Nature Crafts – Building Bird Nests for Kids

| April 28, 2009 | 7 Comments

Good Morning. I’m still basking in the glow of festival goodness from the weekend. I feel like the tiny person saw enough and made a few very important discoveries about taking care of the Earth this weekend that got her brain moving even more in conservationist mode.

Leave it to a nearly 4-year-old’s bluntly honest ways to remind people about taking care of the planet – as she even took a pair of women to task at the tide pools on Sunday for taking starfish off the beach to put in the garden. I suspect that her passionate plea to put the sea stars back made them think twice about their choice of garden fertilizer.

Anyway, it’s bird week around our house and we are busy learning some fascinating facts about our feathered friends of the songbird kind.

The moms and dads are busy nesting in our neighbourhood and it’s so warm and good to wake up every morning, open the windows and hear the sounds of families hanging out in the tree tops.

We have a family of Robins that nest in our yard every year and while we’ve spotted the parents, we haven’t found the nest to keep an eye on this year.

The tiny person is seriously curious about how birds make babies and how they go about building their Spring homes.

So, we headed out to the park yesterday afternoon to do a little collecting and then plunked ourselves down in the driveway yesterday afternoon to make a nest of our own.

Just to warn you, this project is going to – more than likely – be messy and gooey. So, prepare to manage the damage and jump in the bath after:).

Here’s what you need:

- An old pizza box or fairly good sized piece of cardboard

- dirt, water and a bucket for mud

- A scoop helps

- For “style” as our daughter puts it, flowers are a nice touch

- dried grasses, leaves and thin twigs.

- A bit of patience:)


1. Head out to the backyard or the park to do some collecting. Before you head into the forest, make sure you know if it’s OK to collect things there. Many forest lands in the area have a “leave no trace” policy, meaning you cannot remove things from the forest.

2. Come back and spread out your nest building supplies. Put some dirt in your collection bucket and mix it up with water to make mud. Then, begin using grasses and mud to create the base of the nest on the pizza box or cardboard.

3. Continue adding layers of leaves, grass, twigs and mud.

4. Make sure to create a well in the middle and build up around the sides. Keep adding.

5. Expect pants to look like this after child decides to add mud to them as well as the nest.

6. Decorate with flowers (optional) and fill in around the nest with twigs and other things leftover from collecting. Let dry overnight.

There’s no telling if a bird out there would find the creations nest-worthy, but they are a great jumping off point into more learning. The tiny person was convinced the Robins would love our nest best and wanted to spend the night waiting for them to arrive.

But, she settled for a trip over to The Green Hour to listen to bird calls and Hinterland Who’s Who to check out the details on our Springtime pals.

These two web locales have become favourite spots for both of us to wind down our nature projects, listen to some very cool podcasts and discover more.

We finished it all up with Birdsongs by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. This gorgeous kids book telling the sweet tales of songbirds is a perfect read post-Spring nature walk or after finishing a project.

There are a ton more nature craft project links in the sidebar (for folks who get this via e-mail, click on the headline to check out the online resources). So, check them out and head outside to log some time and get creative!

Enjoy your sunny day filled with the songs of Spring.:)

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Category: ARTS & LITERACY, Crafts

About the Author ()

Robin Rivers is the Project Development Director for Vancouver-based Mherge Media Group. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.

Comments (7)

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  1. Eloise says:

    Very nice nest! I appreciate the need to add style to it.
    If you are in Canada (guessing from the Courtenay reference in another post);which is where my sister lives, you might want to hook up to the Bird Studies Canada Nestwatch initiative. ( They are counting nesting birds this year and are specifically looking at Robins. If you have them nesting in your yard this is your chance to try citizen science.
    I enjoyed visiting your blog, thanks for the inspiration!

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