This afternoon we spent some time talking about owl homes. I created a set of cards that show six types of owls (that are all residents of where we live in Northern California) and then six corresponding cards that show one of the places that these owls live/nest.
Materials Needed: An imagination :), a set of owl cards, and some painters tape.
1. Start by deciding where you want to place your cards. We tried to put ours in locations that somewhat represent the home of the owl... so that we could remember them better. For example, we put the burrowing owl and the burrow (it's home) underneath or by our table. My son helped me tape the cards... and while we moved around we talked about each type of owl and their corresponding homes.
2. Start hunting for homes! Choose one owl to start with and say the owl's name... and then give your child clues about where the owl lives. You can also hint that the paper border color matches... so for example the barn owl card has a blue border... and the barn owl home card (barn owls nest in cavities) also has a blue border.
3. We flapped our wings as we went from the owl to the owl's home... and pretended we were owls.
4. As we got to each card that showed the owl home, we talked about our favorite things in each picture... my son LOVED the little baby barn owls hiding in the "cavities"
I tried to pair a physical action with each owl/owl home.
Burrowing owl- we burrowed under the table to the burrow.
Long-eared owl- we made long ears with our arms
When we got to the long-eared owl's home (they live in coniferous trees), we talked about coniferous trees and got to hold pine cones.
Short-eared owl- we made short ears with our hands
The short-eared owl builds nests on the ground in the prairie or grasses... so we worked on building our nests on the ground and then lying in them!
Screech owls- we screeched as we flew from the owl to the owl's home in the hole of a big old tree.
Mostly, my little guy helped me come up with different actions for each home or owl as we talked about them. It was a lot of fun and definitely was perfect for my son because he is so excited about owls right now.
This activity really introduced a lot of new vocabulary words... some of which are pretty advanced for a 2 year-old, but I've found that when you expose kids to bigger words that are unfamiliar, they are more likely to actually latch onto them and remember them, because they sound cooler and different than words we normally use... and if you provide a context for the word, pair it with an action and a visual and possibly a tangible objects... you are even more likely to solidify the definition in their mind.