The bluebird has a coat of Blue,
The robin wears a vest of Red;
The chickadee is speckled Brown,
The crow is Black from tail to head.
(Such a sweet little verse to help with teaching colors.)
Today I’m sharing a very simple recipe you can do with the children to make Springtime Bird Cookies. It can be hard to find ways to include children in the kitchen and also inspire a love for getting outside. With the weather warming up a bit, this activity can be done in under one hour (including hanging them up outside) using things already on-hand in your pantry. And, once you get the children outside to hang up their cookies for the birds, they will be all ready to continue playing in the beautiful fresh air.
Have the children put on their aprons and tell them a simple story of the birds in the backyard of your home or school as you make your bird cookies together.
Below is an idea of how to storytell during this activity.. but please add your own voice and ideas as you work with the children. It must come from your heart and should not be scripted:
“Children, do you know that I heard such beautiful sounds coming from outside my window when the sun rose this morning in our backyard? Did you hear those beautiful little sounds also?
There were many sounds… all different but still the same.. they were just like little songs. First it came from one place.. and then I heard another a little different but the same, and then another..
Can you guess what was making those sounds that I heard?
(Give the children time to share ideas and really listen.)
It was all of the sweet little birds that live in our backyard!!
They are so very happy to feel the warm sunlight on their feathers again now that springtime has arrived. They are filled with gladness to live in this beautiful place and they are singing with joy. I feel happy to live here and share this space with you, just like those birds.
Many of the birds flew away this winter to keep warm. It can be hard to find food in the winter. Some of the birds stayed close in our backyard, but it was hard to keep their families warm and find enough food to eat. We are so lucky to be inside with blankets and food in the winter.
Today we are going to make the birds a special treat from us to show them how thankful we are that they chose us to be their neighbors. Let’s make them bird cookies and hang them up on a little tree for them to eat”..
Springtime Bird Cookie Recipe
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
(nothing bleached or enriched)
A Small Handful of Birdseed
A Sprinkle of Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup or Honey
(nothing with added flavors or artificial sugars)
Natural fiber yarn (no acrylics or synthetics)
Have the children help you mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. There is not really a wrong or right way to make these simple little cookies. A little extra or less of an ingredient really doesn’t matter much in the end. The important part is that you work together with joy and allow the children to do the work by imitating your actions.
When the dough reaches a good consistency, make one large ball or each child can roll a small ball of dough of their own.
Roll it flat. This would be a wonderful time for singing. Even a simple song such as “This is the way we roll the dough, roll the dough, roll the dough..”
For adults and older children, you can get very creative and make your own shapes. Here we made a bird and even a rooster by hand! You can also use cookie cutters. But quite simply, letting the children flatten their little balls and poke a hole in the center is really just as good.
Before baking, poke a hole through each cookie in a place that will not pull and rip through when hanging later.
Put cookies on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake on 175 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. You are really only cooking the egg a bit and firming up the dough. Don’t overcook it or overthink it.
Using a yarn needle, string your yarn through each cookie together. This is a wonderful task for children in Kindergarten and beyond. Also, please be sure whatever materials you use are natural and safe for animals and our environment.
Put on your coats and shoes and sing a song as you go outside. Ask the children where they would like to hang their cookies for the birds. As with most things, whenever possible let them do it themselves.
Then when you are done, find some meaningful work to do of your own outside and let them play. Nothing structured, nothing planned.. just natural, unhindered childhood play. Like it was and should be.
Happy Spring from Little Acorn Learning!