Crank up everyone’s imagination with this activity for kids ages 5 and up. Younger children can dictate their own stories, while older ones can write and illustrate theirs. You’ll need writing paper, drawing paper, pencils for writing, and colored pencils or crayons for drawing.
1. Start by reading Rockie’s Sagebrush Adventures together. Produced by Audubon Rockies, this illustrated book tells the story of a young Burrowing Owl born in the sagebrush ecosystem of the western United States. There’s lots of information here about Burrowing Owls, this unique habitat, and the other animals that live there.
2. Suggest that your child or children create their own book about what happens when a kid like them meets an owl in their own neighborhood. The story will take place nearby, in your own yard, street, park, or familiar place nearby. Imagining an owl doing owlish and surprising things in familiar places will add a lot of fun to the storytelling.
3. Here are some story starters to help get the creative juices flowing. You may choose to use one of these or make up your own. Encourage children to carry on once they get a story going.
- One day just as the sun was going down, I looked outside and saw an owl land on ___________. It was ___________ and ___________.
- My friend and I were out for a walk at night when an owl ___________________. We were so ____________! Then, ___________________.
- A _____________ owl was flying silently in front of my _____________ when suddenly ________________.
- An owl came to my window. I said, ____________________________.
4. Continue with the story until the end, with you taking dictation or kids writing it themselves, depending on age and skills.
5. Once the story is finished, it’s time for illustrations. Let children draw as many pictures for their story as they wish. Finally, ask them to give their story a title and make a cover to make it a book.
6. Put the pages together and share the book with friends and family. Send a photo of your finished book to firstname.lastname@example.org, and post it on Twitter using the hashtag #kidsart and tagging @audubonsociety.
Bonus: To keep the fun going, children can write and illustrate stories about other birds and other animals they see in their neighborhood. They can make a library of animal stories!
Audubon Adventures is an environmental science curriculum, developed by professional educators, that presents standards-based science content about birds and their habitats. It includes four-page magazines (in PDF format) just for kids with lively content, illustrations, and photographs on a variety of topics. Explore more activities, games, and lessons about birds and nature at the Audubon Adventures website.