In an ideal world we’d live in small house with a large backyard, and we would be able to keep hens for eggs, perhaps a pygmy goat. I had one as a child and they really are delightful pets. But back to the subject at hand, a personal petting zoo isn’t really an option when you live in an apartment. Luckily for us, our apartment complex is dotted with beautiful full-grown trees everywhere you look. Along with trees comes wildlife. Wood bees. Moths the size of your fist. Metallic ground beetles. And the birds, ugh. Cardinals. Wrens. Robins. Just last week we found some beautiful pieces of robin’s eggs on our patio! I suspect there is a nest in my upstairs neighbor’s rafters.
We are so very, very blessed to have all of these wonderful teaching moments available to us, surrounding us. So today the Homeschooler family focused our attention on the wildlife in our own front yard.
We started off making bird feeders for the large tree about 15 feet from our patio.
Normally I’d smear some peanut butter on some empty tp rolls and have the kids roll them in bird seed however there is a 3 year old in the building with a mild peanut allergy so we’re trying to keep the common yard as nut-free as possible in respect to her. Turns out, LittleMan really loved making Cherrio rings so it worked out pretty well.
He actually ran out of pipe cleaners and asked me to go get more from the art room so he could make more bird feeders. Of course I obliged.
While LittleMan was making Cherrio rings, I fashioned some bowls to hold bird seed by cutting a few small plastic balls in half and hole punching them to weave string through and hang it up.
After the bird feeders were done we talked a bit about nests, how they are made and what they are made of. We decided to hang a nesting bag containing a variety of items. First we opted to grab the family pet and brush all the loose fur out of him. (Yes, he’s wearing a cape. No, he usually doesn’t mind it, it happens quite frequently at this point.)
Unfortunately a rather loud truck came by as we were brushing the cat and he had to be rushed back inside as he was quite frightened. Luckily we had some old shredded paper on hand, and I also brushed my hair and threw in what was in my brush when I finished. All in all, its not a bad nesting bag. The birds should have plenty of soft things to line their nests with.
Besides caring for the local birds, we also created this little caddy for bug hunting. 4 clear containers with holes punched in the lids, a couple of magnifying glasses. Everything LittleMan and SunnyGirl need to get a good close look at the creepy crawlies they find outside.
We are in the future hoping to add a butterfly net to the bug hunting caddy, and a worm farm to the patio area.
Be sure to check out all 7 days worth of outdoor play ideas in our Pimp My Patio Series!
Day 1- Making Things Colorful
Day 2- Music and Pretend Play
Day 4- Outdoor Games
Day 5- Mud Kitchen and Clean Up Station
Day 6- Hide-a-Ways and Sun Protection
Day 7- Gardening