Indoor Birdwatching – Invite Nature Learning & Curiosity

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Do you have a little bird-lover in your family?  Want a fun way to nourish that interest with an invitation to quiet nature learning and play?

We have a bird enthusiast in our family and I’m going to share with you how we set up an indoor bird watching station so our daughter could enjoy the birds even when she was stuck inside the house.

This indoor bird watching station is one of many indoor nature activity ideas that we do with our kids.  Sometimes kids just can’t be outdoors whether it’s health reasons, scheduling, weather, or now, after the winter of 2020, world pandemics! 

Whatever the reason, kids can still interact with and learn to appreciate nature even if they aren’t immersed in the natural world at the moment.

a child drawing birds in their nature journal

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How to make an indoor birdwatching station

1.  Find the best location in your home

An indoor birding spot is simply that: somewhere inside that you can watch outside.  Ideally, your view would include some trees, tall grasses, or structure that birds tend to frequent.  If possible, and if seasonally appropriate, you could even hang up a bird feeder or bird house outside the window you chose.

Check out this post to learn more on attracting birds in the winter to your backyard.

There should also be space by the window for a chair or cushion and possibly a small table.

A pair of binoculars and a bird guide sitting on an indoor window ledge
A bird book and a pair of binoculars… all you need!

2.  Set up birding supplies

We used a small table to hold our daughter’s favourite bird guide, her notebook where she records her findings, a few pencils, and her many binoculars (both homemade and real!).

Because the optimal spot was in front of our large patio doors, we put down a floor pillow for added comfort.  My daughter has asked that we even set up a play tent inside by the window so she can hide in it to watch the birds.

This is our little indoor birdwatching station for the kids
Our little indoor birdwatching setup

You might choose to put birding supplies into a basket or onto a nearby shelf.  Sometimes just leaving a pair of binoculars on the window ledge is enough of an invitation for kids to stand and use them.

3.  Watch and wait

If you’ve ever done any birdwatching, you’ll know that patience is a necessary skill.  If you and your children watch from the same location frequently, you may start to notice patterns and learn the best times to spot birds.

You can encourage your child to draw the birds they see or to try to look them up in a bird guide book.  Or, you could use the indoor birdwatching spot simply as an invitation to play and see what happens.

how to set up an indoor bird watching station to encourage nature exploration
My daughter ‘working’ at bird watching

4.  Best bird guides for kids:

I’ll admit that when my daughter could not read or write yet, it didn’t stop her from spending hours looking at her bird books and writing in her notebook.

Once on a camping trip, she spent the entire weekend biking around with her bird guide in her bike basket, and her binoculars around her neck.  She had all the older ladies at the campsite believing she was both an avid reader and birder!

So, I don’t think there’s really one book that’s going to be better than another as long as there are lots of pictures and your child is interested in the book itself. You might want to get a few from the local library and see which your family enjoys most…. a few good picture story books would help too.

Below are our two favorite birding guides:


Sometimes parents feel they must get their kids outside to foster a love of nature, but simple indoor activities can be helpful too for sparking curiosity and interest.  This curiosity can then be expanded upon when they do get outside to play and explore.  Here’s a list of easy indoor nature activities for kids if you need a few ideas for bringing more nature play into the home and you can also join the Take Them Outside Weekly for a mini kick in the butt to get you and your kids connecting more with nature around you.

Looking for other reads and nature activity ideas?

a girl using children's binoculars to do some indoor birdwatching
How to make an indoor birdwatching spot for kids. Help encourage an interest and love in nature | #birds #natureforkids #activitiesforkids #invitationtolearn
Want to encourage a greater love of nature in kids? Try making an indoor birdwatching spot | #nature #activitieforkids #birdwatching #natureactivities
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8 comments

    1. Yes, those kitties can get themselves in a little bit of trouble out in the garden, can’t they? 😉 Thanks for visiting and for hosting:)

  1. This is a great idea, much healthier than looking at a computer screen! I love birding and am always thrilled when I see a new bird that I need to identify!

    1. Yes, I agree. I was surprised at how excited my girls get when I periodically set this up for them. I agree, I find I’m even sitting there too, watching the birds and trying to find them in the book:)

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