Free Animal Study Starter

In this unit study kids will have the chance to learn about birds and animal tracks. It designed to spark an interest in animals and get kids outdoors observing. Because many kids seem to be naturally fascinated with animals there are not many lessons in this study. Please expand on these simple ideas to study any plants or animals your child is interested in. Visit the library to discover new books and feel free to create animal art and spend time in nature. Homeschooling does not need to be highly structured to be effective. Rather kids need to be given opportunities and encouragement to discover. The learning will be natural.

Week 1: Birds

A bird banding station is a place where scientists trap birds and place a small metal ring around one leg to track migration. The data is used to learn more about birds, and help to protect them and their habitats.

There is one near Denver, CO that can be found through the Audubon Society. Banding is done twice per year (May and September) when the birds are migrating. It happens in the morning from about 7:00-11:00 when the birds are most active. After the birds are trapped they are weighed, measured, banded and then set free. Banding sessions are open to the public for observation.  Check with your local Audubon Society for learning opportunities.

Read The Burgess Bird Book for Children. It is free on-line. Then create a lapbook. Spend several weeks learning about birds. Each week focus on researching a different characteristic such as feathers, nests, types of birds, diet, and flight. Then summarize your observations in a little booklet that can be glued into a folder to make an interesting book.

Week 2: What type of seed do birds like best?

Create four different types of seeded peanut butter pine cones to find what type of seed the birds prefer.

 After gathering pine cones,  generously slather them with peanut butter.

Roll them in different seeds such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and millet seeds. Watch the pinecones and birds over the course of several days to discover their tastes.

Week 3: Animal Tracks

Winter is the best time to see animal tracks and Snow Tracks is the perfect book to go with the activity. The story contains several animals and their adventures. As they go about their day they leave tracks and many things can be learned from the tracks.

After reading the book, go outside in the winter or near a pond or stream and search for animal tracks.

Deer Tracks

Dog Tracks

Bird Tracks

Rabbit Tracks

Not Quite Sure Tracks - Maybe Marten Tracks

What were all these animals doing?

Another book great for nature hikes is In the Snow. In this book the kids see clues like berries in the snow and balls of fur and bone, and wonder who has been there.

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