I have a vivid memory of my twins running from tree to tree in our backyard in Wisconsin staring up at the branches and loudly shouting “robin!” It was late Fall and I was freezing cold, but I couldn’t help but smile at their excitement. We had just come from the library where our wonderful librarian shared a story time about robins and they were fascinated.
My kids aren’t two anymore and we live far away from Wisconsin now, but they still stop and notice robins when they fly past.
Whether you live in a bustling city like we do right now or quiet farm country or somewhere in between, birds are something we all have in common. The ones in the country are certainly different than the pigeons that hobble my sidewalks, but no matter where you are I am guessing you can find a bird or two. This birds story time is simple and familiar theme that can get a whole new group of kids spotting birds in their trees.
Tweet Tweet! Birds Story Time Ideas
Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
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Books about Birds.
1. Birds by Kevin Henkes
A simple book about birds from one of my favorite authors. Brief text and colorful illustrations that is perfect for the youngest toddlers. A great starting point for developing vocabulary about birds. Ages 1+
2. Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
Nests are as diverse as the birds who make them. Cacti and grass, holes and trees. This book takes a much deeper look at how birds protect their young in many creative and different ways. Illustrated with clear, colorful images by the amazing Steve Jenkins and filled with fascinating information, this is wonderful for anyone curious about birds and their babies. Ages 4+
3. You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple
Part non-fiction book about birds, part pure poetry, You Nest Here With Me is lovely. So many things went right with this story. Information? Check. Simple, factual information about the nesting habits of 14 different kinds of birds is included on these brief pages. Additional information is also included in the back. Beautiful words? Check. Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi, have woven interesting nesting facts into a bedtime story that soothes the mind and dances on the tongue. Nestled among the lines is the refrain “you nest here with me” as a mother calms her daughter down for bed. Amazing illustrations? Check! Every picture book needs the perfect pictures to match the words. Melissa Sweet graces the pages with her trademark watercolor, gouache, and mixed media artwork that encourages you to slow down and see the words. A book to love. Ages 2+
4. George Flies South by Simon James
This is my new favorite book about a bird learning to fly. Winter is coming and George, the bird, is being coaxed out of the nest by his mom. George, however, is not ready to fly. A gust of wind, a car, a barge, a crane and a furry creature create quite the suspenseful adventure that ultimately ends in the most satisfactory way. A pure, simple, and exciting delight. Ages 3+
5. Fledgling by Robert J. Blake
Another fantastic bird book. A fledgling bird takes flight for the first time. Quickly chased by a hawk, the fledgling dodges around the city, into the subway, and eventually safely home. Age 2+
6. Hatch by Roxie Munro
The pages alternate between an egg and the bird in their habitat. “Can you guess whose eggs these are?” begins each new puzzle. What follows are some clues about the bird that will be revealed on the next page. It is intended for an older audience so it is a book we can grow into, but for now our twins enjoy reading the opening question and then revealing the bird and looking at the habitat. Ages 4+
. How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
A touching story about a small child who finds a bird with a broken wing. His parents help him care for the little bird until it is mended and can be set free. Beautiful illustrations that show the passage of time and the emotion of the story without many words. I love the way a small child makes a difference in the midst of a bustling city. Ages 2+
8. Telephone by Mac Barnett
Mama Pigeon asks a cardinal to pass a message: “Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.” So begins an amusing game of telephone between an outrageous collection of birds of birds sitting on a telephone wire. Ages 4+
9. Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
If you are looking for a simple guide to common birds for kids this is completely perfect. With a brief descriptive poem and paper cut illustrations, this book walks you through twenty North American birds. The poetic language moves the book along and makes this nonfiction an excellent read aloud choice. An informative introduction to the world of birds for kids and invitation to head outdoors to see what you can spot.
10. Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
This is the third in Idle’s book about Flora and it is as delightful ever. True to form, this is wordless and tells the story through beautiful, emotion filled illustrations. A palette of blues, greens, and yellows tells the story of Flora and two peacocks. Can three friends really all play together? After a few wrong turns and some big emotions, these three prove you most certainly can.
Want More Books about Birds?
Also Read: 10 Best Picture Books about Ducks on Bambini Travel
Owl Books for Kids from Look! We’re Learning!
Birds of Prey Books from Brain Power Boy
Children’s Picture Books about Birds from The Jenny Evolution
Songs + Rhymes about Birds
5 Little Birds (watch on YouTube)
5 Little Birds . Tune of 5 Little Ducks (watch on YouTube)
Group Activities about Birds
MacBarnett Inspired Telephone
Play a classic game of Telephone with your story time group. Sit in a circle. Start by whispering something silly in the ear of the person next to you and then they whisper it to the next and so on. See if the same message makes it all the way around to you.
Alternative: Play Letter Telegraph. Sit in a circle and decide if you are sharing uppercase or lowercase letters. This is a quiet game – no talking! Have the first person hold out their hand and trace a letter on their hand. They trace it on the next person’s hand and then see if the same letter gets traced back on yours. When the letter gets around to you have everyone call out on the count of three what letter they think you were passing.
Table Invitations about Birds
After your birds story time head to the table for one or more activities. We did this open-ended nest building activity below and I was amazed how differently the nests turned out. If you’re looking for additional ideas there are some below.
Loose Parts Nest Building Invitation
Birds build nests with things that they find; leaves, twigs, feathers, etc. Present this open ended activity at the table for kids to work on creating their own nests.
Loose Parts Ideas for Building Nests
The goal is to build a nest. My kids tried really hard to get me to explain what they were supposed to do, but I just kept directing the questions back to them. There are no wrong answers here. Birds fly around, find pieces for build a nest and then put them all together. That’s your job too! Find parts and figure out a way to put them together to make a nice place to sleep.
The grown up’s role is to:
-give them the materials
-give them space and time to work
-help with specific tasks if asked. For example, I help a stack of sticks together while one kid wrapped rubber bands around it. Make sure you are only doing just enough to help them and then stepping back again.
-offer help if a child gets frustrated. A little frustration is not a bad thing, but you want don’t want kids to get upset or give up either. You know your kids! If you think they can figure it out give them a minute. If not, before you jump in, offer your help and let them agree.
-offer specific praise. “Wow, you used all kinds of materials to create your nest!” “I love how you included X and X” or “I can tell that you are working really hard on building your nest!”
More Table Activity Ideas about Birds
Below are some more fun bird themed activities, printables, and other related unit ideas from my #FreeUnitStudies blogging group.
Bird Letter Matching Printable Pack from Play Dough and Popsicles
Bird Identification Apps from iGameMom
Bird Unit Printable from CraftCreateCalm
Red Bird Multiplication Worksheet from Schooling a Monkey
A Bird in the Hand from Tales of Education at Home
Perfect Gifts for Young Bird Lovers from FrogMom