Bird Watching With Children
Getting children interested in bird watching is a great way of introducing them to wildlife and teaching them about the environment and the importance of nature.
Luckily bird watching is an inexpensive hobby and one that can be done anywhere so it is simple to get them involved and you won’t feel that you have wasted a lot of money or effort if your child realises it is not something for them. We’ve compiled a list of bird watching activities for them to complete to help them get closer to nature and understand more about the birds that live all around us.
The only things kids will need initially are a bird book and a pair of binoculars. There are lots of good bird watching books on the market but try and buy one that is written specifically for children as it will have lots of colourful pictures as well as activity guides which will keep them interested. It should also feature birds that your child is most likely to spot to make it simple to get started. If your children are very young consider getting them a sticker or colouring book.
If possible buy your children their own pair of binoculars; it’s a lot more fun to look at a bird together when you can both see it and if your little ones get serious about their hobby then they may want to carry their binoculars everywhere they go. Make sure the binoculars are lightweight and suitably designed for little hands and well protected against knocks and bumps.
Before your child goes on his or her first birding expedition teach them how to use their binoculars and how to keep them clean. Read our guide to using binoculars to help get them started.
You also need to teach your children some safety tips. Make sure they know the importance of keeping quiet when they go out bird watching and not to wander off in search of a siting in dense woods, rocky terrains or near water. You should also make sure they know not to disturb nests and baby birds.
One of the best places for children to start bird watching is in their back garden. Set aside a patch for your child where they can grow plants to encourage birds. Sunflowers are fun to grow and the birds will love the seeds they produce. Let your child help fill the bird table and feeders and spend some time making a fat feeder with them.
An RSPB Junior Membership costs just £15 a year and is a great way for children to find out a lot more about their new hobby. As well as getting a fantastic welcome pack they will also receive magazines packed with information throughout the year and the RSPB run many activity days for children and families to learn more about birds.
Use your child’s new hobby as a way of teaching them about other things. For example, on a globe or a map have your child trace migratory routes of birds and as they learn about birds habitats you can teach them more about wildlife conservation and the impact man has on the environment.