Owls hunt for food at night and sleep during the day.
Owls. They're mysterious. They're nocturnal. They hoot. They can turn their heads almost all the way around. Many preschoolers are fascinated by owls, and if your child is one of them, he probably wants to know more. Do more than merely tell him about owls. Do some hands-on activities that teach your child more. You'll both realize that owls are even more fascinating than you had previously thought.
1Read picture books that feature owls. Try "Baby Owl's Rescue" by Jennifer Keats Curtis, which is a tale about two children who find a baby owl in their backyard. As you read, ask your child questions such as, "What does the owl have all over his body?" (Feathers.) Or, "Are great horned owls supposed to live in peoples' backyards?" (Usually, they live in areas that have open fields for hunting.) Quizzing your child introduces him to new owl facts. Read "The Barn Owls" by Tony Johnston or "Little Hoot" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. As you read, ask "When do owls sleep?" (During the day.) What do they eat?" (Small rodents like field mice, insects and fish, but great horned owls can eat a fox.) "Where do they live?" (Great horned owls live in trees, snowy owls nest on top of large boulders and barn owls live in closed-in spaces, like barns.)
2Do crafts with your preschooler. These crafts are entertaining, but they'll also teach him new facts about owls. Fold a piece of white printer paper into an airplane shape. Turn the paper so the short side is at the top. Fold the top corners down, turn the paper over and fold it down the middle. Let your child decorate the airplane with owl features, such as feathers and eyes. As your child flies his plane, talk about how owls fly as silently as the paper does. Draw the outline of an owl on a piece of cardboard from a shoe or cereal box. Cut it out. Ask your preschooler to glue googly eyes and craft feathers onto the owl outline. Cut a beak and claws from yellow colored paper and help your child glue them to the right spots on his owl. Ask your preschooler, "Why does an owl have sharp claws?" (To catch his prey.) Or,"Why is his beak so sharp?" (To eat his food.)
3Pretend to be an owl. Role-playing teaches your preschooler how owls move, what sounds they make and how they hunt for food. Flap your arms like wings and hoot. Take on the role of the owl mommy and let your child be the owl baby. Call him your Little Owlet. Turn off the lights to mimic how dark it is when owls hunt for their food. Ask him, "Do you think it's hard for owls to find food when it's dark?" (No, because owls have extraordinary hearing that enables them to track their pray.)
4Take your child to a zoo so that he can see an owl up close. Show him the similarities and differences between types of owls. Barn owls have brown wings and snowy owls have white wings. Great horned owls have feathers that look like huge ears perched on top of their heads. Ask your child to point out anything he notices about the different species, too. Wait until dark and take your child outside. Barn owls live in populated areas, and your child just might see one nesting. You might happen to see a snowy owl. They've been spotted in the lower 48 states, as they migrate south looking for food, which has become scarce in their native Arctic habitat.
Things You'll Need
- Owl picture books
- White printer paper
- Shoe box
- Black marker
- White craft glue
- Googly eyes
- Craft feathers
- Yellow construction paper