“When you go owling you don’t need words or warm or anything but hope. That’s what Pa says.” I’ve been fascinated by owls since the first time I read Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon.
The suspense and the relationship and the yearning of her words pull you into the story, but it is the power of the great horned owl that stuns you. I can’t be the only one that suddenly thought it sounded like a good idea to trudge out into the snow on a cold winter’s night and search for owls after reading that.
Owls are fascinating for their quirky appearance and their nocturnal habits. They carry some sort of mystical, yet comical character that makes them excellent book characters. I’m thrilled that today’s Virtual Book Club for Kids book and activities are all about Owls. Below are our favorite books about owls along with a whole host of fantastic owl activities.
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Hoot Owl Story Time
Note: As usual, I have laid this post out in story time format to help with planning group times or circle times. 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!
Story Time Books about Owls
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell *Featured Book for Virtual Book Club for Kids
This is the featured book for this week’s book club. It is a darling story about three little owls that are waiting for their mama owl to return. They get a little worried as the evening goes on, but of course mama comes back in the end as all mama’s do.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
This Caldecott Medal winner is about a father and his child that go owling. Told with the most incredible poetry and stunning illustrations, this is an adventure about growing up, being patient, and spending time with the ones we love. 3+
Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor
Hoot Owl is a master of disguise and also very hungry in this hilarious read aloud tale. Hoot Owl is looking for something to eat and attempts to use disguise to trick various animals to get close enough to eat. When that doesn’t work, he moves on to plan B: pizza. This book draws you in with its bold, bright illustrations and it’s amusing main character. 3+
Night Animals by Gianna Marino
The illustrations in this book are fantastic, but it’s the funny story line that will make this a repeat favorite. Possum hears a noise in the dark and soon all the other animals do as well. They think it must be night animals. Kids will laugh along with wise Bat who is the only one who realizes that the characters themselves are the spooky night animals. 2+
Story Time Song:
Owl Song from Kiboomers (YouTube Video)
Story Time Group Activity
An Owl’s Day Ordering Activity
My kids always like to imagine they are the animals we are learning about and owls are especially fascinating because their day happens at night. This activity can be adapted for several different ages and skill levels. My twins are five so we focused on ordering and talking about owl vs human schedules.
For toddlers: Work on sorting. Pass out the cards and have your toddlers take turns sorting them into things that owls do and things that people do. To make this more fun, have the toddler act out the activity they see on their card.
Focus skill: sorting. Additional skills: vocabulary, turn taking.
For preschoolers: Sort the cards together into owl activities and human activities and then take it a step further. Ask your preschoolers to help you put the cards in order. How do owls start their day? What would they eat for lunch? Here is the sun coming up, what do owls do now?
It is important to note that there is not 1 correct way to order these cards. There is certainly a time and place for that, but this is about creative thinking and problem solving as much as it is about ordering. The idea is to have a conversation and think about what you think would happen next.
Once the cards are in order, consider acting out an owl’s day together. The cards form a kind of story about an owl’s day or a person’s day that you can tell with words or through movement.
Focus skill: ordering. Additional skills: learning about owls & nocturnal animals, creative thinking.
For elementary schoolers: Use these cards to work on telling time. Either use clocks you already have on hand or print multiple versions of the clock included in the printables pack. Give each student a time and ask them to show you what they think the kids or owls would be doing at that time.
When you are done, you could also put the clocks with their activities in order to show a day or act out an owl’s day together.
Focus skill: telling time. Additional skills: creative thinking, learning about owls & nocturnal animals.
Story Time Table Activities
My co-hosts of the Virtual Book Club for Kids have some awesome ideas for table activities you can do with your kids after story time. Browse them all or pick a couple based on the skills they are working on right now.
Owl Themed Letter Roll + Color from Sea of Knowledge
Owl Babies Alphabet Games from Mosswood Connections
Printable Owl Themed Alphabet Game from The Educators’ Spin On It
Whooo Are You? Writing Activity from Craft Create Calm
Owl Babies Counting Activity from Clare’s Little Tots
Owl Counting Playdough Mats from Preschool Powol Packets
Owl Babies Sponge Painting from Adventures of Adam
Owl Eyesight STEM Exploration from Kids from JDaneil4’s Mom
Build a Nest STEM Activity from Views from a Step Stool
Feathery Owls Color Matching Activity from To Be a Kid Again
Help the Owls Find Their Nests Colors Activity from Mama Smiles
Colorful Owl Puppets from Powerful Mothering
Pre-writing Craft for Kids: Scratch Art Owl from School Time Snippets
Movement Tricks to Help with Separation Anxiety from Sugar Aunts
Owl Babies Shape Activity for Preschoolers from Rainy Day Mum
Colorful Shape Owl Craft for Kids from Toddler Approved