Birds are fascinating creatures and are sure to catch the attention of most preschoolers. Creating a bird themed preschool unit can be a fun and easy way to cover all of the basic preschool curriculum subjects while the children learn about our feathered friends.
Begin preparing for your bird unit by heading to your local library for resources. You can find books, DVDs, music CDs and even learning resource kits about birds in many libraries. Some of the best materials we found for this unit were Owl Babies(with puppets) by Waddell , Owls by Gibbons, The Bird Alphabet Book by Pallotta, Big Birds by Penner, Quacky Duck by Rogers, Feathers for Lunch by Ehlert, Today at the Blue-Bird Cafe by Ruddell and If You Ever See An Owl by The Terrible Twos. There are many other great books and songs, too, so don't worry if your library doesn't have these specific titles.
Preview all of the materials you selected before you use them. This way, you'll be able to set up the week's activities so that they flow into each other in a sensible manner and you'll be able to weed out books that are too hard for your preschooler's age level.
Prepare a loose lesson plan for each day, but leave room for deviations if the kids just aren't getting into a book or song you've chosen. For example, for our preschool lesson plans, we choose three books, a short poem, a simple coloring sheet or age appropriate work sheet and two songs about birds for each day. Weave in simple science and math lessons as you go. For example, instead of picking up a book and beginning to read it, you may want to show them the cover and say, "We're reading Feathers for Lunch today. Before we start, let's count the whiskers on the kitty's face!"
Finish each day's lesson by making sure the children have a finished project of some kind to take home. We did simple crafts that could be easily completed in 15 to 20 minutes, such as coloring a tree and gluing bird pictures to it (Old National Geographic or birding magazines are a great thing to ask parents to bring in for this unit.)or making owls from paper plates.
Things You Will Need
- Craft supplies
- Add preschool games like duck, duck, goose to play times to stay with the bird theme.
- Teach science facts about birds that are very basic. Preschoolers aren't ready for complicated biology lessons. For example, you might simply say, "Baby birds grow inside of eggs until they are big enough to hatch." or "Owls have sharp beaks and strong claws."
- Weave plenty of tactile experiences, such as feeling feathers and playing with bird puppets, into the lessons.
- Be prepared to abandon plans that aren't working out by having a back up craft, book, or activity ready to go at a moment's notice. We never read the third book that we pick for each day's lesson because it is a back up for a failed activity or a book that seemed too challenging.
- photo by k. thomas