Birding, also known as bird-watching, is a fun activity for kids and adults of all ages.
Birding for Kids! Children will love this list of bird-watching activities and lessons for kids from toddlers to teens. Watching and observing birds is an outdoor wildlife observation activity for young and old alike.
Birdwatching is a great way to study nature at home and in the wild. Invite children to observe birds with the naked eye, or with binoculars and telescopes, to discover the wonderful world of birds.
Both kids and adults love to observe and identify birds for fun, and to learn more about them. Scroll down to find a list of birding, or birdwatching activities and lessons for preschoolers, kindergarteners, elementary-aged kids, tweens, and teens. You might also enjoy this list of Outside Learning Activities for Kids.
Birding for Kids
Birdwatching is a great way to study nature in the backyard, local, national and state parks, and nature reserves. Both kids and adults love to observe and identify birds to learn more about them. This list of bird-watching activities and lessons for kids can help children learn about birds, and increase their knowledge about the many types or species of birds native to their environment, and into the world beyond.
Another benefit of birding for kids is the fact that the best bird watching happens outdoors. In other words, this list of birding activities can help get kids outside to create a connection with the natural world and the secrets that it shares. Allow children the opportunity to take charge of their education, as they strike out in search of the answers to the questions that matter most to them.
Related: Get Outside and Connect
Use this list of birdwatching activities to get started with birding in your backyard and your local area. One of the best times of year to watch birds is late winter and early spring because most birds are migrating north to return home and mating. But any day is an excellent day for birdwatching! As a bonus, many of these birding activities make it easy to add literacy, math, and science into a child’s education at home or in the classroom.
Related: Nature Study for Kids
Bird Watching Supplies for Kids:
Here’s an essential list of birding supplies for kids. We recommend starting with the birdwatching items from the list directly below. Once you have collected a few of these necessary birding supplies for kids, feel free to grab a few more birding resources from the list that follows.
- Real birding binoculars for kids, or, monocular telescope
- Peterson Field Guide to Birds or Wildlife Guide
- Birdwatching log or nature journal
- Colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or a portable watercolor set
A few more bird-watching supplies and learning resources for kids:
- Burgess Bird Book for Children
- What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young
- Bird Language Basics DVD by Jon Young
- National Geographic Kids: Bird Guide of North America – A birding book for kids from National Geographic’s bird experts.
- Birds, Nests & Eggs – “A fun, and informative take-along guide that will help children learn to identify 15 birds, and it features a few bird activities that are fun and easy to do.”
- Bird Log Book for Kids – A children’s bird watching journal that makes it easy to record birding experiences.
- Backyard Birding Flashcards – 100 Common Birds of Eastern and Western North America
Related: Best Nature Study Supplies for Kids
11 Educational Birding Activities for Kids
Birding, also known as bird watching is a great way to get kids outside learning and having fun. Use this round-up of birding activities to spark a child’s interest in nature, science, and lead them to ask even more questions about the big wide world that surrounds them.
Invite children to observe bird behavior in their backyard, schoolyard, neighborhood, or park with these fun birdwatching activities for kids. Start by watching birds in your yard. Next, head out into your local community by visiting parks and nature reserves. Finally, encourage children to record their observations in their nature journals, or one of the birding logs pictured below.
1. Enjoy Backyard Birdwatching
Bird-watching is a great way to study nature in your backyard! Our family loves to spend time watching the birds in our yard and garden. We call out to the birds that we see from our windows when we spy them in our birdfeeders, and we even call some by name.
Backyard bird-watching is a fun activity for all ages. Both kids and adults love to observe birds and learn more about them. Choose from any of the fun birding activities listed below to get started!
Many backyard birdwatching activities for kids can also be done by educators and their students on the schoolyard, or at the local park if you don’t have a backyard or patio that will work.
2. Make Your Backyard Bird-Friendly
One of the best ways to bring birds into your backyard, or onto your patio, and help them thrive, is to create a bird-friendly environment or habitat. Making or providing bird feeders, standing or hanging birdbaths, and birdhouses is an easy way to make your yard or patio more bird-friendly. Our bird friends seem to prefer the hanging platform or tray bird feeders. A few recommendations are pictured below.
Another simple way to bring birds into your backyard is with native plants, colorful flowers, or a garden filled with trees and plants that help birds thrive. Learn more about how to make your backyard bird-friendly with THESE helpful tips from The Audubon Society.
Get Certified as a Wildlife Habitat
Another option is to certify your backyard, patio, or garden as a wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. Have a look at THIS informative guide to get started today!
Anyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife.The National Wildlife Federation
3. Learn to Identify Birds
Learning to identify birds is a fun outdoor learning activity for kids from preschoolers to teens. If you have ever heard the question, “What’s that bird?” It’s time to invest in a pair of birding binoculars and a good bird book to help children try this fun birding activity for kids.
My daughter loves to grab her binoculars each time she sees a bird in the backyard. We have learned to keep them near the back door to avoid the disappointment of the bird being ‘gone’ by the time she returns.
Teaching yourself how to identify birds is one of the best ways to learn more about them. This birding activity can keep children busy for hours as they attempt to identify the birds that they see, and look up the birds they don’t know in a bird field guide.
Don’t forget to take birding binoculars, or a monocular telescope, and a bird field guide (or two) when you head to the park, nature reserve, or out on a hike into the great outdoors.
The National Audubon Society has an online guide to help children get better at identifying birds that you can find HERE. All about birds also has an excellent online bird guide that you can find HERE. A few of our favorite bird books and birding field guides for kids are listed below.
4. Backyard Bird Watching Observation Activity
A simple bird observation page to help young naturalists record the birds that they see can be found HERE. This colorful birding page is designed for recording the number of birds you observe each day.
The bird observation page has the days of the week on the left. First, write the names of the birds that are common in your backyard in the columns at the top. Next, spend the next week counting the birds that you see by making a mark in the space provided.
Count them up at the end of the week and record the number of birds that you saw in a nature journal. Or, use a three-hole paper punch to put the page in a homemade nature notebook.
5. Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count
The great backyard bird count is held once a year in the second week of February. The next backyard bird count is scheduled for February 12-15, 2021. Learn more about this fun birding event HERE.
6. Name that Bird by Birdcall or Song
Encourage children to learn to identify the bird birdcalls of the species that live in your area. Learning bird calls and songs is a great way to identify birds that hide in dense foliage, and birds that come out at night. This birdcall identification activity can also help both children and adults learn to identify birds that look alike, but may not sound alike. A few fantastic bird language books for use at home, outdoors, or in the classroom, are listed below.
Even Toddlers Can Learn to Identify Birdcalls!
Babies and toddlers love to imitate the sounds that they hear from a young age and, thus, like to echo the bird sounds, bird calls, and bird songs that they hear in the natural world around them. Learn bird language basics with the resource guides listed in the section above.
Our daughter’s favorite bird sound to imitate is, of course, the woodpecker. She loves to exclaim rat-tat-tat-tat each time she hears or sees one pecking at a tree. She also enjoys coo-oo cooing gently with doves, squawking with blue jays, cawing at crows, and quacking around with the local ducks.
The little one showed us that she could correctly identify geese honking in the sky from a great distance when she was only two years old! While out on a walk, she exclaimed, “geese!” I said, “What?” She loudly repeated, “GEESE!” I was about to squash her excitement and tell her that there were no geese. When, all of a sudden, I heard a faint honking in the sky!
We looked directly over our heads and saw a perfect “V” of geese so high I was shocked that she even heard them. Not only did she accurately identify what they were by the sound of their call, but she also heard them honking through the sky long before I did. They were so high up; I had to pick her up in my arms and lay her horizontally so that she could see them!
7. Birding Scavenger Hunt Ideas
Grab your nature study supplies and head outside to try one of these fun bird scavengers hunts with the kids.
Bird Counting Scavenger Hunt
This scavenger hunt can be done in two different ways. Either count the number of birds species that you can identify by sight or sound for the day, or, add the birds that you see or hear to the total number of birds that you have seen of each species in your birdwatching or nature journal.
Find That Bird Scavenger Hunt
Is there a bird that you would love to see but haven’t yet? Head out on a scavenger hunt to find the bird, or birds, that continue to illude you with this fun bird seeking activity. First, do a little research on the bird’s favorite habitat, food, and wake and sleep patterns. Next, head out on an adventure in search of that bird!
Bird Feather Scavenger Hunt
Head out in search of feathers in your backyard, in your neighborhood, or a nature hunt into the great outdoors. Next, challenge the kids to use a bird field guide to identify which bird that each feather came from.
Related: Nature Sensory Bin Scavenger Hunt
8. Draw or Paint Birds
Another fun birding activity for kids, and a great way to learn more about them, is to spend time drawing or painting them.
Drawing and painting birds can help anyone learn more about them. Try any of the “How to Draw Birds” books listed below.
9. Take Pictures of Birds
Taking a picture of a bird makes it possible to use a birding field guide to figure out what it is later, as opposed to attempting to identify an unfamiliar bird in the wild.
If birding is an activity that you or your children enjoy, consider investing in photography lessons and a good camera with a telephoto lens, or a cell phone camera lens kit. You may just find that you want to capture pictures of your bird friends, the birds that you meet along the way, and rare captures worthy of the birding photography wall.
10. Make a Birds Nest Birding Activity for Kids
Creating a bird’s nest is a fun STEAM challenge for kids preschool age and up. Invite children to make a bird’s nest as a fun and educational birding activity for kids.
First, encourage children to head outside in search of items that a bird would use to make a nest. Next, invite them to use the natural materials that they collect to make a bird’s nest.
This is a self-motivated activity for our daughter. She has been making birds nests out of natures scraps since she was a toddler. One of her many nests is pictured below.
11. Study a Bird or Species of Birds
Once children become interested in birding and all of the birds that they hear and see around them, a great way to extend their learning is to study a particular bird or species of birds.
Spend time observing it in its natural habitat, head to the library in search of information, and do a google search for fun ways to learn more. When we follow the interests of our children, they are a lot more interested in learning.
Educational Birding Resources for Children
A few more excellent educational birding resources for children are listed below.
Educational Birding Games and Activities for Children Bundle
Study birds with children, while playing games, working on crafts, completing STEM challenges, and doing other hands-on activities at home, or in the classroom, with THIS educational birding bundle for kids from Adventure in a Box. With the bundle, the students can explore:
- Birds’ plumage and dimorphism in birds
- The diversity of the birds, as well as their distinctive features
- Birds’ eggs and parenting habits
- 48 different species of bird
- Birds’ houses and engineering skills
The combination of pictures, icons, and limited language in most games and activities within the birding bundle makes the lesson plans suitable for children from preschool through middle school. Enjoy exploring the world of birds at home, or in the classroom, with THIS fun and educational birding bundle for kids!
Birding Lessons and Learning Activities for Kids
Learn more about birds, their habitats, and much more with lessons tailored to students from Kindergarten through 12th grade from The Cornell Lab.
From free curricula to all-inclusive kits, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a wide variety of lessons and activities to captivate learners of all grade levels.The Cornell Lab
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