In the past few weeks the birds outside my window have been very busy, chirping to each other, looking for bugs and worms in the muddy earth and building nests. They are everywhere all of the sudden, and I love it.
Last year we learned about constellations and geography by decorating eggs, so this year, ornithology seemed like the logical next step.
From life studies...
... to simple silhouettes...
... learn all about your favorite feathered friends and make a few heirloom eggs while you're at it!
Eggs for Ornithology:
Whether you make simple silhouettes or more detailed study drawings this project can work well for a large variety of ages as well as provide a great opportunity to learn about your favorite birds with your favorite little ornithologists!
After tracing a few bird silhouettes from bird books and found images, I cut out the shapes and used them as templates to make some DIY stickers. Normally I would just print them out onto sticky label sheets for the printer, but these don't hold up in the water and vinegar for the dye (and also, I rarely have that kind of paper on hand). So, I used what I always have on hand: masking tape and parchment paper.
If you lay strips of masking tape (slightly overlapped) onto a piece of parchment paper you essentially have one large sticker, which is exactly what I wanted. After tracing around a number of bird shapes using my templates, I cut them out. You can do this with an X-acto knife (parents only) or with a small pair of scissors.
Once you have your shapes you can decide if you would like to make simple negative silhouettes, positive silhouettes in a cameo frame, or full color life studies in a cameo frame. For all variations, start with clean and dry blown out white eggs, your homemade bird stickers and egg dyes.
Place your homemade sticker on your egg and make sure it is well attached, especially around the edges of the sticker. Submerge in a dye color of your choice until it reaches the color you like. Dry it off and remove the sticker. You should have a white silhouette of a bird (see images above)
Positive Silhouette in Cameo Frame:
Submerge an egg in dye leaving the top face above the liquid. Hold down until it reaches the color you like, and then remove and dry. I like the way it looks when there is a little color variation around the edge of the oval frame so I dipped most of my cameo eggs in two colors (see chickadee egg above where I dipped it in yellow first and then in blue so the egg is green with a little yellow around the edge).
Once you have your cameo frame place one of your stickers in the center of the white space and trace around it with a pencil. Remove the sticker and paint inside the lines you drew to block in the silhouette (see red cardinal egg above).
Full Color Bird Studies:
Follow the same instructions for the Positive Silhouette above, but instead of coloring in the shape with one color, use a bird guide book to help you copy the real life coloration of your favorite birds.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Spring Theater