More Fun Bird Ideas

July 18, 2012

(Here is an article with some more fun bird ideas submitted by one of our readers)

While I was ‘surfing’ the net, I ran across this site, and was fascinated with the bird watching article for children. What a wonderful idea to get children interested in something besides television or screen games!

A good homemade bird feeder is an empty water jug, or you can use 2 Liter soda bottle. In the example to the left, they have cut small holes in the bottle, and then pushed wooden spoons thru the holes, providing both a perch and a seed cup. Paint your new feeder with flowers or birds – let your imagination run wild! You can also use stickers for decoration if you like.

After the paint is dry put feed in the container, then hang from a tree branch with wire or twine. You will have scores of birds coming for ‘dinner’!

TIP: From the beautiful pictures taken of the birds you saw, you seem to have a lot of the smaller variety of birds; sunflower seeds are too big for them to eat. Buy wild birdseed that is the size of parakeet or finch seed-then you will see a LOT of birds

Another way to help children learn the fascination of birds is to let them have a bird of their own. Mature children will do very well with a parakeet. Parakeets have beautiful plumage, the males talk non-stop, and they can be very loving little birds.

Since they are rather small birds, the bird cages required for them can be in the small to medium range. There is a huge selection of bird cages available, so you are sure to find one you like and will fit nicely in your home. Make sure he has plenty of toys in the cage, and food and water daily.

I think bird cages have a wonderful effect in the home; with the singing and bright colorful toys they seem to make the house more friendly and inviting.

Posted under Science Curriculum

Spring Homeschooling Bird Study Ideas

June 7, 2012

A few days ago, I found a chair by the back door with this beginner bird book perched on it, and my daughter out on the deck, engrossed in using the binoculars to try and spot as many birds as she could.

We like the book, but the birds listed are limited and we’re planning on moving up to this more ‘adult’ version:

She’s really taken to the whole “Nature Journal” idea and is drawing beautiful pictures of everything she sees:

I had to laugh, though, when I saw the box of crayons she used to ‘deck’ out her journal:

Or she’ll print a picture she takes, tape it in, and then write a few comments.

She was very excited to snap one of this swallow with “shimmery rainbow colors” as she described it.

And we were all excited one morning to find a whole family of goldfinches flitting around our garden and back yard.

She also attempted a homemade bird feeder that we weighted down with rocks (after the first one blew away) and filled with sunflower seeds, but sadly isn’t attracting any birds.  Do you have any good feeder/seed ideas that have worked for you?  She’d love to attract more birds to the back yard.

Have your kids had fun watching and studying birds?  I’d love some more ideas or books that you liked.  Please leave some suggestions in the comment section.

Posted under Science Curriculum

Did any of you see the solar eclipse?

May 31, 2012

We all ran outside eagerly to try and see the solar eclipse last week, but in Michigan it happened when the sun was very low in the horizon.

Darn trees!

I got a pretty sunset picture out of it, but it only looks like the beginning of a solar eclipse if you squint and hope.

Did any of you get to see it very well?

Posted under Science Curriculum

Awesome Free Hovercraft Science Experiment

September 22, 2010

Looking for a fun science experiment?  Here’s a fun freebie offered by Supercharged Science.  Your kids build a miniature hovercraft out of an old CD and a water bottle – it’s pretty cool.  We’ve tried out a bunch of their freebies, and the kids really enjoy them. 

Why we like them:

  • They usually start with a fun experiment and Aurora Lipper, who does the teaching in the videos, gets the kids immediately involved doing something. 
  • She explains each step so they can follow along even without your help.  (Yay!  Keep a couple kids busy while you’re helping the others)
  • The parts required are usually household items you already have or can get easily.
  • And then she’ll introduce the science part during or after the equipment. 
  • It’s a great way to get the kids excited about science and then slip the teaching in while they’re distracted.

FYI – You do have to type in your email address to get their freebies. (No spam)  They give out a lot of quality, free experiment videos as advertising for their paid options.

What is your favorite homeschool science curriculum?  Share with other readers who are looking for ideas!

Posted under Science Curriculum

How to do a Homeschool Bird Unit Study This Fall.

October 21, 2009


Do you remember coating pine cones in peanut butter and bird seed, hanging them outside, and then pressing your nose against the back window waiting for the birds to come?

  1. Here’s another article with lots of easy bird feeder ideas and what birds eat what.
  2. A couple of years ago, we filled a few bird feeders, perched them on the railing of our deck and had a great time watching the birds come and go.  I was at a loss to figure out which birds were which until we checked out this great bird guide from the library that is perfect for beginners.  I love that it is organized by color, so when the kids saw a yellow bird, they would flip to that section in the book and then search for ‘our’ bird.
  3. Here are the ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ versions of the bird guide:

  4. Another amazing resource I just discovered is What  This site has so much bird information it can be overwhelming.  For a start, check out some of these links:


Do you have any fun bird-schooling stories or favorite bird study resources?  I’d love more ideas.  Thanks!

Posted under Science Curriculum, Science Websites

Flubber Science Experiment – The Best Kid’s Craft Video!

August 28, 2009


I posted a recipe for Flubber last year and we decided it would be a fun rainy day activity to do today.

(Especially, since the kids were moaning with boredom because they are grounded from the computer, the TV, AND all their basement toys – I’m tired of cleaning them up)

Here’s the recipe again:

Bowl #1 – Mix thoroughly

  • 1 cup white glue
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • food coloring (opt.)

Bowl #2 – mix thoroughly

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 t. Borax (20 Mule Team is one brand)

After mixing each bowl separately, mix them together.  It is amazingly cool as a polymer is formed.   Read about the science behind the reaction here

Stir with a spoon, or for the more adventurous, mix with your hands.  Don’t quit, the gluey slime will suddenly harden into a great cross between slime and silly putty.

Even the baby can enjoy Flubber, just make sure he doesnt’ eat it.


Posted under Homeschool Crafts, Science Curriculum

Potted Plants – Fun and Responsibility for Kids – Tuesday Tips

July 7, 2009


If you’re looking for a project to get your kids outside, teach some responsibility and science, try a tomato plant!

I normally dread my kids seeing commercials on TV, but when my 6-year-old begged for a ‘Topsy-Turvy Tomato planter, I was intrigued.  It’s a hanging sack that holds the tomato roots and potting soil, while the plant itself grows out of the bottom of the sack, in the air and off the ground.

What a great homeschool project!

We quickly figured out you can do the same thing by cutting a hole in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket.  We gathered 4 buckets, each kid chose a plant, and the buckets are now hanging from a couple of 2 x 4’s suspended between the slide structure and our fence.  One of the kids chose a zucchini plant.  Who knew they could all grow upside down?


Each child is responsible for watering, fertilizing, and . . . picking and eating the produce – the best part.  It’s a fun introduction to responsibility, work, and its rewards.  Not to mention a good precurser to getting a pet.  If they can’t keep their tomato plant alive and watered, they aren’t ready for a pet.

Did you find something that worked well for you this week?  Share your tips with the rest of us!

Posted under Science Curriculum, Tuesday Tips

Online Reading, Writing, Science Curriculum Free May 4th – 8th!

April 23, 2009


Looking for some online literacy and science curriculums?

Learning A-Z is having a free trial week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you’re investigating literacy resources, this is a good time to check them out.

They offer the following:

  • Free all week long:  A collection of online books kids can choose, listen to, read along, or read on their own for $60/yr.  (Raz-Kids won Learning Magazine 2009 Teacher’s Choice Award for the Family)
  • Free on May 4th:  Reading A-Z: Everything you need to teach reading including phonics, leveled readers, lessons, worksheets, etc. for $85/yr.
  • Free on May 5th:  Science A-Z: A K-6 science curriculum with lessons, experiments, worksheets, etc. for $60/yr.
  • Free on May 6th:  Writing A-Z: Writing resources including research packets, mini-books, story cards, writing prompts, lessons, etc. for $30/yr.
  • Free on May 7th:  Vocabulary A-Z: After building your word list, a lesson generator will give you a week’s worth of lessons, activities, games, and a graphic organizer.  $30/yr.
  • Free on May 8th:  Reading-Tutors:  If you need tutor lesson plans, this site offers 450 complete tutoring packets with lesson plans, games, activities, etc. for $60/yr.

[tags]reading, writing, phonics, science, homeschool, printables, worksheets, lessons, learning, teachers, websites, review, free [tags]

Posted under Language Art Websites, Reading Curriculum, Science Curriculum, Writing Curriculum

Is Chemistry Confusing You? Try Chem4Kids.

March 13, 2009

test_tubes_sWould you like to see a picture of crystalline iron found only in meteorites?  Check out these real word examples of elements on Chem4Kids website – a site dedicated to helping teach chemistry concepts to kids.

Here is some of what Chem4Kids has:

Enjoy browsing their site!

As always, though, I think science for kids is best experienced first hand with experiments.  Do you have any good ‘kitchen table’ chemistry ideas?

Posted under Science Curriculum, Science Websites

Looking for Answers to Your Homeschooling Nature Questions?

February 25, 2009

Isn’t this a great picture of an ‘E-fant’?  (my 3-year-old’s favorite animal)  Learning about animals is a favorite part of early education and teaches children science, reading, comprehension, and lots more.

Check out Exploring Nature, a great natural science website with:

Much of the site is free, but there is also a nominal $25/yr to access some of their member only resources.  Enjoy!

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Posted under Science Curriculum, Science Websites