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Weekend Science Fun: Build a Bird Nest

Continuing with the bird theme, let’s build a bird nest. But not just a small one, how about building a child-sized bird nest?

Growing With Science Nest

Building a nest is a fun activity for this time of year because there are usually a lot of leaves and branches around. I’ve done this activity with six-year-old children, but it is appropriate for almost any age. It would be best if you could do it outdoors, although some of the materials could be used inside if necessary.

First gather materials to create nests. I recommend using items you can recycle or compost. Here are some suggestions:

  • Cardboard strips
  • Hay or straw (pet supply or craft stores)
  • Grapevines (craft stores)
  • Shredded paper
  • Fallen leaves
  • Branches

The first year I did this activity I was lucky to find two actual nests that had blown out of a tree. Of course you know not to take bird nests out of trees, because birds sometimes reuse their nests. I always leave the nests outside near where I found them so birds can reuse the materials. Gather pictures of bird nests from books and magazines, too. Birds and Blooms magazine often has pictures of bird nests.

bird nest

I showed the nests to the children and talked about some of the reasons birds build nests.

  • Place to raise young
  • Shelter from adverse weather
  • Place to rest

You can also read a great book about nests (see below).

Now have the children build their own human-sized nest. They can work in groups, too. Be prepared for messy fun.

Note:  If you are working with a number of children, they may remove materials from the nests of others. Decide how you want to deal with this in advance. I told them that birds in nature really do take materials from other birds’ nests. Eventually they decided to leave one member of a group in the nest while the others went to gather supplies, just how birds sometimes handle the problem.

Make sure you have your camera ready. You will find there are many creative ways to make nests. Take pictures of your “birds” sitting in their nests.

Reward your “birds” with some bird-themed treats. Easy snack nests can be made by melting butterscotch chips in the microwave (see package for instructions) and mixing with crispy chow mien noodles. After it is cool enough to handle, shape into nests.

Related Books (Contain affiliate links to Amazon):

Birds Build Nests
by Yvonne Winer is our absolute favorite book about birds and bird nests. It has fabulous illustrations of many different birds and their nests.


How and Why Birds Build Nests (How and Why Series) by Elaine Pascoe, Joel Kupperstein, Editor and Dwight Kuhn, Photographer


Birds & Blooms

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