Welcome to Day 3 of my "Surviving March Break" guide: For the Birds! We've had lots of fun outside, trying to catch some new freckles in this glorious sunshine (hooray for longer days!), and looking for signs of Spring. Today we saw a terrific magic show, and had a long-overdue visit with dear friends. My kids are alternately playing together nicely, and fighting/whining/yelling. The same could be said for their mother.
Today we're going to try some bird-related activities! Have fun...I wonder when we'll see the first robin of the Spring?
Chocolate Bird's Nests!
Violet actually has eyes. She is (long over)due for a haircut.You'll need:
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 6 tablespoons cocoa
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups quick-cooking (not instant) oats
- 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
Shape mixture into golf balls; squeeze tight till it holds together. Push your thumb in gently, and refrigerate till firm. Then nestle in some Cadbury's Mini Eggs. Delight your children with a Spring treat!
*I halved this recipe for the batch above; you might want to do the same unless you're taking them to a party or making them for your child's class!)
Salt Dough Bird Nest
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp. alum (if you don't bake your clay; it acts as a preservative. I bake ours!)
- Roll a medium sized ball, then pinch and shape it to resemble a bowl/nest.
- Shape a small ball of clay into a simple bird shape.
- Place nest and bird on baking tray, and bake till hard.
- Paint nest brown, and add some twigs/moss/dried grass
- Paint your bird, and nestle her into her nest!
Just take your kids out! Put on rubber boots and take them on a walk; bring a bag to pick up any litter that the melting snow has revealed. Or bring along a small notebook and make a list of signs of Spring (remember to explore the five senses...what signs of Spring can they see? smell? hear? feel? When you get home, make a chart and sort the signs of Spring into their sense-category!
Alternatively, you could make a Spring Scavenger Hunt list, and have your child check them off as they see them (examples: trickling water, exposed patches of grass, mud, birdsong, warm sun, gentle breeze).
Turkey Baster Feather Race
- turkey basters, one per child (or adult who wants to play)! Shop around till you find one that is not too firm (at least for smaller children)
- feathers (those coloured ones you find at the Dollar Store or craft store
A toddler will need hand-over-hand support to coordinate the squeeze necessary to make the feather move!
Sit on opposite sides of the table, and place a feather about halfway between you. Now, use your turkey baster to try to blow the feather towards your "opponent"...there are no points, or winners here...just blow the darn feather around! If your kids tend to fight over everything, as mine often do, give them each a feather and let them blow them willy nilly! Any activities that encourage your child to SQUEEZE with their hands builds up their hand strength, which leads to better fine motor control. This will make printing, colouring, drawing, cutting with scissors, etc. easier for them!