Spring bursts forth with new life and offers a special chance to observe plants and animals. As the seasons change, this is one of the best times of year to pursue nature activities. Birds are especially easy to entice to visit our home or school yards. These feathered creatures provide opportunities to study behavior, take photographs or learn about native species. Easy “bird” recipes also make great gifts for family members whose hobby is birding. Non-food recipes are simple and fun for learning basic cooking skills, too. Children will need adult assistance and supervision though.
Cooking’s For the Birds. Assemble pine cones, peanut butter, yarn or string, birdseed, unbreakable pie pan and spoons, if desired. Tie the yarn/string around the large end of the pine cone(s). Using spoons or fingers, spread peanut butter on the pine cone(s). Put about 1″ of birdseed into an unbreakable pie pan. Roll the pine cone(s) in the birdseed. Hang in a tree or bush. If you don’t have pine cones handy, use a recyclable paper cup to make the sticky bell below. This is a nice project to do outside on a patio picnic table.
Sticky Bell. Assemble honey, egg(s), recyclable paper cups (medium), yarn/string, scissors, small bowl(s), spoons and birdseed 1/2-1 cup per bell. For each bell, mix 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 egg in a bowl. Add seed until stiff, mixing well after each addition of birdseed. Cut a piece(s) of string 16-18 inches long and tie a knot in each end. Poke a small hole in the bottom of a paper cup. Loop the string and push a loop about 3 inches long through the hole in the paper cup. Lay the strings over the top edges of the cup. Spoon the sticky seeds into the cup, pulling the strings to the middle of the mixture occasionally. Press firmly. Let cups dry for one week. Cut the sides of the paper cups and peel off. Hang your seed bell in a tree or bush. Watch the birds! Then, try the next idea for an exercise in teamwork.
Remember to be patient with young cooks and don’t forget to teach kitchen safety too.
Caterpillar Express. A group of 3 or more people get on their hands and knees on the ground or the floor. Then, the participants form a line and grasp the ankles of the person in front of them. This forms the caterpillar. The caterpillar proceeds to crawl around the room, race another caterpillar or wind its’ way through a simple obstacle course. The objective is to keep the caterpillar together and get where it is going without too many disasters. The longer the caterpillar the more challenging the trip! This is a great game to build cooperation and group experience. Fun for rainy days too! Just beware of the furniture and the safety of the caterpillar.
Note: These activities come from the Idea Factory (copyright 1996), created and published by IRMWare. Please request permission to copy or reprint, except for personal use.