What is a bird, anyway? (Day 6 of 21 days of DIY Summer Camp)

Hey it’s day 6 of DIY Summer Camp at home. It’s our last day of bird-themed Summer Camp. So today, let’s explore what it means to be a bird! What is a bird anyway?

What makes a bird, a bird?

Activity: Egg-citing drop!

All birds start out as eggs. Eggs are specially shaped to protect birds. They are both fragile and strong! Our first activity will show your kids just how fragile the eggs are.

What you need:

  • eggs (recommended: hardboiled)
  • a variety of craft & recyclable materials
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tape
  • a high drop

What you do:

Ask every child to create a way for the egg to drop without breaking. They can use anything they like. Some kids have used parachutes. Some have created special cushions or cages for the eggs to fall in.

After the protective material has been made, line up the creations at the top of the specified height and drop. Do any of the eggs break?

Activity: Egg-cellent strength

Now that we know just how fragile eggs are. let’s test how strong they are. The amazing shape of an egg can withstand a lot more weight than you think!

What you need:

  • at least 3 eggs (recommended: hardboiled, unless you’re ok with cleaning up a mess)
  • bottle caps (2 per egg)
  • thick piece of cardboard
  • stack of heavy books, magazines or other large stackable objects (alternative: a large container that can hold ~ 2 litres of water)

What you do:

  1. Place each egg inside a bottle cap, and put a second one on top (like a hat). This is so the egg doesn’t roll while you’re trying to stack things on top.
  2. Put your cardboard on top of the bottlecaps to create a nice stable surface for stacking.
  3. One at a time, stack your heavy objects on top. How many things go on top before the eggs break?
  4. Alternatively, place your container on top of the cardboard. How much water can you put in before the egg breaks?

Eggs are fantastically designed to withstand a lot of things, yet are fragile enough that a chick can peck it’s way out from the inside!!

Activity: Make a nest!

Since eggs usually get laid in nests of some sort, let’s make a nest. Your backyard birds generally make round nests out of twigs and grass. Our nest will kind of look like those.

What you need:

  • brown paper bag
  • scissors
  • strips of old newspaper, tissue paper, or fake grass
  • twine
  • white glue (not stick glue)
  • optional: plastic eggs or play birds (to put in the nest)

What you do:

  1. First, cut off the bottom of the paper bag, about two thirds down. This creates the “base” for your nest. Carefully flatten the top 2/3rds and cut strips, so that you get a bunch of paper bag “rings”. Set the rings aside.
  2. Roll down the top of your nest base, and scrunch it down a bit, till you get the shape you like.
  3. Fill with fake grass, newspaper strips, tissue paper strips, twine pieces, or other nest-like materials.
  4. Arrange the paper bag rings around your nest, and add glue where necessary to keep it all in one piece.
  5. If you have them, arrange your eggs or birds in the nest. You could also use jellybeans, pom poms, or create “eggs” with balled-up paper.
  6. Display your nest somewhere safe 🙂

Snack: Bird nest cookies

These are no-bake, but do require chilling, so you may want to make these ahead of time.

What you need:

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned or quick oats work best)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (unsalted works best)

How to make:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, or line a flat container with wax paper.
  2. Mix together coconut and oatmeal in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt together butter, milk, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan, over medium heat. Stir carefully to avoid burning. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and pour chocolate mixture over the oatmeal mix.
  5. Mix together till everything is coated.
  6. Drop by small spoonfuls onto wax paper. Gently press depression in the middle with your thumb or back of spoon.
  7. Chill until hardened. (At least 30 min)
  8. Optional: add candy eggs or jellybeans to your nests!

Activity: Build a Bird

For this activity, you’ll need this bird parts worksheet. Print off enough copies so that you have enough bird parts to go around.

Give each child a piece of paper (any color) and have them draw an oval in the centre of the paper. Then cut and paste your bird parts to create your own bird.

After you’ve finished creating your bird, talk about what kind of food the bird would eat and if it would be able to fly. Draw where it would live behind your bird. And don’t forget about its nest and eggs!

Activity: Migration Station!

You’ll need:

  • two large papers labeled “Wintering Grounds” & “Breeding Grounds”
  • rope, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, or something to draw various size circles on the ground
  • clothespins
  • elastics, twist ties, pieces of yarn or twine, pipe cleaners
  • table or chair
  • whistle
  • timer or stopwatch
  • Game Cards

To set up:

Place each sign at each end of your playing area — Wintering Grounds to the south, and Breeding Grounds to the north. Then scatter circles of various sizes (make at least one circle be big enough for only one person!) between the signs. Place one game card in each circle (weighed down by a stone). You don’t have to use all the cards.

At the Breeding Ground area, set up your table, and place the clothes pins in one pile, and the elastics, twist ties, string and pipe cleaners in another pile.

To play:

Start in the Wintering Grounds. You are pretending to be a bird that migrates between here and its wintering grounds in the tropics. The object of the game is to make it from the wintering grounds to the summer breeding grounds and back again, using only the “Habitat circles”. Birds that don’t make it to the habitat circles will “die” (be out of the game).

Blow the whistle and have all the “birds” take only 5 steps (while flapping wings!) to the closest habitat circle. Birds that can’t make it in 5 steps “die”. (You may need to adjust your circles in order to allow smaller children to play!) Not all “birds” will fit in a habitat circle, and those outside the circle “die”. Explain that only the habitat areas are safe for birds, and that’s why not all birds survive migration – distance and the ability of the habitat to sustain that many birds.

Read the Migration Game Card, and follow the instructions. Once all the “birds” are in place, blow the whistle and have the “birds” take the next 5 steps to the next circle. Repeat until all surviving birds make it to the Breeding grounds.

At the breeding grounds:

Now each bird can pick a “dead” bird to “hatch” and come back to play, if applicable.

Now each bird lines up single file behind the chair or table. During the summer, birds must eat as much as they can in order to make it back to the wintering grounds. So you must use the clothespin to move the “food” from one pile to another, as fast as you can. Each bird gets 15-30 seconds (depending on the age of your child).

The bird with the most food starts in the first habitat circle for the trip back. Change the game cards if you didn’t use them all the first time. Repeat the same steps as the first trip through the habitat circles.

Did you know that birds only spend about 6-8 weeks in the Breeding grounds before making the long journey back?

Players that survive both journeys win! Did you win the game? Play again until you do. How many adaptations do you make to survive?

End of the day: read aloud time.

We learned a lot about birds this week. So now it’s storytime on this last day of the first week of DIY Summer Camp. Time to finish up our bird books and settle in for a good night’s sleep. Next week we’ll be starting a new theme and a whole new world of fun!

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

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What is a bird anyway? On Day 6 of the 21 Days of DIY Summer Camp, you'll get games, snacks and crafts that explore what it means to be a bird.

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