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Birds are a popular subject with young children. They see them often in their lives - in nature, as pets and in zoos and science centers. These preschool activities about birds will help children learn more about our feathered friends.
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Characteristics of Birds
Preschool children have seen many birds, but do they know what makes a bird different from other animals? After this activity they will be able to tell you several characteristics of birds.
Begin by asking the children what they know about birds. Discuss their ideas. Then choose a few bird characteristics to focus on and discuss each one with your students. Some preschool appropriate traits are:
- Birds lay eggs.
- Birds have feathers, wings and beaks.
- Birds have no teeth.
- Most birds can fly. (Tell them about exceptions like penguins emus and ostriches.)
Next show the class pictures of different animals and have them help you decide if they are birds or not. Have pictures of several different types of birds as well as pictures of animals that have some of the traits but not all, like bats, reptiles, and flying squirrels. Discuss the animals and why they are or aren't birds. You can add the pictures to the science center for more sorting practice if you want.
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Bird Life Cycle
Preschoolers will have fun pretending to be baby birds with this bird life cycle dramatic play activity.
Read a book about a bird's life cycle such as Duck (See How They Grow) or Owl (See How They Grow) both by DK Publishing. Then after talking about the life cycle, let your students pretend that they are little birds getting ready to hatch from their eggs. Have them curl up in a ball, close their eyes and pretend that they are all snug inside of an egg. Talk them through the process of using their beaks to crack the shell and then wiggling out of the shell into the bright light. Finish with having them stretch their wings and legs and looking around at all of the other "baby birds" that are hatching. You can find a follow up lesson plan for making a model chick life cycle.
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A Bird Visit
Let your students learn about birds and their needs and habits close-up by arranging for a caged bird like a parakeet to visit your classroom. Let students spend an afternoon observing the pet and then make a list of their observations. Point out the things that the bird needs, like food, water and a place to perch. If possible invite the pet to stay a few days in the classroom and have the students help you take care of it. Allowing a real bird to visit your student also gives them the chance to see the birds features like his beak, wings and feathers up close. If it isn't possible to invite a bird to your classroom, try to plan a field trip to a pet store, zoo or science center where the children can see some birds in real life.
Your students will love learning about birds with these science activities. Try these other cool activities too!