In many ways every child is born a scientist—exploring their world, leading small experiments, asking questions, searching for answers. That innate curiosity and drive to inquiry is what Rachel Carson, the groundbreaking conservationist and author, called a sense of wonder. “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement,” she wrote. “It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.”
This page aims to bring together activities from across Audubon’s national network of environmental educators, including the classroom curriculum Audubon Adventures, plus related DIY activities and content from Audubon’s editors. These activities can be done at home or in a yard or park, sometimes with the help of a computer. The goal isn’t to teach a child how to name and identify bird species, but rather to give them space to explore and feel connected to the natural world. If you’re a parent or caretaker, that means you don’t need to worry about your own knowledge of birds or plants. All you need to be is a companion to your child’s curiosity.
“If a child is to keep their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in,” Rachel Carson wrote in 1956. We hope these lessons, which we’ll refresh each week with a new theme, will help you you find awe and inspiration in nature together. Disponible en Español: ¡Audubon para niños!
the layer of gases that surround Earth
temporary atmospheric conditions. Examples: snowstorms and blizzards, rainy days, hot days, cold days, hurricanes, and tornadoes
the general weather in an area over many years. While some places may still experience cold weather, the overall climate on Earth is getting warmer
energy sources that come from coal, oil, and natural gas. When we burn fossil fuels for energy, we add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
Like a greenhouse, these gases trap heat from the sun. Too many greenhouse gases cause Earth’s climate to get too warm
a greenhouse gas released when we burn fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere and warms the planet
a bird with pointed wings and a short bill that searches for food along the shore
the area next to a body of water, such as a sea or lake
a bird’s nest that is a hollowed-out place in the sand
a small creature with a tough shell that live on beaches, usually in washed-up seaweed, and hop like fleas; also called sand hopper, sand flea, beach flea
a hill of sand formed by wind near an ocean or large lake
coloring and patterns that make an animal or object blend in with its surroundings
the relationships among a group of living things based on the flow of energy from food
an animal that hunts other animals for food
an animal that is hunted by another animal for food
a type of bird, such as an eagle or a hawk, that has a strong beak and sharp talons for catching live prey
a young owl
a community of plants and animals interacting with each other and their environment
About 1 flap per second
Quiz yourself on the favorite foods of these North American birds!
Click on a songbird's photo to see its name and what it eats on the back.
Dark-eyed Junco: Searches the ground for insects in summer and seeds in winter.
Northern Cardinal: Eats most kinds of seeds, insects, berries, and wild fruit—and even flowers!
Blue Jay: Eats many nuts, seeds, fruit, and insects. Stores acorns in holes in the ground.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: Pecks at tree bark to feed on sap. Also finds ants and other insects.
Lesser Goldfinch: Mostly seeds, especially from the daisy family. Eats a few insects.
Mountain Chickadee: Hunts for insects high in treetops. Also eats seeds and berries.
Yellow-rumped Warbler: Seeks insects in foliage or catches them in midair. Eats berries, too.
Baltimore Oriole: Insects, berries, nectar. Will even eat the hairy caterpillars!
Every year in spring and fall, millions of birds migrate, taking to the air to travel between their summer and winter homes. It’s a relatively short trip for some. Others travel thousands of miles, sometimes flying for days without landing. Different birds use different skills to get where they need to go. Some learn from their parents. Others use landmarks, sound, the sun and stars, or Earth’s magnetic field to find their way.
No matter where you live, birds migrate through or to your neighborhood. They may stay for a short time, stopping to rest and refuel on their way to someplace else. Or your neighborhood may be the destination for certain species, where they will nest and raise their young in spring and summer, or pass the cold months of fall and winter in a warmer climate.
to relocate from one habitat to another in a regular cycle
the route birds follow as they migrate
a place in which an organism is normally able to find the resources it needs for survival
a place where migratory animals spend time during their migration
to find the way from one place to another
the natural behavior of an animal in response to environmental factors or other influences
a characteristic that helps identify a bird, such as color, color pattern, size, tail shape, leg length, size and shape of beak, kind of feet, and so on
wild animals living in nature
a group of plants or animals that share certain characteristics and are able to breed and reproduce their own kind
the condition of having many different kinds of things, such as people, plants, and animals
the hard, horny part of a bird’s mouth; also called bill
for birds, to settle down to rest or sleep; a place where birds settle down to rest or sleep