Do you have a birdfeeder? Do you watch the birds at it with your pre-school children? Talk to them about the birds. Ask them questions: what colour is that bird? How many birds are there? Count them together. Are those two birds the same, or different? Why are they different? What are those birds doing? What do you think the birds are thinking about? Are they happy? Are they afraid? Are they hungry? What do these birds like to eat?
These kinds of conversations with your children happen every day. They’re part of how those little minds learn and grow.
At the library, we have children’s books about birds. Some, like Have You Seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrator Barbara Reid, are books you can read aloud to pre-schoolers or which a beginning reader can read to you. Oppenheim’s rhymes and Reid’s famous plasticine illustrations make it great for bedtime storytime. Other books, like Look Up: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate, are books you can read with a school-age child or which your older child can explore alone. Look Up has loads of scientific facts presented in an engaging, conversational way, with cheerful, chatty illustrations that manage to be cartoony sketches while preserving the essential details necessary for scientific accuracy in the species portrayed. It also has a bibliography to guide you to more detailed reference books, and an index, making this book a great resource for finding specific information as well as something to read cover to cover to learn about birds and bird-watching.