OWLS - BIRDS OF THE NIGHT

EXPERIENCES WITH THE ENVIRONMENT

Age range: from 3 years - Working time: Collect natural material and leave to dry: several days - craft activities: approximately 20 minutes (plan for additional drying time)

INTRODUCTION

Anyone who is outside in summer, or in the autumn in the evening when it is already dark, can hear and even see many nocturnal animals. For example, hedgehog, mice, insects, bats, owls and foxes look for food under cover of night. Such animals are particularly fascinating for children, who are usually asleep at this time because something mysterious surrounds them. You can make a connection with this interest and make owls with natural materials. Look at owls in books with children or visit a nearby bird park, to see the wild birds in nature. Talk to your children about the appearance of the birds: the large eyes, powerful beak and sharp claws. Go on a long excursion into the forest with your children to collect natural material. If the owls appear occupied, go into the forest to collect natural material.

With the children, pick up natural materials that are on the ground: pieces of bark, beech nuts, pine cones, maple seed etc. This can all be tucked away in baskets and taken away.

It is essential to tell children that they may only collect natural materials which are already on the floor. Bark, branches and twigs should not be torn from the trees! These wounds are ideal intrusion points for fungi. It can even be the case that the tree never recovers from this injury and dies off. If you explain this to the children, you encourage the small explorers to take a considerate, sensitive approach to nature.

Before creative work can be done with the natural material, you should let everything dry out well so that it does not decay or spoil.

Then the children can let their imagination run wild and experiment with the appearance of their owls. Here, there are considerations such as: what material is suitable for the eyes? How can I make the feet? Does my owl need ears?

Decorate the finished owls in your group room and look at the results again together: each one is different and unique!

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Pedagogic aims

  • Get more experience with nature: Get to know owls as wild animals (in books or in the bird park)
  • Collect natural materials
  • Stimulate the imagination: What fruit is suitable for the beak? What do I make the eyes with?
  • Encourage fine motor skills
  • Train hand-eye coordination
  • Increase endurance and concentration
  • Promote joy in creative design
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Material and resources

  • Natural materials such as bark pieces (from felled trees), acorns husks, beech husks, lantern plant husks, fir cones, pine cones, sycamore fruits (sycamore wings) etc.
  • Packaging string
  • Scissors
  • Two clothes pegs each for fixing

UHU WOOD GLUE

  • Stronger than wood
  • Transparent when dry
  • Ideal for internal applications
  • Paintable
  • Solvent-free

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Preparations

Sort the collected natural material and allow it to dry.

  • Do not keep in plastic bags; the material, which is usually still damp, decays easily.
  • Empty, stackable cardboard fruit boxes work very well as drying racks. 
  • Spread out the material in a single layer. Otherwise, spread the material on newspaper.
  • Do not dry natural material on radiators, it will become brittle and fragile quickly. Cut an 80 cm long wool thread.
  • Cut chenille wire into 15 cm long pieces.
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Step-by-step plan

Owls - Bird of the night

Step 1

Choose natural materials for the owl: body, two wings, two eyes, beak and possibly two claw feet. Set out wooden brackets, packaging string and UHU Wood Glue.

Owls-Bird of the night

Step 2

Stick the two pieces of bark which have been selected as the wings of the owl onto the reverse side of the owl body and fix each one with a clothes peg.

Owls-Bird of the night

Step 3

Also, stick on the packaging string as a hanger with wood glue. For optimal results, allow to dry overnight.

Owls-Bird of the night

Step 4

Turn the body over. Glue on the eyes, beak and, if applicable, the claw feet.

Eva Danner, Beate Vogel

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©2016 UHU GmbH & Co. KG, Bühl (Baden) and Elke Fox. Workstep photos: Eva Danner, Beate Vogel. Picture credits of the photos on page 5 see there. Editorial staff and other photos: Elke Fox.