Cincinnati Nature Center Blog

At Home with Nature: Nest Building (Ages 2-5)

Children can have lots of fun mimicking the creativity of birds and building with natural objects!

You’ll need: A nature space to find building materials and an “egg” (a stone, pinecone, or other egg-shaped object)

Optional extras: Tools like small shovels and bowls

Collect building materials from nature. What do you think a bird would use to build a nest? Try out sticks, leaves, and mud. Giving children the space to choose their own materials helps to build autonomy and support their development. 

Find a nice spot to build a nest and start creating. Make sure it’s sturdy!

Find a rock or other egg-shaped natural object that you can use to test your nest. Place it in the nest, and see if it rolls out! If it does, keep building your nest until it holds the “egg” safety.

To make it even trickier, balance your nest in low branches of a tree or bush. Keep the fun going by building different nests with new materials! Which materials work best?

Building like a bird helps to develop children’s empathy for animals and engages their creativity.

To further extend this activity: 

Listen to a reading of Bluebird’s Nest here, or watch a relaxing time-lapse of a hummingbird making her nest here for some inspiration!