Children are naturally curious about birds, and other animals, and are usually excited to be able to learn about them close-up. Because there are so many different types of birds, seeing them in their natural habitats is quite easy. Unlike other forms of wildlife, observing birds is generally as easy as stepping into your own yard! Nurturing a love of wildlife is not only good for your child, but it is good for the world at large since it enourages us all to care for our environmentth creatures that inhabit it and for future generations.
When I was a little girl, my brothers and I would spend hours watching birds from their bedroom window. Their windows overlooked the small side yard that was surrounded by bushes and trees, creating a bird haven. We had a family bird book that came with small vinyl records of bird songs in the back, so we would open the windows and play those records in hopes of attracting more birds. In addition, we usually sprinkled birdseed liberally on the ground outside the window. And you know what?? It worked! Cardinals and blue jays, sparrows, thrashers and more came to check out the food and the songs. We learned to recognize each bird not only by the way it looked, but by its unique song, as well.
Our newest Connections Box, For The Birds, gives children a chance to read about, learn about and enjoy birds. As usual, all the materials you need for 10 different activities are included in the box! (Photos of the materials are included in the box description so that you can see all the amazing stuff you're going to get.)You and your child will have the opportunity to observe birds, feed birds and play games about birds and you won't have to go buy a thing! In fact, the box will be delivered right to your doorstep, free of charge!!! You can't beat that!!!
One of my favorites are the tiny hummingbirds that come to my yard from time to time. Over the years, I have filled my hummingbird feeders with red-colored nectar, hoping to attract them with their favorite color. However, in recent years, we have learned that the artificial red dye does more harm than good. You can buy commercially prepared hummingbird nectar that does not have dyes or you can make your own. Here is a super simple recipe to use when you feeders run dry:
Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water (ex: 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water). Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover and let cool before filling your feeder. You can store the nectar in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
****Because ants are also attracted to sweet treats, I deter them by placing a small bit of petroleum jelly at the hook of the feeder so that the ants can't crawl past it, yet it won't be in the way of the birds.
We adults often get so wrapped up in our "to do lists" that we take for granted the beauty that we can see, and even hear, around us. Encourage your kids to stop, look and listen. Birds sing, they protect their territory, they attract mates, they hunt for food. This behavior is fascinating to watch. Make sure the children in your life notice these things. I love birds, and I hope that by the time you finish these activities, you and your child will become bird-lovers as well!