As mentioned in Part 1 of this article, in the weeks that followed our Montessori classroom visit from Charlie the Congo African Grey Parrot and Horton the Citron Crested Cockatoo, we have learned songs and finger plays about birds and have implemented a number of different bird activities to extend the theme and enrich our Montessori preschool students’ learning experiences.
Learning About Birds with Fun Montessori Preschool Classroom Activities
Feather SortingCharlie and Horton’s owner brought in a picture of each of the parrots as well as a collection of their feathers. I decided to create a sorting activity, and my Montessori students have really enjoyed it. The child places both pictures on a mat and then sorts the feathers by looking at the picture and deciding whether the feather came from Charlie or Horton.
Eggshell CollagesWe sent home a note to our Montessori parents asking them to save well washed, clean eggshells and dye them with springtime pastels. The children then used a mortar and pestle to crush the dyed eggshells into small pieces and then used glue to apply the eggshells to construction paper eggs.
Parts of a Bird PuzzleI absolutely love the Montessori Botany and Zoology puzzles, and the Parts of a Bird puzzle has definitely been a popular one over the past few weeks. The children enjoy naming the different parts, tracing the parts, and matching them up on the control poster.
Parts of Bird NomenclatureThe children have enjoyed learning about the parts of a bird, and the function of each of the parts. They have created their own books, posters, and have labeled their own drawings.
Feather PaintingOn the art shelf in our Montessori classroom, we have created a painting tray with different types of feathers, paper and paint. The children have had great fun experimenting with different paint consistencies and types of feathers.
Bird Watching BasketThis has been a very popular activity with the students and was extremely easy to create. First, I printed pictures of birds that are found in our geographic region and created a poster, which I later laminated for added durability. I created ten of these bird identification posters and I keep them in a large basket along with several pair of binoculars. When we go outside I bring the basket out with us, and the children enjoy using the binoculars to search for birds to find matches to those on the identification posters. It is amazing how quickly they have learned the names of the different birds and can identify them based on certain key features! We definitely have several bird-watching enthusiasts in our Montessori class.
Birdseed CollagesFor the art shelf, we also created a tray with bird seed, paper, and white glue. The children enjoyed drizzling glue onto the paper, and then sprinkling the birdseed over the glue. Some of the designs were very unique — no two were alike!
Bird CraftI cut out several different bird templates on colored poster board and the children have used them for collages, sponge painting, and have especially enjoyed gluing on feathers to make their birds come to life!
Bird SortingUsing tongs to pick up little penguins and sort them according to color has definitely been a popular activity with the children, especially the younger ones and the tongs are wonderful tools for refining their fine motor control.
Bird ClothespinsI was so excited when I found little bird clothespins at my local dollar store... I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Inside each of three colorful eggs, I placed 4 or 5 bird clothespins. The student’s job is to open each egg, remove the clothespins and clip them around the edge of the “nest” (basket). This activity always seems to be in use, and is wonderful for strengthening a young child's fingers!
Robin's EggsAfter looking at pictures of a robin’s egg, we decided it would be fun to make our own. I cut several eggs out of poster board, the children painted them blue, and then sprinkled them with sand to give them a speckled effect.
Bird Finger PlaysThe children have enjoyed learning different finger plays, and I have included a few of the favorites below.
Five little birds without any home, (raise 5 fingers of right hand)
Five little trees all in a row. (raise right hand high overhead)
Come and build your nests in our branches tall (cup left hand for nest and place right fingers in)
We'll rock you to and fro. (rock cradled hands)
Here's a nest for Robin, (cup hands to form nest)
Here's a hive for Bee, (tent fingertips to form hive)
Here's a hole for Rabbit, (fingertips curled around each other to form hole)
And here’s a house for me. (interlock fingers, knuckles up, for house)
Two little birds sat up on a wall, (two fingers placed on each shoulder)
One named Peter, one named Paul (raise both fingers)
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul (wiggle fingers as you move arm behind your back in arc.)
Come back Peter, come back Paul. (bring hands in front, one at a time)
Two little blackbirds, sitting on a hill (hands closed with thumbs straight up for birds)
One named Jack, (wiggle one thumb) the other named Jill. (wiggle other thumb)
Fly away Jack (toss one hand at a time over shoulders) Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack (bring back hands one at a time) Come back Jill.
Up in the sky, the little birds fly. (flutter outstretched hands)
Down in their nests, the little birds rest. (lower hands into lap)
With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right, (wave left hand, then right)
The dear little birdies sleep through the night. (fold hands under cheek)
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, April 21, 2011.