Keeping Birds as Pets (Day 4 of 21 Days of DIY Summer Camp)

Welcome to day 4 of DIY Summer Camp at home. On this first week of DIY Summer Camp, we’re exploring all things bird. Today, we’re talking about birds as pets, and maybe we’ll have a bit of bird fun too. Because what’s summer camp without fun?

Do you have a bird pet?

Activity: Make a feathered friend.

Since most of us don’t have budgies or parrots at home, we’ll need to make ourselves a feathered friend or two to play with! Start with this easy, origami parrot puppet.

Activity: Hungry, Hungry Parrot

Now that you have your pecking birds, grab some small beads (or marbles) and let’s play a game.

To play:

Everyone needs their “pecking parrot” puppet made in the last activity. Put about 10-15 beads (less if you have fewer people, more if you have more people playing) in the middle. Count to 3 together, and on 3, everyone start “pecking’ to get a bead. Only parrots may touch beads — no hands or other fingers! When all the beads are gathered, count your beads and see who won. Best of 5 rounds wins the game.

Note: be careful with little fingers! When playing with a mix of ages, older children should be reminded that their goal is the beads, not littler fingers that might get in their way.

Activity: The Cat & the Birds

Head outdoors for this twist on tag.

“It” is the cat. The Cat will chase all the birds! Birds may find a perch, but must fly after a little bit. After Cat has caught a little birdy for his lunch, the “bird” becomes the new cat.

Sound effects make this game even more fun! So encourage “birds” to tweet, squawk and call. And your “cat” may meow, hiss and purr.

Snack: Banana “Birds” on a stick

This snack might be fun to make with your kids or you can make it ahead. To make, you’ll need:

  • bananas
  • chocolate chips
  • m&ms
  • popsicle sticks

How to make:

  1. Peel & cut bananas in half. Stick a popsicle stick in the cut edge of the banana. Lay bananas on a cookie sheet, on waxed paper, and put in a freezer until firm.
  2. Melt approximately 1 cup of chocolate chips (30 seconds in a microwave will work!)
  3. Dip top of banana in the chocolate. Add candies for eyes and beak. Lay back on waxed paper.
  4. Chill again till chocolate is set.
  5. Eat & enjoy!

Activity: Feathered painting

For this craft, you’ll need:

  • feathers
  • tempera or poster paint
  • paper plate
  • paper
  • newsprint or tablecloth
  • black marker

To make:

  1. Put out colors of paint on the paper plates, along with stiff feathers for paint brushes.
  2. Line your surface with the tablecloth or newsprint before painting.
  3. Give each child a paper.
  4. Have the kids paint designs with their feathers. Make prints with the feathers, make streaks — however they want.
  5. After the paint is dry, outline the shape of a bird. Download an outline here! It will look like a very colorful parrot!

Activity: Make a “Balloon Bird”

This is a quick and simple activity. You’ll need:

  • balloons
  • construction paper or cardstock
  • paper cones or cups
  • tape
  • black marker

To make:

Blow up the balloon to a medium size. Cut out “feet” from the construction paper, and tape to the balloon. Use the paper cup or cone as the beak, and place over top of the “knot” of the balloon. Cut out eyes and wings, or draw on with marker.

Activity: Play “Angry birds”

If you’ve ever played “Angry Birds” on your phone or computer, you know how to play this game.

How to play:

You’ll need something to stack, and something to throw.

  1. One person will stack blocks, small boxes, or flat rocks. (Note: if you use rocks, get out of the way after you build the tower!)
  2. Place your “pig” (stuffed animal? the balloon birds from the last activity?) behind the tower.
  3. Another person will throw a ball to try to knock down the tower.
  4. Score like “Angry birds”! Don’t forget to switch places and take turns.

Do you know how many species of birds can be pets?

Learn more about pet birds!


These make great pets for beginner bird owners, as they are both very personable and are easy to care for. Healthy cockatiels can live for 20 years, and they can be trained to talk, sing, recognize and interact with their owners. They are larger birds, so require larger cages, exercise and daily exposure to natural sunlight. They don’t need cage companions, but they do require a lot of interaction from their owners.

Budgies (parakeets)

These are smaller birds than cockatiels, and smaller children can handle these birds. They have similar needs as cockatiels, and they make a variety of sounds. Some varieties can learn words too. They love interacting with their owners, and often will watch TV or hang out with the family at meal times.


These are small birds that don’t need to be handled, but are not singular birds. You’ll need at least a pair of finches in order to keep them healthy. Finches will sing with quiet, frequent peeping sounds rather than loud squawks or chirps. They need large cages with lots of perches and room to fly around in, but they are amazing to watch.


Another songbird to keep are the canaries. These colorful birds can be yellow, orange, red, or white, and they can have a variety of patterns on their feathers too. They can be solitary birds, and in fact, tend to be territorial, so you don’t necessarily want to have more than one bird in a cage. But they do like toys and perches, and they have beautiful, almost operatic songs.

End of the day: read aloud time.

This end-of-day storytime is my favorite part of DIY summer camp at home. Which one of our recommended bird-themed stories did you choose to read this week?

Here’s our recommended list of bird books, for your read aloud. Read a chapter or two every night this week.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you get every day of the DIY Summer Camp at Home right in your inbox. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about what birds look like and how they move.

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Let's learn about birds as pets in day 4 of 21 Days of DIY summer camp!  Birds can make great pets, and we can have lots of fun pretending.

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