Is that a bird? A preschool unit of work

After the holidays, the children at the Preschool returned to find ten new hens in the yard.  The ultimate recyclers, the hens will form part of the sustainability focus during the children's year at preschool.  Of course having the hens brought a whole range of questioning and exploration from the children - What do they eat?  Where do they sleep?  Where did they come from?  Do they lay eggs?  Do they fly?  You get the idea...

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Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

To help answer their questions we looked at different non-fiction books (this one is quite good - Egg to Chicken) and we watched some youtube clips of chickens hatching:

We made some paper chicks like these from Housing a Forest:

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey
Photo credit: Housing a Forest
We did some more printing with potatoes to make pictures of chicks:

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

We've filled up the sensory tub with birdseed and leftover chickens from Easter.  I'd first posted about using birdseed as a sensory bin material here but adding the chicks was inspired by Twodaloo.  You can see the mother hen sitting on her nest minding her eggs.

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

Last term, we'd talked about the different sorts of animals that come from eggs so I made up some simple eggs for the children to open and see what was inside:

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

Following on from this, I also made up an egg template as a drawing prompt so the children could make their own.  This was the inside of one egg before the student added their egg:

We also strengthened our fine motor skills by making some more sticker pictures as inspired by (affiliate link) Ed Emberley's Picture Pie Drawing Books.

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

We also made some of these simple flying birds.  They were lots of fun to make and you could make them more elaborate than these but the main goal was to provide purposeful cutting practice:
Simple flying bird craft #youclevermonkey

Simple flying bird craft #youclevermonkey

As I mentioned we use lots of books each week but we'll often choose one to focus on for a week to two weeks at a time.  This week we chose the classic (affiliate link)Rosie's Walk.  The children loved it and so do I - it's funny, useful for developing retelling and has great prepositional language (I wrote about picture books and prepositions here) which we've been working on with each group.  

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

I found these sequencing cards on Early Learning HQ and we used them on our large felt board by laminating them and adding velcro dots to the back.  They have lots of other Rosie's Walk resources too.

We also did some bird watching which proved extremely popular.  I'd downloaded some images of different birds, printed and laminated them and then hid them around the outdoor area for the children to find.  Each child had a cardboard clipboard and this sheet (which you can download by clicking here) to tick off the birds as they found them.

Printable Australian bird search #youclevermonkey

The children had also made some binoculars from cardboard rolls we had.  I had to move the cards three times during the day for one group as they kept wanting to find the different birds.  This activity also worked well as a problem solving exercise (where do you normally see hens?  Walking around!  So you need to look down low to find them) and as a vocabulary builder (I found the wood duck!).

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

Pre-K Bird Unit of Work #youclevermonkey

Looking for more ideas?

Make a kid-sized bird nest from Creekside Learning

Make your own nest from Life as a social butterfly
Paper cup birds from Octavia and Vicky
DIY parts of a bird felt puzzle from Suzie's Home Education Ideas 

Bird games and crafts for toddlers from Adventure in a box
Montessori inspired bird unit from Living Montessori Now (so many links here!)

Printable Australian bird cards from Suzie's Home Education Ideas
Birdseed playdough from Twodaloo