Birds are a great theme at any time, but they’re especially fun to study as a spring unit. Discovering nests and baby birds can even be one of the most exciting parts of spring for children. Today, I’m sharing both nest activities and free nest printables, including my new Montessori-inspired nest pack (subscriber freebie)!
In addition to our new nest pack, I have a special instant download from The Montessori Company with a hand-painted nest culture card!
The links are for free nest printables for preschoolers through 1st graders. To keep my list manageable, I don’t share coloring pages unless a page has a specific educational purpose related to nests. To keep this post focused, I’m also not sharing bird printables that don’t have nests featured in them.
At PreK + K Sharing, I have lots and lots of themed activities and presentation ideas.
Free Printables + Materials Used in the Pictured Nest Activities for Preschoolers-First Graders
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).
My shelves with nest-themed activities include a free nest culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired nest numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)
I always have related books available throughout a unit. On my top shelf, I have Birds Make Nests, Whose Nest Is This? and A Nest Is Noisy. On the bottom shelf, I have A Nest Full of Eggs (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science). These books are all Montessori friendly. Although my activities this month all feature bird nests, I like that Whose Nest Is This? and A Nest Is Noisy include nests made by other types of animals as well. In my book basket, I have some books that are fiction but aren’t Montessori-style books, such as the fun The Best Nest.
You could mix your nest-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special nest-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.
Nest Culture Card and Whose Nest Is This? Book
I’m happy to share with you this lovely hand-painted robin nest culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce a nest or bird unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free nest culture card here.
The description says: “Nests are where birds lay eggs, usually high up in tree branches. They are commonly made of sticks and twigs but are quite strong.”
Free Printable: N is for Nest Pack from Teaching Mama
Bird Nest Lacing Activity
Free Printable: N is for Nest Pack from Teaching Mama
For this activity, I just used the printable on a Multicraft tray with a shoelace tied to one end. I don’t always laminate activities for preschoolers on up for home use, but I do always laminate lacing activities. I love the Scotch Thermal Laminator, which I use whenever I want to laminate an activity. Activities for toddlers or ones that will get a lot of use are the only activities I laminate at home.
Angela from Teaching Mama cut the birds off for the lacing activity. That’s probably best for toddlers, but I think most preschoolers can be taught to lace even with the birds still attached.
Nest-Themed Book, Sandpaper Letter, and Word Card
Free Printables: Nest Word Tracing from Birds Preschool Pack at Homeschool Creations
This is just on the shelf next to A Nest is Noisy book. I use it to introduce the theme with the sandpaper letter “n.” I used my small movable alphabet “n” on the nest word card. I also printed out the “nest” tracing word card that I would use with a child who’s ready to trace letters.
N is for Nest Birdseed Writing Tray
Free Printables: Nest Letters for Letter N Birdseed Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)
I first saw the idea of using birdseed for a writing tray at School Time Snippets. I thought it would be fun to use a feather for the writing, but it didn’t work as well as a finger. Birdseed is lots of fun to write in, but it needs a fairly thick writing tool.
For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though.
If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers.
Free Printable: Rob the Nest Alphabet Edition from Ms K’s Kreations at Teachers Pay Teachers
This was super easy to prepare. I just printed and cut out the materials and put them on a Multicraft tray. There are directions in the printable for playing “Rob the Nest Alphabet Edition.” It uses both uppercase and lowercase cards, though. I like cooperative games, and I just wanted to use lowercase letters. So I made up my own games.
For younger children, you could take turns drawing letter cards and saying their letter sounds before placing them in the nest. You don’t have to include all the letters on the tray. Adapt it for your own child or classroom. When you’ve placed all the eggs in the nest, everyone wins. Repeat as long as the child or children are interested.
For older children, you could have a word-building activity where you take turns drawing a letter. Whenever you have enough letters to spell a word, you could work together to form and read the word. Place completed letters in the nest except any vowels. You can use those for more words. I like to allow nonsensical words as well as real words. The important part is spelling and reading!
Oval Inset for Egg-Themed Work
I have plastic insets instead of metal insets. I like them for home use because they can be stored in one basket. The inset could be traced before the child creates a design on the egg. Eggs can be added to a nest like the one above if desired. It’s just nice to focus on the oval as an egg shape during the nest theme.
Counting to 20 to Get Mama Bird to the Nest
Free Printable: Follow the Path Mama Bird from 1-20 Mama Bird from Education.com
A younger child could place the glass gems on the the path as far as he or she is able to count, and you could place the rest. A child who’s working on numbers to 20 could put them on the page using the sugar tong before counting each of the numbers.
Free Printable: Robin’s Nest Addition from Make Take Teach at Teachers Pay Teachers
This activity uses a piece of felt for a table mat (I used the Montessori Services felt table mat) and bead bars from the decanomial box in a Multicraft tray and Bambu condiment cups (what I used here) or other small containers. (My bead bars, which I love, are from Alison’s Montessori. You can get bead bars on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used materials from those companies.)
The printable has addition facts for 5-12, although you could just use the nests for 2 or 3 numbers. I used 5, 6, and 7 here. I have the bead bars for each set of numbers. There are two 3 bars for 3+3=6.
I would first lay out the nests in order. Then just have the child choose an egg and find the answer using bead bars. Place the eggs on the appropriate nests.
Nest and Egg Addition and Subtraction Activity
Free Printable: Nest Numbers 1-12 (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)
For this activity, I used a Montessori Services basket, 12 miniature eggs, and 2 dice. The nests in the Montessori-inspired nest pack are identified on the credits page. From the credits page you’ll see that each number card has a photo of an empty Carolina wren nest. The eggs aren’t high-quality eggs, but I like that they look a bit like Carolina wren eggs. My 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves them.
I chose dice with numerals for this activity, although you could use whichever type you prefer. First, Zoey laid out the number cards in order. Then she rolled both dice. In the photo, she has a 5 and a 2. She counted out the eggs for each number and then put them together to add them.
After that, Zoey rolled one of the dice to see how many eggs to take away. She thought it was fun to pretend that 2 eggs hatched and the birds flew away. She placed those eggs in a basket behind her. Then she counted the eggs that were left and made the final subtraction equation.
You could adapt this for a variety of skill levels, depending on whether the child is working on counting or hands-on addition and subtraction.
Free Panda Printables for Preschoolers-First Graders
Montessori-Inspired Nest Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber)
- Nest Counting Mats from The Measured Mom
- 5 Little Robins in the Nest Glove Puppet from Making Learning Fun
- Nest Addition from Printables 4 Kids
- Nest and Chicks Downloadable Lesson from Cornell Institute of Ornithology
- The Life Cycle of a Bird from Scholastic
- Robin Poster from Egg to Bird from Share and Remember
- N is for Nest Craft from DLTK’s Crafts for Kids
- Paper Plate Bird Nest Craft from DLTK’s Crafts for Kids
- “The Little Nest” Poster/Coloring Page from DLTK’s Crafts for Kids
- Bird Nest Craft from Free Coloring Pages
- Make a Bird Nest from Education.com
- Bird Theme Printables – Early Learning Printables (preschool and kindergarten packs) from Homeschool Creations
- Birds Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1
- Backyard Birds Lapbook from Homeschool Share
- Pin the Bird in the Nest Game from B. Nute Productions
- Nest Watercolor from Finding Silver Pennies
- Nest Watercolor from On Sutton Place
- Nest Watercolor from Craftberry Bush
- Nest Printables from Teachers Notebook
- Nest Printables from Teachers Pay Teachers
More Bird Activities and Resources
- Montessori-Inspired Bird Unit
- Montessori-Inspired Life Cycle Activities
- Free Owl Printables and Montessori-Inspired Owl Activities
- Montessori-Inspired Owl Unit with Free Printables and Activities
- Great Horned Owl Do-a-Dot Printable (Montessori-Inspired Instant Download
- Montessori Nature Tray with Owl-Themed Craft and Art Appreciation
- Free Owl Cutting Strips (Montessori-Inspired Instant Download
- Bird Unit Study Pinterest Board
HELPFUL ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION POSTS
- Living and Non-Living
- Plant and Animal Sorting
- Montessori Animal Classification
- Free Zoo Printables and Montessori-Inspired Zoo Activities
- Montessori-Inspired Animal Units
Please join me at PreK + K Sharing to see all my posts there over the years: Deb Chitwood at PreK + K Sharing.
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy! I’m also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
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