Fall is a great season to get your kiddos out communing with nature. There is just so much going on here in the North East – leaves turning colors, birds traveling south, and temperatures dipping creating morning frosts.
Now some of our favorite folks at Downtown Bookworks and PBS Kids are introducing fun new kits to help you show the next generation how to study insects and birds up close this season.
My four and half year old and I got to take a bird watching hike in our village a couple of weeks ago. The PBS KIDS Look and Learn BIRDS gives you all the tools you need in one colorful box. Of course, my little guy could not wait to break out the bright blue child-sized binoculars. They were pretty adorable and fit his face perfectly so he could find birds high up in the tree branches.
I carefully removed the 64-page book that gave us the tips and pictures we needed to identify common birds. Also included in the box is a small, hand held laminated guide of common North American birds (perfect to pack in our bag whenever we are on the go) and a beautiful activity poster to hang in our kitchen. The poster is strategically placed near our big kitchen windows that faces our yard, garden and bird feeders. It’s truly a joy to find out how much my little boy can retain once we discussed the common characteristics of certain birds, such as their beak shape, size and color patterns.
I must admit that I am not particularly good at identifying birds myself. But this book gave me all the information I needed to provide a master class to my preschooler. It was just enough to give us a basic foundation, and then head over to the library or google if we needed anything more in depth information about a particular bird.
Coincidentally, we just visited Cornell University with my kids and my little bird watcher blew away the staff at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They were featuring a game where kids try to name the silhouette profiles of 10 different bird types — my 4 year-old knew them all in record time! Check out Merlin Bird ID, Cornell’s free app http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ to identify birds in your yard using your phone or iPad. The app lets you answer a couple of questions about what you observe and then gives you the bird’s name. Cool for all ages, and sort of addictive once you get into it.
Downtown Bookworks and PBS Kids is also introducing another title called PBS KIDS Look and Learn Insects. The kit includes a collapsible magnifier jar that gives kids an up-close look at insects they find. Other materials include a book, laminated quick guide and activity poster.
These kits make great gifts for kids. How awesome would it be for the grandparents to bring this on their next visit and spend the day learning about birds or insects alongside the littles? Priced at $19.99 and suggested for ages 4 on up, these kits really are perfect to pick up for those surprise occasions, like birthday parties. Available now, look for them on Amazon or Downtown Bookworks.
Jill was provided a sample for editorial purposes. Her opinions are her own.