Learning from TV – Birds

Learning from TV – Birds

If you read my previous post on using TV as well as books, hopefully you are already freed from any guilt associated with the hours your child is spending in front of CBeebies. Here are some more specific ideas for learning activities that can lead on from an iPlayer session.

First up: birds.

My son is turning into a right little Bill Oddie so there is lots of bird spotting and bird talk in our house at the moment. Hopefully your kids can get the bug too!

The Shows

And now get up off the sofa and try some of these activities!

Birdwatching

If you don’t have any binoculars you can sellotape two toilet roll tubes together. Sit quietly in the garden, look out of the window or try and spot some birds on your daily walk. Use this Wildlife Trusts sheet to help you identify common garden species, or the RSPB online interactive tool here.

If you manage to see a few, your child can keep track. More RSPB resources for you! Your Reception or KS1 child could use a colouring pencil and this sheet to record how many of each species you spot. The grids are called tens frames, and help with building an understanding of base ten. Your child may well use them at school. At least I hope so!

There is a blank version of the sheet, so younger children can make their own marks and older children can keep a tally and make their own bar chart.

Of course, if you haven’t got a printer or can’t be arsed, just use any old piece of paper.

Feed the Birds

Apparently, we shouldn’t be feeding bread to birds, so what can we use? According to the RSPB, the autumn and winter is when they really need feeding, but it can help in the spring and summer too, as food shortages can occur at any time and they need to feed their chicks.

There are three ways to make a bird feeder on this CBeebies page. Don’t forget to provide a shallow dish of water too, for drinking and bathing. The good news is, some birds like to feed from the ground, so feel free to chuck a handful of seed out of the window, if it’s not a crafty sort of day.

Craft

If you do feel up to it, there are lots of ways your children can represent birds. As well as just providing materials and letting them get on with it, why not try this cute handprint peacock? Allow your children to experiment with placing their hands to make feathery shapes and try making other species. I also like these paper dot birds: you can use up scrap paper or old magazines for the colours rather than fresh coloured paper,

This invitation to make a birds nest will take more effort to set up, but will work really well if your child enjoyed watching Maddie making her nest.

Investigate

Newsround has some nice clips of a young birdwatcher called Bird Girl here, here and here. Perhaps your child could write a profile of her.

They can also use Bitesize to find out what a bird actually is. Encourage your child to make a poster to explain this to a younger child.

This clip shows some children designing and making a bird hide. If they’re inspired, your children could do the same in the garden.

Play Games

I’m giving you so many links to the RSPB website, but that’s because it is fantastic. If your family gets excited about birds, why not become members, visit their reserves and support their work?

I find Top Trumps incredibly tedious, but I know loads of children love it. If you have a printer, try these bird cards, so at least your children are learning something while they endlessly play this ‘game’.

Younger children might be better off with these cards. Even those toddlers who can’t grasp the mechanics of Pairs or Snap can enjoy looking at the pictures, arranging, sorting and maybe learning a few names.

I hope that was useful. And if you just watch the shows and don’t have the energy for the activities: don’t worry!

Any questions or suggestions, let me know here or on Instagram.