Science & Nature Activities for Cooped Up Kids

Whether you’re a teacher who needs to share easy-to-implement content with your students, or you’re a parent striving to best engage and educate your child at home, you’ll find these materials relevant and fun! With engaging, self-paced slideshows, these activities can be self-guided for kids in grades 3-8, while K-2 learners will probably need an adult guide.

Being in nature decreases stress and boosts creativity, so encourage kids to complete the outside portions as much as possible. 

To help students get the most out of the activities, we recommend you start with week one and complete the activities in order. But here are a few options for grouping if you have limited time. 

  • Life Cycles – Activities 2-4
  • Backyard Birds – Activity 5 & 9
  • Birds Around the World – Activity 1 & 8

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    Activity 1  – Diversity

    From their dinosaur ancestors, birds have evolved into an amazingly diverse group. Discover diversity and adaptation through fun hands-on activities. Take the quest and share your experiences with our Facebook community!

  • Child's hands-on bird mask

    Activity 2  – Courtship

    Known for their glorious songs and early dawn choruses, birds rely heavily on sound. Why are they so noisy? Find out as we explore the first two stages of the nesting cycle in this week’s activities and quests.

  • Girl cracking an egg

    Activity 3: Life Cycles – Nests and Eggs

    What do leaves, twigs, mud and hair have in common? They’re all used in nest building! Explore life cycles by engaging in hands-on activities and quests all around nests and eggs.

  • Girl unmasking egg to bird showing life cycles

    Activity 4: Life Cycles – Birds Growing Up

    Getting ready for adulthood is hard work. Take a look at what life in a nest is like for baby birds. Discover similarities between human babies and baby birds.

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    Activity 5 – Bird ID

    Have you ever come across a bird and wondered, “what is that?” In this week’s activities, we’ll give you tools to solve your bird ID mystery.

  • Girl with paper plane

    Activity 6 – Flight and Migration

    Preparing for take off! If you have ever wondered how birds stay up in the air, why they migrate, and how they relate to airplanes, explore this week’s activities.

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    Activity 7 – Bird Behavior

    Discover some common and surprising bird behaviors, what they mean, and how they help birds survive!

  • Boy holding up binoculars

    Activity 8 – Earth Expedition

    Pack your bags and take a trip around the world to discover amazing birds and the scientists who study them!

  • Smiling girl holds Pennington bird feeder

    Activity 9 – Feeding Wild Birds

    Get to know your neighborhood birds by inviting them to dinner! Find out what birds eat, how birds’ beaks are related to their diet, and design your own bird feeder.

  • Girl taking notes

    Activity 10 – Think Like A Scientist

    Scientists have many of the same traits as kids do! Scientists are curious, they observe and wonder, they ask questions, they are creative, and they solve problems. In this lesson, kids practice different ways of making observations.

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    Bar-headed Geese – ©
    Nitin Chandra (3/10/2019) Macaulay Library –ML144866781

    Activity 11 – Bird Anatomy

    How do birds spot prey from a mile away, and fly higher than Mount Everest? The secret lies in their bodies. In these hands-on activities, kids will explore the amazing anatomy of birds, and discover how their adaptations help them thrive. 

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    American Crow – ©
    Paul Prappas (10/15/2018) Macaulay Library –  ML119076171

    Activity 12 – Crows are Cool

    What bird lives in family groups, keeps an eye out for its neighbors, solves puzzles, and remembers human faces? The American Crow! Kids will learn more about the amazing lives of crows through videos and interactive activities, make a crow tool, and create a comic.

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    Bald Eagle © Darren Clark (5/4/2019) Macaulay Library-ML155878781

    Activity 13 –  Bird Conservation

    Birds are an important part of a healthy ecosystem, and human activities impact their populations in both good and bad ways. Discover conservation success stories, explore ways you can help birds, and make your own conservation action plan.

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    Peregrine Falcon © Craig Gibson (4/27/2017)/ Macaulay Library – ML56019481

    Activity 14 – Bird Superpowers

    Birds may not wear capes, but they do fly! Discover our winged superheroes’ other superpowers by watching fun videos, learning new words, and drawing your own comic strip.

    Fire-tailed Myzornis © Craig Brelsford/ Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab – ML59159521

    Activity 15 – The Benefits of Birds

    Birds bring us joy, they sing us into spring, and they brighten up our landscapes! But did you know that they help us get our annual flu vaccine? Have fun learning about the benefits of birds while completing an outdoor scavenger hunt,  making a local food web, and learning about birds as bioindicators.

  • Family Quests map


    Choose from a list of exciting weekly quest options to engage the entire family! Complete one or all quests.