Birding with kids has been one of our favorite learning activities. I love that it’s something you can do anywhere, the excitement it brings and that it’s free!
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I became interested in birding quite a while ago, before the kids were even born. Anytime my husband and I would travel, I would bring along my National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds book and record all the birds I would find. I’m still quite a novice at it, but my bird list has steadily been growing.
It’s been such a fun experience to start sharing birding with Lucy and Theodore. It’s helped them both be more aware of the sights and sounds around them in their outdoor environment, exposed them to the importance of nonfiction resources and, of course, helped them learn all about birds!
Strategies for Birding with Young Kids
At first, we’d bring our huge bird books out with us on walks and road trips. It was fun, but when we’d spot a bird, we’d be overwhelmed with all the birds in our book and, by the time we’d start narrowing the bird down, it would fly away.
Luckily, I found two things that have helped with this. First, our local bookstore sells a pamphlet with photographs of our local birds. I bought one, and we now carry that around with us to help us more easily identify birds. It’s lightweight and already has the birds narrowed down for us! The second thing that has helped is narrowing down our focus. We’ve decided to just start practicing birding mainly with the birds we find in our backyard. It’s helped to see our frequent bird visitors up close right in our own yard. We’ve really gotten to know the different sounds of each. As a matter of fact, one of Theo’s first words was “caw” from hearing all the crows!
Birding at Home
To make our birding experience convenient, I set up a little bird area in our playroom right next to our back door where we have a good view of our backyard bird feeder.
- My husband hung some rain gutters to use as bookshelves (love these!) where we put all our books about birds. That way if we see a new bird out on the bird feeder, we can easily access our books as we’re observing.
- I’ve also hung photographs of the birds we’ve spotted on the wall by the books and written the names below them. (The pictures aren’t that great~ they’re usually taken in haste through a screen door, but they work!).
- And to decorate our area, Lucy made some birds out of paper!
I have a little bird journal I keep to record all our sightings. Lucy also has one for kids, Bird Log Kids. We write the information in it together, and she illustrates the bird. Even Theo likes to help!
It’s been such a fun experience for us all! I would love to invite you to give it a try if you haven’t already~ I think you’ll love seeing your child’s enthusiasm and excitement with each new discovery!
Be sure to check out these other posts about birds on Buggy and Buddy: