Anywhere you go there will be birds. Take your binoculars and look for birds flying and resting. Ideally, it would be helpful if you had a bird book to hand so you could try and identify the type of bird, however, here are a few other things to try and identify when bird-watching:
- Different beak shapes to cope with main food source—long or hooked beaks for tearing at prey, short and stout cone shapes to crack seeds.
- Feet—for different purposes like perching on twigs, running, clinging to trees, grasping prey, paddling in water.
- Color—to blend with environment or to stand out.
- Nests and eggs
Create a ‘Bug Barn’
Bugs are amazing creatures to observe. A good way to attract them is to put out something sweet like a banana with brown sugar sprinkled on top. Let the banana mixture sit outside a while, then spread it onto the bark of a tree. Check it regularly to see what new bugs you have attracted. Look through the magnifying glass and draw what you see. Perhaps even come out at night with a flashlight and see if there are any newcomers. If you want to watch a particular bug, put it in a clear container with a bottle cap of water, a stick, and some green leaves. Cover the container with netting or waxed paper (make sure to poke small holes), which can be secured by a rubber band.
Listen to the World
This activity can be done inside or outside. Sit beside your child or back-to-back, and close your eyes. Concentrate on listening to all the sounds around you. Listen to the world. Is the refrigerator humming, a plane flying overhead, the dog barking, or telephone ringing? Say what you hear. Can your child identify all the sounds? Are there any soft sounds? High sounds? Take turns being very quiet and then share what sounds you can hear.
Give each player a paper/plastic bag and a list of natural objects (a bird's feather, a leaf, a smooth rock, a pine cone, a wildflower, and so on) to collect. You can give the same list to all the players or have each player look for a different group of objects. Challenge the players to find all the objects on their lists. Set a time limit: perhaps twenty minutes to find ten objects. The first player to find all the items on his list is the winner. A child may play this game alone or with others. For a group of children, pair up nonreaders with readers. You can do this in your garden at home, or alternatively, have a look at some other possible recreational areas on our website.
Bike Photo Safari
Go for a bike ride with your child and give them a list of things they need to photograph along the way. This is a great way for children to take note of their surroundings.