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Alternate Activity 2: Birding Expedition
Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A guide to birds that live in the local ecosystem
- Lunch-sized paper bags, cloth bags, or small baggies for all participants
- Optional: Flashlights, magnifying glasses, or handheld dental mirrors
Preparation for Activity
- Inform families of your plan to bring the children outdoors. Arrange all necessary details, such as transportation, permission slips, sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing.
- Select an appropriate location for your nature walk in consultation with the religious educator. Ideally, visit a wood, field, stream, or pond that is likely to have some fallen logs.
- Make sure you can recognize poison ivy. Learn about any venomous or otherwise dangerous creatures in your local habitat and how to avoid them.
- Determine whether anyone is allergic to bee stings, pollen, or other outdoor allergens and plan accordingly.
Description of Activity
Participants experience nature directly.
Go on a nature walk with bird watching as your goal. Explain to the children the importance of staying quiet. Pause on the walk to silently listen for birdsong. Look under bushes and in trees for bird nests. Remind the children that the nests are homes and instruct them not to disturb the bird nests in any way. Look for birds and try to identify them with your bird guide.
Invite participants to collect any interesting non-living items they find, such as acorns, stones, or leaves, in their paper bags.
After the walk, process the activity with questions such as:
- I wonder if you saw anything that was created by an animal, insect or bird.
- I wonder what you enjoyed the most about our walk?
- I wonder if there was anything on our walk that made you feel awe, like a big "Wow!"
- I wonder how we can be helpful partners for the birds we saw today?
Including All Participants
Determine whether there are any relevant allergies within your group, such as bee stings or pollen, and plan accordingly.
If you have a child who uses a wheelchair or has limited mobility, select a location that is accessible, with paved paths.