It’s time for the RSPB’s Big Schools’ and Garden Birdwatch! Children love any opportunity to be outdoors, in a garden or park, and enjoy the challenge of spotting birds.
You may not be lucky enough to see any puffins or flamingos during your birdwatch so we’ve made some freebie Bird Games for you download and enjoy with lots of chirpy chatter.
You will also find puffins, chicks and a flamingo in the Early Soundplay story Clarabelle’s Scarf, a flamboyance of flamingos in Flo the Flamingo and a trio of mischievous chicks in Erica’s Chicks and Shelley the Sheep.
Flip flap and flutter
Have some syllable fun! Encourage the children to flip flap or flutter their arms (or lolly stick puppets) like birds.
Can the children clap or stomp out the beats: flip-flap? If they can do this easily you can try the harder: flip-flap-flip-pe-ty-flap.
Hide a bird (a puppet or a toy) outside and enjoy the opportunity to model and reinforce concepts – “Can you find the robin? There he is! He’s behind the slide” or “The robin’s on the swing”.
These are standalone activities but you can make links to the fluttery robin Flip Flap in our Early Soundplay book Clip Clop’s Picnic.
Feed the birds
Making a bird feeder, like this Apple and Seed Bird Treat, is a simple and fun actvity, will help attract birds into your outdoor space and is also great for talking as you do it.
Just like cooking you can introduce the names of the ingredients such as seeds – talk about the different colours, shapes and sizes. Chat about what you’re doing and what you’re going to do next.
The best way to learn new words and to practise talking is during everyday activities.
Once I saw a little bird
If you’re watching a bird feeder from a window you might enjoy reciting the rhyme Once I Saw a Little Bird.
You can download this free rhyme and robin lolly stick puppet here.
Identifying the birds
If the children stay still when you’re outdoors and listen carefully can they hear any bird song? Does it all sound the same?
Can the children identify the different parts of a bird? Feathers, wing, beak and claws – all of these may be new words and looking at pictures of birds provides opportunities to hear and practise saying these words.
The pictures in the Bird Games are a useful resource – Can the children see the different coloured feathers? Compare the beaks of different colours and sizes.
Talking about any birds they hear or see is a natural way to introduce some new vocabulary.
It’s also not too late to participate in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch – register and submit your results by 20th February. They’ve got some great free resources for you to enjoy too!