One of my favorite memories as a homeschool mom is the year my oldest son was turning 4. We had this tradition at the time, that my husband would take my daughter out for a Valentine’s Day “date” so that she could learn to appreciate how a lady should be treated and get special one-on-one time with Dad at the same time.
Well, on this year my son suddenly took notice and announced, “I want to take Mommy out for a Valentine’s Day date.”
Now my husband told him, if he was going to take me on a date for Valentine’s Day, he had to do it right. So my husband took him to the store to buy me a gift. But they didn’t just go to any old store. They went to Home Depot. And they came home with everything we needed to hang bird feeders outside the picture window in our living room.
That was a precious Valentine’s Day gift for this homeschooling mama! We spent many hours at those windows watching the birds peck away at their food, watching the squirrel steal the food, and watching the neighbor’s cat stalk the birds and occasionally get one of them. (I kid you not.) We even did the Great Backyard Bird Count one year at that window. The download link for your free bird coloring pages is at the end of this post.
When kids are little, they are all about birds. It is easy to get a child interested, and that interest can blossom into a love for birds as the child grows up. We’ve tried to inspire in our children a love for all of creation and birds are a great place to start!
I stumbled upon these bird images early this year and knew immediately that they would make beautiful bird coloring pages for spring. It inspired me to refill the bird feeder out front, and hopefully soon we will start seeing birds and squirrels with the six-year-old twins. In the meantime, I’m printing off these pretty bird coloring pages for all my kids — I’m pretty sure kids of all ages in this house are going to love these — and preparing for an All About Birds unit study to wet our whistle for learning.
I have a few ideas up my sleeve for our own All About Birds unit study. We missed the Great Backyard Bird Count. So instead, we will focus on books, stories, videos, and activities all about birds.
Videos all about birds for kids.
We have this amazing set of DVDs from the BBC, filmed by David Attenborough, called The Life of Birds. You can buy them on Amazon on DVD, or on iTunes for electronic versions. If you have Amazon Prime you can watch videos about birds for free through Amazon Prime Instant Video. I just added some to my watch list.
Educational books and apps all about birds for kids.
When my daughter was reading through Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day by Jeannie Fulbright last year, she thoroughly enjoyed the app called iBird Pro. We got the Pro version on sale and it was an awesome app purchase. But, you can also get a free version called iBird Lite to start with. Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (published by Apologia Educational Ministries) is excellent for elementary and junior high kids and my daughter still talks about the stuff she learned.
For little kids, I’ve enjoyed using the Let’s Read and Find Out About Science series — the bird books include A Nest Full of Eggs, How do Birds Find Their Way, Penguin Chicks, Ducks Don’t Get Wet, and Where Do Chicks Come From. We also like to have a few bird encyclopedias and field guides around to look at pictures and study. This encyclopedia is amazing: The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds of the World. And this field guide is too: The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America.
Picture books all about birds for kids.
Picture books take learning in a different direction and appeal to our inherent love of story-telling. I love to find beautiful picture books which also represent truth — like the biographies The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon, For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson, and The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist. And let’s not forget other nonfiction picture books about birds like Birds Build Nests which is a classic family favorite nonfiction poem.
Of course, we also enjoy a bit of fiction! Some of the bird fiction books we’ve enjoyed include The Story About Ping, In the Rain with Baby Duck, The Ugly Duckling, The Lion and the Little Red Bird, and Elsie’s Bird.
Activity books all about birds for kids.
Of course, no unit study on birds would be complete without actually finding activities to help you study birds in real life. These books offer fun activities to help you feed birds more creatively, attract birds to your yard, and learn about birds through arts and crafts and drawing. Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds, Cooking for the Birds: Recipes to Attract and Feed Backyard Birds, How to Draw Birds, Ultimate Sticker Book of North American Birds (are my kids the only ones who love these?), and Birds in Origami.