Jul 24, 2014

Backyard Bird Hunt and Toddler-Friendly Binocular Craft

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For as long as I can remember, Kingston has been interested in birds. He began pointing them out when he was really young, probably 8 or 9 months, and has always been enthralled by them. During his first zoo trip, he was so excited to feed the birds in the aviary and sat enraptured by the bird show we took him to. Recently at his second zoo trip, he fed the birds in the aviary on his own and loved every moment of the singing parrot show. Whenever we go outside, we talk about the different birds we see. I was really excited to go on a bird hunt with him. In order to prepare for our bird hunt, we did this classic toddler-friendly binocular craft! 

To make the binoculars, you will need: 

2 recycled toilet paper rolls
Markers or Crayons (We chose our awesome Do A Dot Art Markers in order to get some addition fine motor practice in there!) 
Some cording or yarn (We used Natural Braiding Cord from the ever wonderful CraftProjectIdeas!)

Kingston was so excited to make his binoculars! As soon as I set them down on his tray and told him we were going to make binoculars to watch the birds, he held it right up to his eye like a spyglass. He loved working with the Do A Dot Art Markers. It was extra tricky to use them because the cardboard tube rolls, but he did really well maneuvering them and holding the tube so that it didn't roll. At one point, he was even double fisting!

He also thought it was funny to pretend he was a parrot. This kid cracks me up!

Although we have plenty of yarn in the house, when I thought about what material I wanted to use to finish off the binoculars, I knew I wanted to use the Natural Braiding Cord provided to us by CraftProjectIdeas. I love that by using the markers that we used, there was still a fair amount of natural cardboard tube showing, and this braiding cord matched that perfectly. I also love how strong it is and the fact that it wouldn't itch K's neck while he was wearing them. 

To finish the binoculars, I cut a piece of cording and made two holes on the sides of each cardboard tube. Then I fed the cording through and taped each piece to the back as I went so that the cording would obstruct Kingston's vision. I left the other side untaped, which is different than most that you will see. I wanted K to have a free range of motion while he was searching for birds. On the outside of each cardboard tube, I made a small knot with the cording, then made another knot to keep them securely around his neck.

We were really excited to go on our bird hunt. For added fun, we decided to do it at the Glamparents house! They always have such beautiful birds in their backyard, so we were hoping to spot a few. Before we went outside, Glam*Ma set us up with a plate of sunflower seed kernels  in hopes that we could use them to attract some birds. The concept of feeding the birds made our bird hunt even more fun for K because what toddler doesn't love feeding animals?!

He was ready to go as soon as we got outside. We set our plate of seeds down and began searching for birds. While we bird watched, I kept up a constant dialogue with K about what types of birds he wanted to see and named off multiple different kinds. I am not a bird expert yet, so my knowledge was a bit limited. This was totally fine with Kingston though as his is too!

He was excited to spot our first bird. It looked like sparrow or a wren. We saw a couple dozen small birds as we spent time out back. I wasn't quick enough to catch a lot of them, but Kingston loved jumping up and down and calling for the bird when we would see one.

As we were gazing at some backyard birds flying in and out of the trees, we saw a hawk overhead! It was such great timing and it swooped down low enough that we were able to see and identify it. Of course, I was too excited and busy to take a picture so by the time I got my wits about me, the hawk was nothing more than a speck in the sky. It was a great addition to our learning experience though! K was so excited, jumping up and down and yelling, "A HAWK! A HAWK!"

After our hawk encounter, K was desperate to find a "hoohoo" (an owl in Kingston speak). He searched all over the yard, but I had to explain to him that we can only see owls at night. We pretended we saw a few anyways. He has quite the imagination!

I was excited when I was FINALLY able to capture one of the backyard birds we had been watching. Anyone know what it is? If you do, we would love you to leave the answer in the comments. I need to get us a bird identification book ASAP.

Before we finished our bird hunt, a seagull flew across the sky. It was incredibly random because my parents house is not near any bodies of water, but it was such a great addition to our activity. K was excited that we saw a hawk, a seagull, and so many backyard birds that we continued to point them out for the rest of the day. I plan on keeping our binoculars with us at all times over the next week so we can spot birds when we go to the park and lake!

Do you like to bird watch with your little ones? What is your favorite type of bird?

The products from CraftProjectIdeas featured in this post were given to us for free. 
They offer phenomenal projects and fantastic ideas on both their website and their Facebook page.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking this great idea up to our Share It Saturday! We will feature it in tomorrow's post!