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 something else.
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.
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. And, this post will show you how to make cute cookie cutter birdseed feeders so you can encourage those birds to come close to the windows.
There should also be space by the window for a chair or cushion and possibly a small table.
2. Set up birding supplies
We used a small table to hold our daughter’s favourite bird guides, 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.
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.
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.
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 Newsletter for a mini kick in the butt to get you and your kids connecting more with nature around you.