This week's Saturday Science is based on an activity by the Bake at 350 blog, with some added family learning inspiration from our science educator, Becky Wolfe. For more on bird nests, read Becky's latest blog about nests found in our collection.
To get into the springtime spirit, try building your own (yummy!) nest.
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups dry chow mein noodles
- small candies, jelly beans, or m&m's.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Over low heat, melt the marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan.
- Once melted, stir in the vanilla, then the chow mein noodles.
- Coat your hands liberally with shortening, (butter doesn't work as well) and have some nearby for re-coating.
- Grab a clump of noodles smaller than a tennis ball and larger than a golf ball. Form into a ball while pressed your thumbs into the middle, forming a nest.
- Allow the nests to cool, then fill with with the candy of your choice.
Extend the Family Learning
Observing a bird nest can be a fascinating way to learn more about birds, even more fun if you are able to watch the birds hatch! Around your yard, look carefully where branches meet or under large overhangs. You might even consider a bluebird box or wren house for your hard to encourage birds to make a home.
While observing your bird nest, it’s best to leave the nest where it was built and observe from a distance. As good stewards of our environment, it’s important to make sure that migratory birds have places to build a nest. Last year, a mallard duck made a nest in our family’s yard. My daughter and I watched carefully, making sure we didn’t startle the duck or get too close. We were so excited when the eggs hatched, and it was such a great moment for me to teach my little one about nature!
How might you build a nest if you were a bird? Where would you want to build it? High in the tree or under branches? Would it be big, or a small, cozy kind of nest? What materials would you use from your yard?
Keep your eyes open this summer, maybe you will have a front row seat to a birds nest!