“More birds, more birds” is what breakfast with my 2 year old sounds like. Currently she is loving anything crafty and everything bird (or concrete mixer) related. So today I thought I’d compile some of our bird crafts into a little recipe book for any other little bird enthusiasts out there. And birds are such a wonderful thing to want more of really.
First on the list is of course the paper plate rocking bird!
I love crafting with paper plates, they’re thick enough to withstand large blobs of paint, glue, and most manhandling a toddler can throw at them, and they’re inexpensive and easily customised.
• Paper plate
• Googly eyes or cut little circles from paper to glue on
• Feathers, or scrunched tissue paper, or feather-like shapes cut from coloured paper
• Paint, or textas/crayons if you’re not up for the potential mess of painting.
• A yellow diamond of paper for the beak
Paint/colour your plate, when dry fold in half and let your little person add feathers, beak, eyes, etc.
This is a good opportunity for counting out feathers, eyes etc and discussing what each body part is used for and perhaps how some birds differ depending on how ‘educational’ you want to make it, or what time of day it is.
Paper plate toucan!
Yep another paper plate bird! Thought we’d introduce another really different type of bird, so we read about toucans in our visual dictionary and whipped up this one.
• One paper plate
• One googly eye sticker
• Colouring implements –we used a mix of texts and crayons, Miss E’s choice
Cut a long shape out of the centre of your plate so your toucan has a gap between his back and beak –this piece becomes his tail. Trim around the edge of the plate to give him claws and to shape his beak. Attach the cut out as the tail –stapler.
Colour your toucan and give him an eye –Done!
Stained glass birds
• Clear contact paper
• Paint or tissue paper
• Plain or coloured paper
Cut your bird outlines from your paper and stick them to the contact. Have your little person paint on the sticky side of the contact, it doesn’t matter if they paint over the outline. When the paint is dry stick another layer of contact over the paint so it is sandwiched inside the two layers of contact. Cut around the edge of your paper outline and hang your beautiful birds in a sunny window, or even on a white wall they’ll look lovely!
• Wooden birds either thick enough to stand alone and play with, or thin wooden craft shapes if you want to use them as part of a larger craft project later or simply attach a magnet and pop on the fridge!
• Clear varnish if they are likely to get wet/lots of loving
I cut birds for my daughter as she asked for them, so we now have 15 wooden rocky birds nesting around the house as well as various thin ones used for magnets and framed for Mother’s day gifts etc, but I imagine most of you doing this craft will buy your bird shapes, and then simply pull out some paints and let your kiddo go! We did some in water colours, some with acrylic craft paints, some were painted with our fingers, some with cotton buds, some with paintbrushes, we scratched texture into some with sticks while the paint was wet to make ‘feathers’, some we even pressed onto the table while the paint was wet and lifted them again which was totally unplanned but made a beautiful feathery texture on the wood. If you are varnishing or adding magnets etc do this once the paint is fully dry.
Build a bird station
• Coloured paper
• Googly eyes
• Lots of little containers
Cut lots of different pieces and pop them into containers, so all the potential bird bodies are in one tub, all the wing pieces in another, all the beaks in another etc
Let your little person build their page of birds! I was quite surprised that despite some birds having multiple tails on their heads, some being covered in wings, some having two eyes on the side of their heads, all her birds were quite bird looking! Quirky and with personality, but definitely birds.
This is a good opportunity to discuss colours, size difference, positioning (front, side, above, behind etc). Ask lots of open questions to get your kiddo to think before they glue
− What colour bird will you make next?
− Where are you going to put his wings?
− What will this bird be doing? -Is he going to be a flying bird or a sitting bird?
− How many eyes does this bird need?
− What colour tail do we want to match/contrast with this bird?
− How big should this bird’s beak be?
My daughter doesn’t have the language to actually voice answers to any of these questions as she has only just started talking, but they definitely got her thinking about where and how she wanted to make her birds.
For older children you could add more pieces.. legs, nests, leaves, branches, feathers, etc.
• Largish nuts collected on a walk, like acorns, gum nuts, banksias etc –try to get dried out ones or as they dry you may end up with seeds everywhere, but if you have to vacuum daily anyway, perhaps it’s not such an issue
• Googly eyes
Felt bits for wings, beaks etc. You could also use other nature bits like leaves, or just paper, card, or whatever you have on hand
Go for a walk with a bucket for collecting interesting bits. Assemble your birds! Let your little person do as much as possible!
Potato stamped birds
Halve your potato and using the knife carefully cut your bird shape.
Apply a thin layer of paint to your stamp and let your little person go! We did our stamps in a contrasting colour onto a fairly plain painting she’d done the day before.
Recycled Bird Bird Feeder
• Juice carton/milk bottle/shampoo bottle/any bottle/carton from your recycling bin
• Hot glue gun or other weather proof glue
• Googly eyes
• Bird seed
We didn’t paint our bird as we didn’t have any waterproof kid friendly paints. Cut wing and belly holes in your ‘body’ leave wings attached to give some weather protection to the seed. Use your glue gun to attach lids as eyes and accent with googly eyes for effect. We cut our beak from the tummy piece. Poke your stick in through some holes and fill with seed. Attach to a fence or tree and wit for all those birds!
Bird themed pasting
• Anything bird related that can be pasted to a piece of paper!
• Bird pictures, feathers, egg shapes, bird cards you’ve got lying about from the recent Woolworths promotions, egg shells…..
• Heavy card/paper to paste onto
Multimedia art making is always lots of fun, let your kiddo go wild and make some kind of collage with all these bird related bits!
Think you have no supplies to make birds?
Go through your recycling and find some cardboard, a cereal box perhaps..
Collect some leaves with nice raised veins, show your little person how to make leaf rubbings with a crayon. Cut out some bird shapes, decorate with crayons/textas and glue your birds to their freshly made forest of leaves
Hopefully this gives you a bird idea or two to take away and create!
Other bird ideas from my mummy friends:
• Pompom birds
• Bird shaped cookies
• Bird stamps in your kinetic sand
• Toilet paper roll chicks or penguins
• Fingerprints turned into birds
Thanks so much for your fantastic ideas Benita! There's definitely a few on this list I'd like to try.
You can find Benita's beautiful hand crafted wooden puzzles here at - Little Bird in a Beehive.