Are you looking for a family hobby that is free? How about a family hobby that encourages everyone to get outside for exercise and fresh air? Does your family need more quiet time? Would you love to spend time learning with your kids in a fun way?
We’ve found a family hobby that is for the birds. Actually, it was inspired them and the many ways they have fluttered into our lives and offered us unplanned lessons just for being there with our eyes open.
Bird watching is filled with science lessons as kids explore the habits and habitats of birds, notice the changing seasons and learn to identify and classify birds. It’s fun to bird watch and notice which birds prefer which types of trees and to try to investigate their diets.
Math is fun when you’re counting the number of birds you see at a birdfeeder or during a walk. In bird watching, counting really counts! Your family can participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count, each February or The Christmas Count, from December 14 to January 5th, annually. These projects are fun, free and require as little or as much time as you want to dedicate. You can visit www.birdsource.org to participate. There is also an “ebird” program that allows you to enter sightings from anywhere, anytime!
Kids are more likely to read about subjects that are interesting to them. Get kids hooked on bird watching and there is a lot of fun reading out there. Your local library will have many bird watching books. Bird Watcher, published by DK can be enjoyed by all ages. Even young children enjoy the awesome photos and short articles in “Birds and Blooms” magazine and websites such as the www.audobon.org are fun filled and informative too. Interesting art and photos that attract readers usually accompany birding publications.
While kids will learn more about the social habits of birds and other wildlife when watching, they’ll also develop some important social skills of their own like patience and respect. Birds reward those who are willing to be still and quiet. Kids can also learn responsibility as they keep hummingbird feeders, bird feeders or birdbaths maintains and the birds always reward those efforts.
Whether they are sketching the birds they watch, photographing them and making a scrapbook or building and painting birdhouses, bird watching offers lots of opportunities for the whole family to use their creativity.
Does everyone in your family have a favorite sports team? How about a favorite movie character? Does each of you have a favorite pizza? Why not spend some time getting to know the native birds in your area and let each family member discover their favorite bird and become that species biggest fan!
Bird watching is great way to get outside and learn together. Most importantly, bird watching offers a fun opportunity to bond with the others from your nest!