Moving and handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.
Small pieces of wool – 5-10cm in bright different colours and tweezers.
Birds nest, model of one, or pictures
Sticks in varying sizes and feathers and dead leaves in a pile
Gather the group together outside, preferably in a wooded area or in a quiet area where there is adequate space.
Sit quietly as a group and ask the children to listen to what they can hear, listening specifically for bird song (Top tip – do this activity bright and early to hear lots of bird calls)
Discuss with the group about how in Spring, the birds are getting ready to build nests to lay eggs in. Explain how the birds song is their way of talking to each other. They could be warning each other about the children below them, or to look out under that tree for a juicy worm to eat!
Mimic a bird call and ask the children to do the same.
Show the children the pictures of birds nest and talk about how they are made, and what materials the birds have used to make their nest. What makes it comfortable and warm for the bird? What shape is the nest? Where would be a good place for a bird to build their nest in the area they are in?
Divide the children in to two groups and ask them to build a birds nest big enough to fit a child inside. Demonstrate how to move the sticks in different sizes around the space. Sticks longer than a childs arm should be dragged behind them, smaller sticks can be bundled in to twos or threes, and really long sticks might be moved with a partner. Allow plenty of space and support the children when needed.
Allow a good amount of time for them to arrange their sticks, and then ask the children how to move the leaves and feathers in to their nest, and how will they arrange them? If support is needed, suggest they can either place some on the sheet and drag, bundle in to bags or arms, even stuff pockets with them!
Finally, ask a child to ‘move in’ to their nests!
Lay out the different coloured wool pieces around the area you are in. Explain to the children that mummy or daddy birds will collect worms for their babies in the nest to eat. Ask the children, if they were birds and had no hands, how would they move the worms? Ask the children not in the nest to collect the ‘worms’ showing them pincer grips with their fingers, and offer them the tweezers to move them to the ‘baby bird’.