Hi Kids,  

This fun page is just for you. It's loaded with fun facts, crafts, outdoor activities, jokes, games, videos, and stories. Nature-themed activities change every few months, so make sure you check back for new fun stuff to do.

Your Groundhog Friend,
Willy the Woodchuck
Nature Rules!

____________

In the fall, many birds are on the move. Hummingbirds, ducks, robins and more are migrating to warmer climates. Other birds such as blue Jays, woodpeckers and owls stick around throughout winter. Keep reading to learn more about birds and how you can see them in your own backyard! 

  • Birds are the only animals with feathers.
  • Although all birds have wings, a few species can't fly.
  • Great horned owls like to eat skunks and porcupines.
  • The northern cardinal is the Illinois state bird.
  • Birds see more colors than humans.
  • Female northern shovelers sometimes poop on their own eggs as a stinky defense to keep predators away.
  • There is no bird that actually has blue feathers in North America. Our eyes trick us into seeing blue feathers.
  • Birds can hear tornados miles away.
  • Crows are some of the smartest birds around. They can recognize you and even learn what day is garbage day to score a snack.
  • Burrowing owls line their nests with cow or horse poop to attract dung beetles that they eat like a crunchy snack.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly more than 60 miles per hour.

Try these fun, bird-related crafts.

Woodpecker Craft

 

Photo courtesy of Kevin Keyes

Materials:

  • Woodpecker coloring sheet
  • Crayons or markers
  • Toilet paper tube
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Optional: stickers to decorate log

What to do:

  1. Print off the woodpecker coloring sheet. Color the woodpecker. Then cut the woodpecker out.
  2. Grab a toilet paper roll. Use the hole punch to make woodpecker holes. Use crayons or markers to decorate the roll. Transform it into a tree for your woodpecker!
  3. Make a fold by the woodpecker’s feet to tape it on the toilet paper roll tree. See an example.

 

Bird Kite

Materials:

  • Construction paper
  • Hole punch
  • Stapler
  • Optional: markers, feathers and tape to decorate the bird

What to do:

  1. First get inspired by birds. Try some of the "Get Outside" activities on this page to see different kinds of birds. This will give you some ideas on what colors to use on the kite!
  2. What color is your favorite bird? Pick one piece of paper to match. Fold it in half.
  3. Fold one corner to near the center point. Do not crease! Your folds (wings) should be rounded. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Staple the wings in place. Make one hole punch behind the staple for the kite string.
  5. Use paper scraps, feathers and markers to make your kite look like your favorite bird.
  6. Add a kite string. You're ready to FLY!

 

Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder

 

Materials:

  • Plastic bottle
  • Wooden pencils or spoons
  • Scissors
  • Push pin
  • Twine or string
  • Bird seed

What to do:

  1. Use a push pin to start a hole toward the bottom of the bottle. Then push the scissors through to make the hole bigger. Make the hole slightly smaller than the width of your pencils or spoons.
  2. Repeat step 1 to make a hole directly on the other side.
  3. Slide the wooden pencil or spoon through the holes to make a perch for the birds.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to make another perch a bit higher. This time, make the holes opposite of your first holes. This way the 2 perches will crisscross.
  5. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the bottle to allow water or rain to drain through.
  6. Use the push pin to make holes about an inch higher than all the perches. Use the scissors to make these holes big. These holes are where the birds will eat the seed.  
  7. To create a hanger for your feeder, use the push pin to make smaller holes at the top your bottle. Push the string or twine through these holes. Use scissors to make holes bigger if needed.  Tie the string or twine together.
  8. Open the bottle cap and pour the bird seed in.
  9. Hang the feeder in a tree or tie it to a clothing line. It might take a few days but keep an eye out for new bird visitors!

I Spy Bird Hike

Go for a walk outside at your favorite forest preserve or in your own neighborhood.

How many birds do you see?  What are they doing?

Can you see any bids nests? What do they look like?

Do you see any other signs of birds such as bird eggs, holes in trees, feathers, bird droppings?

 

Listen for Birds

Go outside and listen for birds.

Close your eyes. How many different birds calls do you hear? Try and repeat each call.

Try this activity in the morning, afternoon and early evening.

What time do you hear the most birds singing? What time do you hear the least? Are you hearing different types of calls at different times?  

Try this activity in different types of weather.

Do you notice a difference if the sun is shining or if it is cloudy? What about when it is raining?

Keep a journal of what you hear!
 

Act Like a Bird

Try acting like different birds.

Spread your arms out wide, take one big flap and soar like an eagle.

Bring your elbows in close to your sides and quickly flap your arms like a hummingbird.

Stand on one leg like a flamingo and then try the other leg.

Keep your legs close together and waddle like a penguin.

What other bird actions have you seen? Try them out!

 

Great horned owl (Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko)

 

Why don't seagulls fly over the bay?

 

WATCH THE FULL PLAYLIST

Migration Hazards by Project Beak

Some of our local birds stick around all winter long. Other birds like hummingbirds, warblers, ducks and cranes fly in search of food and warmer weather. In this game, test your skills to see if you can survive the hazards of migrating thousands of miles. Try to avoid planes, wind turbines, storms, buildings, predators and more. Make sure to also rest in safe areas and eat food to regain energy. Good luck reaching your destination! 

PLAY NOW

 

Fine Feathered Feast by PBS Kids

Discover what birds may visit your backyard with Nature Cat. Learn what each bird likes to eat and fill up the feeders. Keep filling up the bird feeders to attract more birds and earn acorns. New levels unlock new feeders and new birds. For extra credit, try making a bird feeder for your real backyard!

PLAY NOW

 

Flower Flyer by PBS Kids

The Wild Kratt brothers are turning into hummingbirds! First, fill up your tank with the right amount of nectar. Use the fraction next to the tank as a guide. Then use the arrow keys to fly the hummingbird.

PLAY NOW

Books for kids

“Wings” by Jane Porter

When all the birds fly to the top of the tree, Penguin is left all on his own once again. A hilarious series of events unfold as Penguin tries to teach himself to fly. Despite the expert advice of his bird friends, flying is not for everyone!


“Grumpy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard

Bird wakes up feeling grumpy. Too grumpy to eat or play. He’s too grumpy to even fly. "Looks like I'm walking today," says Bird. He walks past Sheep, who offers to keep him company. He walks past Rabbit, who also could use a walk. Raccoon, Beaver and Fox join in too. Before he knows it, a little exercise and companionship help Bird shake his bad mood.


“Bird Songs” by Steve Jenkins

Then ... tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat! A woodpecker starts his rap for the day. Next comes soft coos from the mourning doves, followed by the chirping of a flurry of sparrows. And on go the birdsongs throughout the whole day.

Photo by Jen Guest