Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nests: Clay, Paper Plates, and Collective Work

After finding a birds’ nests in the play yard and all of the recent hubbub about eggs (post-Easter dialogues), we wanted to study birds and their habitats. So last week we introduced our bird theme. The theme certainly caught the interest of these children at the clay table.

 Last time we used clay, we used tools like hammers, rolling pins, and presses.  This time, the children’s only tool was their hands. They molded, smoothed, created texture, rolled it into balls, pushed with their thumbs and fingers. They used fine and gross motor movements, small and large muscles.  The best part was that after they made the eggs inside the nest, they broke the eggs open and described the imaginary baby birds that emerged from their carefully crafted eggs.

Now that the discussion about birds’ nests had begun, the children had enough base knowledge about nests to create their first one. Each child used a plate with an adhesive coating to stick natural items to their “nest”. We talked about how we were using adhesive but that birds used mud as their adhesive. Many children hurried to find mud for their nest.

The next day, we asked the children what they know about birds’ nests.
  • “They use sticks and leaves and all of that stuff.”
  • “They put dirt inside to make it stick.”
  • “Birds put dirt and mud and they wait until the sun comes and it’s dry and yellow.”
  • “Birds use paper, cotton, mud, sticks. Water goes with mud.”
  • “Birds pinch sticks with their beaks and put them in their nests.”
  •  “Birds make nests so eggs don’t crack.”
  • “And so other birds don’t crack them.”
On Friday, after analyzing the nest we found in the yard, we worked together to make a big bird nest together. Some children added a few things, and others spent lots of time finding sticks and leaves and mud to add to the nest. A few "issues" came up that the children had to work out among each other. Was it okay to add huge sticks to the nest? Would it be okay to break them into smaller sticks? What will happen if we let one of our friends dump a bucket of water into the nest? Will real birds lay eggs in our nest if we put it into a tree?

The team work was significant and fruitful.

 They were careful to make it soft and cozy for mama birds and their babies.

Don't you just want to jump in and cuddle up???

Next, we will…
  • discuss different types of bird nests and how they are made.
  • continue to discuss eggs
  • begin to talk about different species of birds by finding out what the children know and what they want to learn about birds


  1. I am going to miss the blogs and the photos!

  2. Looks like fun! I find that I never have my camera ready for these types of things because my hands are right in there too! :-D What brand of clay do you use?


Thank you for the comments! Always appreciated : )

We'll just skip circle time today.

This morning, I thought the kids and I would go outside a little extra early, enjoy the nice cool weather, do the art project I had planned ...