Nature activities for kids during Covid-19

Are your kids sheltering-in-place at home because of the Covid-19 epidemic? Enjoy these fun projects to learn about birds and nature at home and in your neighborhood, prepared by our Eco-Education team.

These activities are geared primarily towards elementary school-aged children, and incorporate STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) and language arts skills, as well as direct observations of nature and outdoor activities. They are available in English and Spanish.

In English:

Bird Detective – explore birds in your neighborhood

Anna’s Hummingbird by Bob Gunderson

Listening Bingo  – what sounds do you hear in your neighborhood?

Hummingbird Story Packet – read and discuss an Ohlone folktale about hummingbirds

Hummingbird Math – do hummingbird hearts beat faster than yours?

Make A Hummingbird – all you need are scissors, crayons, and tape or glue

How to Help Birds – ways your family can help birds and their S.F. Bay habitat

En Español:

Bird Detective (Detective de Aves) – Spanish

Listening Bingo (Bingo de Escuchar) – Spanish

Hummingbird Math (Matemática del Colibrí)  – Spanish

How to Help Birds (Diez Maneras de Ayudar las Aves) – Spanish

Other ideas: 

Our Osprey NestCam offers live streaming views of an active Osprey nest along the Richmond shoreline. Watch with your family and talk about what you see the Ospreys doing, and why you think they’re doing it. You can also join our free Osprey chat group to ask questions and share your reactions. Our Osprey web site has free downloadable lesson plans for grades 6-12, which you may be able to simplify and adapt for younger children. (Yes, you may download these even if you’re not a teacher — just write “Covid” in the space where it asks for your school!) 

National Audubon Society offers a wide range of activities for children and families, from online bird drawing lessons to tips for observing city pigeons. See audubon.org/get-outside/activities/audubon-for-kids. 

Put up a bird feeder in your yard. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has information on how to get started. Then download the free Merlin app or go to allaboutbirds.org to identify and learn about the species you’re attracting. 

And here’s a short video about outdoor nature activities with kids by our friend Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro. This was created before the epidemic, but can help when your family is feeling housebound now.