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Bookish Play – A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins

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Released about two years ago, A Busy Day for Birds is among my favorite books by Lucy Cousins (The other one being “Hooray for Fish!”). This is a perfect read-aloud book, considering its large print, vibrant illustrations and rhyming text.

Can you waddle like a penguin? Stand on one leg like a crane or hoot like an owl?

The sheer number of actions we performed as a group made this book a perfect pick to read out to a group of preschoolers. To complement the theme of the book, we spent the rest of the hour doing some fun bird themed activities.

Circle Time

Circle time is a fun way to bring out some popular rhymes, new rhymes and new twists to old favorites. Here are a few “bird” themed songs you can sing with your child –

  • 5 Little Ducks (went swimming one day)
  • Two Little Dicky Birds Sitting on a Wall
  • Naani Teri Morni
  • Old McDonald had a Farm (sing only about the birds – Chicken, Duck and we added a Woodpecker that goes Peck, Peck, Here…)

Bird Actions – Roll the Die Game

Every once in a while we include some games in class. This time, I made six different bird actions and inserted them into my foam die. Here are some actions you can encourage your child to do at home –

  1. Waddle like a Penguin
  2. Tweet Like a Bird
  3. Cluck like a Chicken
  4. Stand like a Flamingo
  5. Dance Like a Peacock
  6. Peck like a Woodpecker

Sensory & Fine Motor Play

My class consists of 1.5 to 3 year olds, so one of my biggest creative challenges is to come up with art and craft ideas that keep this age group engaged. More importantly, the skill level of the activity mustn’t frustrate the child.

The bird and bird nest we made wasn’t half as complicated as it looks.

Here is what you will need –

For the Bird

  1. Play dough in two different colours
  2. Coloured feather (Available in any local arts and craft shop)
  3. Googly eyes
  4. Pipe cleaners (One small red piece for the beak and two black pieces for the feet)


For the Nest

  1. One paper plate
  2. Brown Paint
  3. One Feather
  4. Shredded paper fillers (I tend to save the ones that we receive as gift packaging)


How to Make the Bird

  • Have the child roll the play dough into two separate balls
  • Pick any ball and encourage the child to poke the feathers into it. (Remember not to aim for perfection). This activity is essentially to help hone eye- hand coordination, attention span and fine motor skills.
  • This few steps may require some help from an adult – take the other ball and place the googly eyes to make a face.
  • For finishing touches, fold the small red pipe cleaner into half and poke it into the dough with the googly eyes to make a beak. Similarly, poke the black pipe cleaners into the base of the dough with the feathers.
  • You can use a toothpick to join both the balls together to create your bird!

Making the Nest

  • Pour out some brown paint in a bowl. And have your child paint the paper plate.

(To make tactile and sensory play more fun, save a feather from your pack and encourage your child to use it instead of a paintbrush)

  • Once the paint dries off, help your child squeeze out some glue on the plate. Make sure it’s well spread out.
  • Have the child put some shredded paper on the plate and press till it’s stuck. (Some free play with shredded paper is also a fun way to wait for the paint to try up on the plate).

Now you have a nest with twigs, and a home for your little bird!

Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are great ways to spike a child’s curiosity and imagination. Additionally, it provides unlimited opportunities of texture play that is known to build nerve connections that trigger a child’s inclination and ability to pursue complex learning. Language development, motor skills, social skills, problem solving, all get honed with sensory play.

Our bird-themed sensory bin consisted of –

  1. Pulses and grains from the kitchen
  2. A cinnamon stick (as a log)
  3. Plastic birds (available online and at toy stores)
  4. Smaller feathers

Let the child spend a few minutes familiarizing him or herself with all the items inside the bin. Talk about the items inside, encourage the child to touch them, pick them up, (maybe simulate a bird feeding), have them feel the feathers on their cheeks, palms and souls of their feet.

Happy Reading!

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