Bird's Nest Craft
Make this totally 'tweet bird house out of random scraps.
- Nesting materials:Yarn, paper scraps, leaves, grass, sticks, cotton balls, dryer lint, etc.
- A brown paper lunch bag
- Newspaper or a plastic tablecloth:If you are doing the project indoors.
- A tree or window ledge
- Mud:Yep, you heard us right. (And somewhere your kid is jumping up and down with glee because you're actually going to let her play in the mud.)
- A gardening spade or plastic toy shovel
- A bowl or bucket
- Plastic gloves:If you don't want to be picking dirt out from under your kid's fingers for the next week. Who are we kidding? Your kid's fingernails are always packed with dirt anyway.
- Binoculars (optional)
- Send your kid on a hunt around the house and yard for her nesting materials just like a real bird (although she shouldn't carry them around in her "beak" like one). Have her collect small sticks, leaves, grass, cotton balls, bits of yarn, fabric and shredded paper. You can also put her to work raiding the dryer lint trap and hunting for dust bunnies under the bed. It's cleaning disguised as a craft!
- Next, send her outside to gather up a bunch of mud and dirt. If it hasn't rained recently, have her scoop up some dirt with a spade or plastic shovel and add water to turn it into mud.
- Have her dump all of the supplies (except for the mud, of course) on the ground outside or onto a table. If she's working inside, cover her workspace with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth. You've got enough mud to contend with on the bottom of her shoes, you don't need her getting it all over the furniture with her hands, too.
- Trim a brown paper lunch sack down by about a third so it's not too bulky.
- Then help her roll the sides of the paper bag all the way down to create a shallow bowl.
- Help her cover the bag with a layer of mud.
- When she has a nice layer of mud all over the bag, get her to pack the sticks, grass and leaves into the mud.
- Have her continue adding more mud, then more nesting supplies, then more mud, on and on until she's built a strong nest.
- Finally, have her line the inside of the nest with some soft material like yarn, fabric scraps or a layer of fluffed-out cotton balls. Believe it or not, birds like the little comforts of home, as well.
- When it dries, help your kid carefully place the nest up in a tree or on a windowsill.
- There's a good chance that a bird may move in! Invest in a pair of binoculars and have your kid check in on the nest every once in a while. Some lazy sparrow may spot the nest and think, "Hey, that crib looks cool, and I don't even have to build it … or pay the property tax!"
- A little nest trivia for you: Birds build their nests in the spring to lay their eggs in and keep them safe and warm until they hatch. Every kind of bird builds a different kind of nest (just like every kind of mama decorates a different kind of living room). The nest above is a "basket nest," a simple cup-shaped nest made out of grass and leaves etc. typically built by North American songbirds (like robins.) In most species, the female does all the nest building—of course!—while the male bird sits on his birdie butt watching football. (Just kidding, but really, the guys rarely chip in.)