Easter Activities with A Nature Twist!
Garden birds, such as robins, blackbirds and song thrushes, are all busy nest-building during late March and April – sit and watch through a window with your children for these birds gathering small twigs at first and then moving on to leaves, moss, feathers and especially spider webs which is used by many species to hold the soft, fleecy interior of the nest together.
Then see if your children can have a go at nest building too! Older children can gather larger sticks and weave them together using mud, then fill in the gaps with smaller twigs. For younger children (e.g. 2-5), use some plasticene or modelling clay to make a shallow bowl which they can line with twigs. Hunt around the garden for softer materials such as leaves and moss to line their nests.
2. Egg and Nest Race
Make an obstacle course in the garden using any equipment you have such as hula hoops and stepping stones. Each child must complete the course carrying a hard-boiled egg in their own nest – who will keep their egg in the nest all of the way around? Chocolate egg for the winner!
NB/ remember to scatter all of the natural material back around the garden when you are finished for the REAL birds to use!
3. Bird Recipes
Birds need extra energy at this time of year as they are breeding and so try these bird-food recipes:
What You’ll Need:
• Empty yoghurt pot
• Sturdy string
• Bird seed
To make bird pudding, melt the lard in the microwave or pan and mix thoroughly with the bird seed. Pour into the yoghurt pot and insert one end of the string so that it resembles a candle wick. Place in fridge to set.
What You’ll Need:
• 1 Apple
• Sunflower seeds
To make 2 apple hedgehogs, cut the apple in half and place flat-side down onto a surface. Push the sunflower seeds through the skins to make hedgehogs and place on a bird table.
What You’ll Need:
• 30g lard
• 80g flour
In a large bowl, rub together the lard and flour until it resembles a bowl full of little fat maggots! Place on bird table.
4. Recognising bird calls
Follow the link to hear some real bird songs and match them to UK birds – try this with your children before going on a country walk!
Wild Republic have teamed up with the RSPB to produce replica toy birds with authentic bird calls – great fun to play guessing games with children and grown-ups!
5. Decorating a plant pot
Many bright and easy to grow flowers can be planted into pots now – asters, marigolds, pansies, sweet peas and sunflowers to name but a few. Give each child a plant pot and get decorating – they can be given a bright yellow coat of paint and when that has dried, paint black stripes for a bee pot! Big googly eyes can be added using glue dots and even pipe cleaner antennae! Try a red flowerpot with black spots for a ladybird or a green frog pot! Craft shops have lots of accessories to make this a really fun activity (especially on a rainy April day!).
6. Cooking with a gardening theme
Recipe: Field of Dreams Brownie – see here.
7. Snail Races
Take the children on a snail hunt – look under plant pots, in hedges, behind stones etc. Use a large, clean yoghurt pot to store them in and don’t forget the lid (with a few added holes)! Now draw a chalk circle on a paving stone, with a dot in the centre. Ad some enticing leaves around the outside and mark each snail with coloured chalk to identify the speediest snail! Place all the snails on the centre dot and READY, STEADY GO! They are surprisingly quick and often climb onto each other’s back to add to the entertainment!
8. Woodlice Choice Chamber
Take a clean and empty food carton and divide into two sections. Into one half add dry sand and a few pebbles and into the other add some moist soil and some dead leaves. Go on a woodlice hunt – again yoghurt pots are great for this! Look under flower pots and bricks and try to catch a few woodlice – they’re fast! Once you have caught a few tip them gently into the “choice chamber”, cover and leave for half an hour. Why not make a woodlice picture using sponges, googly eyes and pipe cleaners – see attached!
After the time has elapsed, try to guess in which section most of the woodlice will be found – were you correct?
NB/ ALWAYS replace the animals back where you found them!
For more information on nature activities and Blossoming Cooks Pre-School Classes: