and glue in place. Wings will also need to be cut from the white poster board. (Note: Eagle wing spans are approximately two and a half times longer than their body length.)

    The tail, which is also made from the white poster board, may be left white. Glue wings and tail in place on the small cardboard box. Have the children color one half of the three inch plastic foam ball with a black marker. This will be used as the base. Two small holes will need to be poked through the base of the covered box with stir sticks. Glue the stir sticks (bird legs) in place.

    The children should carefully push the stir straws into the split three inch plastic foam ball. Feet for the eagle can be cut from white poster board and colored in with the yellow marker. Glue the feet onto the base (plastic foam ball half).

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    The decline of these birds is only a tiny fraction of what will happen if we choose not to preserve our natural lands. These fun crafts are a terrific way to introduce an important topic while raising early awareness in the minds of our children. Knowledge is power and the children are our future.