Bird’s Nest STEM Nature Activity for Kids
We’re studying birds’ nests this month in our “Month in Nature” calendar. One activity we did is attempt to build our own bird’s nest. Trying to build a bird’s nest is a fun engineering activity that will get your child to start thinking about birds and how they build their nest.
Steps for Building the Nest
1. First, you may want to read about nests.
The book Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest by Irene Kelly is a lovely book that introduces your child to what materials birds use to make nests. It also shows the many different kinds of nests birds make. (It’s available for free on Open Library.) My daughter loved the pictures in this one.
It was amazing to read about all the different ways God has equipped birds to build their nests.
You also might want to print out the Bird’s Nest Printable Pack I’ve prepared for this activity and use the journal sheet to record your findings.
2. Build the nest with your child.
Gather materials to build your bird’s nest. Some things you could gather are leaves, grass, and twigs. Shape them into a nest inside a small container. (For example, an empty sour cream container.)
3. Then, place your nest in a tree or bush.
After you are satisfied with your nest, place it into a tree. Try to settle it firmly between two or three branches.
4. Test the nest to see how strong it is.
Test the nest by placing rocks or pine cones in it. Is your nest able to support small objects? Could it support an egg? Wait a few days and check on your nest. Is it still in the tree? Can it withstand wind and rain?
What could you do to make it stronger?
5. Discuss what you’ve learned from the bird’s nest activity.
During the course of this activity, your child will probably comment that birds are better at building nests than we are. If they don’t make this remark on their own, gently lead them to this discovery.
My daughter loved this activity. She was really hoping that a bird would move into her nest. It would make a lovely home, wouldn’t it? I told her that was unlikely and that most birds like to build their own nests.
The sting of this was softened by the fact that we discovered a couple nests over the course of the next few days. A pair of catbirds started building a nest in the barberry bushes outside our dining room window. We were able to watch them bring leaves to use in their nest.
We also noticed that they were using the backs of sticky shipping labels in their nest. (Our family business consists of shipping items and a few label backs must have ended up outside.) This is probably the weirdest thing I’ve seen birds use to build a nest.
The next day, we spotted a cardinal pair building a nest outside our bedroom window. We have a really good view into the nest, so I’m looking forward to watching them raise her young. I think this is the same pair of cardinals we’ve been feeding all winter, so it pays to feed the birds.
We also discovered a nest that had fallen down under our porch eaves. It was sad to know that the eggs wouldn’t make it, but it was amazing to be able to see the beautiful moss-covered nest up close. We think it’s the nest of an Eastern Phoebe.
What bird’s nests have you discovered this year?
What items have you noticed birds using for their nests?
This post is part of a 10 Day Learning with Nature Series. If you enjoyed this activity, you might want to take a look at the other posts in the series.