Birds have been a recurring theme in our home daycare throughout the years, especially in Spring & Fall. And by far one of our most popular posts on Sugar, Spice & Glitter has been our Kid-made Bird Feeder Wreath, so I thought we’d share all of the preschool bird activities we’ve been up to recently, along with some other ideas from around the web that look like fun!
Here are 50+ Montessori-inspired Ideas for a Preschool or Kindergarten Bird Unit Study!
I’ll be fully honest: at this point in our life, we’re not strictly Montessori. Ella attends a Reggio kindergarten part-time, and with free full-day kindergarten starting at 3.5-4 years old in Canada, our daycare kids are all between the ages of 1-3. I would say we are still heavily Montessori-inspired because that’s my background and what we love, but our activities look different than what you would see at a Montessori school.
While there are “all or nothing” Montessori purists, I’d rather implement what works in our lifestyle and not try to fit our lifestyle into a strict definition of what it means to be Montessori. If Montessori means hands-on learning, child-based inquiry informed by the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, I would say we’re pretty Montessori!
I’m going to break down these ideas into their Montessori Categories – Sensorial, Practical Life, Language Arts, Math, and Culture.
One material you’re going to see over and over again in these activities are these Bird Toobs from Safari Ltd. They have a Backyard Birds collection and an Exotic Birds collection. I like them because they are very detailed and realistic – more so than any other similar collection of miniature animal figurines we’ve checked out. The figurines are individually hand painted and super affordable, and ours have lasted nearly a decade without any visible signs of wear.
Also, be sure to provide a few books about birds in your reading nook while engaging in your bird unit study. I’ve collected my favorite Montessori-inspired Bird Books here.
Bird Sensory Play
In Montessori, the Sensorial curriculum is not the same as your typical sensory play – but sensory play can be a more accessible way to engage the senses if you can’t buy or DIY the whole sensorial curriculum.
Sensory Play is always a huge part of our curriculum, and it’s essential in any well-rounded preschool program. We’ve done quite a few bird sensory activities this Spring and I’ve found a few more ideas we’d like to try! We also included some bird-inspired sensory play ideas in our 10+ Spring Sensory Bins post.
- Worm Clean Mud Sensory Bin
- Bird Seed Sensory Bin
- Bird Seed Slime
- Feather Painting | Munchkins & Moms
Process art & sensory, all in one!
- Bird Binoculars | Art Bar Blog
Make these binoculars and then focus on observing & isolating your sense of sight while looking for birds
- Spaghetti Birds Nests | Still Playing School
- Kiddie Pool Bird’s Nest | Creekside Learning
- Bird Seed Play Dough | Two-daloo
- Bird Nest Play Dough Invitation | Fantastic Fun & Learning
- Feed the Birds Fine Motor Sensory Bin | Modern Preschool
- Play Dough Birds | Craftulate
Bird Practical Life
There are lots of fun ways to incorporate a love of birds into your child’s Montessori practical life activities, from making bird feeders to making a meal with eggs! Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Build a bird feeder
We’ve made several – cookie cutter ones, peanut butter on a tp roll versions, and Cheerios on pipe cleaners, etc.
- Bird a Bird House
- Feathers for Lunch | Munchkins & Moms
This activity might look like sensory play, but it also incorporates scissors skills and hand-eye coordination – which I would say are pretty practical!
- Cleaning Bird Feeders | from Marie of Child Led Life
- Filling Bird Feeders | Mama’s Happy Hive
Part of a larger toddler bird unit study.
- Eat Like a Bird | My Nearest & Dearest
Use some tongs to practice fine motor skills and pretend that you’re a bird gathering food with it’s beak!
- Transferring Eggs | Every Star is Different
If you’d prefer a non-food activity with your tongs, this egg transfer activity is a great way to put that devilled egg tray to good use!
- Studying Bird Beaks | Pink Stripey Socks
Another twist, but I really love this concept of using several different utensils to recreate the function of a beak – and I REALLY how Leslie painted her son’s hand to look like a bird with the fingers as the beak!
- Building a Bird Hide | Mother Natured
While building a bird house would be fun, what about building a jungle-style “bird hide” that kids can observe & photograph birds from!
- Egg Cracking Fine Motor Activity | Modern Preschool
Maybe not what you’d expect from the title – but a great way to build some hand muscles!
- Our PB&J Bird Seed Ornaments are also a great way to use practical life skills in the kitchen (and then get to see all of the birds visiting to enjoy their special snack).
Bird Language Arts
We previously shared our Top 10 Bird Books (a mix of fiction and nonfiction), and here are some other ways to include birds into your language studies:
- I love coming up with fun ways to change up our Montessori Writing Tray, like adding bird seed instead of salt/sand!
- Magnetic Bird Letter Activities | Learning2Walk
You can keep them on a cookie sheet if you don’t want them decorating your fridge.
- Bird 3-Part Cards
Officially a science material, but they are also good for learning to read
- Printable Bird I Spy | And Next Comes L
A great way to practice descriptive language and adjectives to describe the various birds on the printable
- Bird Consonant Blend Activities | Learning2Walk
- Seed Name Art | Life Over C’s
Create a beautiful, textured name for children to trace and admire
- Free Spring Bird Emergent Reader | Early Learning Ideas @ Teachers Pay Teachers
- Bird Alphabet Poster | Yong Chen
I am loving this & think it would work well with the other bird art in our play room.
- Letter Crafts | Mommas Fun World
I love Orton-Gillingham crafts, like the letters D and N from this series, as well as a “B” decorated like a bird.
- Feed Letter Worms to the Baby Bird | Kiwi Krate
- Our Easy Bird Feeder is also a great science-meets-art activity!
- Replace the spindles in your Montessori Spindle Box with craft eggs or fishing tackle worms.
- Bird Play Dough Mats for Counting | Life Over C’s
A fun way to blend sensory play and math!
- Counting & Subtracting Bird Eggs | Every Star is Different
This post also has a printable set of 50 Bird Cards from around the world!
- Bird Sorting | Activity Mom
Practice size classification with this free printable & some easy paper bag nests!
- Nest Counting Mats | the Measured Mom
- Robin’s Next Addition | Make Take Teach at Teachers Pay Teachers
- Pin the Tail on the Bird | From Pond
I love how many ways to play Mel came up with!
- Fingerprint Nest Eggs | Adventures in Tutoring & Special Education
You could use children’s fingers or bingo dabbers to complete these counting sheets.
- Egg Sorting Tot Tray | My Life of Travels & Adventures
This is a great way to practice one-to-one correspondence combined with practical life & fine motor skills!
- 5 Little Ducks | the Wiggles
I love finger play songs, and this one is a classic that involves 5 little ducks going over a hill and far away…
In Montessori, “culture” refers to science, sociology, geography, and history. Here you will find an assortment of ideas that range from scientific observation and experiments, to understanding the anatomy of birds, and the different birds that can be found all over the world!
- Bird Watching | Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Go for a nature walk and look for birds – binoculars and bird guide book optional!
- PB&J Cookie Cutter Bird Seed Ornaments
A bit of sensory play, kitchen time and bird culture all in one!
- Backyard Birds Observation sheet | Natural Beach Living
A more localized approach to bird watching, which is perfect if you just set up a special bird feeder.
- Invitation to Build a Bird’s Nest | Munchkins & Moms
A great sorting and classifying activity.
- Bird Next Provocation | Wonders in Kindergarten
Go for a nature walk and then set-up this hands-on exploration of how to build a bird’s nest.
- Bird 3 Part Cards & classification book printables | the Pinay Homeschooler
Learn the parts of the bird & make your own book with these free printables.
- Studying Bird Characteristics | the Pinay Homeschooler
- Bird Beak Experiment | Blessed Beyond a Doubt
After you notice that not all beaks look the same, it might be a good time to explore the different uses for beaks! Beaks are so much more than lips – they are tools that birds can use in many different ways.
- This Bird Life Cycle set is on our wishlist!
- Predict & Pour Bird Seed | Familylicious
- We love using our bird cards with our Montessori bird puzzle to practice fine motor skills & learn the parts of the bird, at the same time!
- 50 Birds, 50 States National Geographic video series
Are your kids interested in birds? What kind of bird activities would you add to this collection?
Check out these other Montessori Nature-inspired ideas from my fellow Montessori bloggers as part of the 12 Months of Montessori Blog Hop:
Exploring our Senses Outdoors (Montessori Silence Game) – Printables | The Natural Homeschool
Montessori Nature Tray with Vocabulary – Parts of the Plant | Living Montessori Now
Montessori Inspired Bird Unit – Mama’s Happy Hive
Montessori-inspired Backyard Bird Activities | Every Star is Different
Nature in the Field | Grace and Green Pastures
Original pictures from 2016: