Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell

            When the baby owls wake up in the middle of the night, their mother is gone!  The babies are scared, where could she be? 

Materials

  • A good picture of an owl that shows detail (calendar, internet, natural magazine)
  • Bag of colored feathers
  • Owl head pattern for paper bag puppet
  • Paper lunch sack, one per child
  • Cut out a large tree with several branches.  Cut out three leaves per child.
  • Grocery list or flyers
  • Snapping clothes pins, several
  • Box of large paper clips
  • Several hoola hoops or string circles

Vocabulary

  • Beak (the mouth of a bird)
  • Brave (to show courage even when you are afraid or nervous)
  • Owlet (a baby owl)
  • Talons (the hooked claws found on the owls feet)

Before Reading the Story

            Show the children the cover of the book.  Does anyone know the name of this kind of bird? Ask them if they can tell what time of day it is.  Look at the baby owl’s eyes.  How do you think they feel?  They look scared.  What do you think made them afraid?

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Reading the Story

            Read adding inflection so the children can hear a bit of fear in your voice.  Encourage the children to say Bill’s line with him, “I want my Mommy!” 

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest in reading related activities, such as asking to have a favorite book read;choosing to look at books; drawing pictures based on stories; asking to take books home; going to the library; and engaging in pretend reading with other children.

After Reading the Book

            Lead a discussion into ‘being afraid’.  Have you ever been afraid?  What did you do?  Do you know what it means to be brave?  Think of a time when you were brave (I got a shot and didn’t cry, My Dad took the wheels off my bicycle and told me to ride on only two, The dog came in my yard and I was outside). 

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied spoken vocabulary.

Discovery

            Find a detailed picture of an owl.  Talk with the children about the picture.  Look at the owl’s eyes, why do you think they are so big (to be able to see at night), Did you know owls cannot move their eyes, they have to turn their heads.   Look at the owls’ beak, why do you think it is so sharp? (To eat meat)  What do we use to eat meat?  Look at the owl’s feet, why do you think their nails are so sharp?  Their feet are called talons.  Continue to look at the owl and see if the children can compare owls to people and how they are alike and different. 

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Music and Movement

            Put several hoola hoops on the floor.  Each hoop should be able to hold several children.  Have the children practice flying and swooping from one hoop to the next.  Make sure you practice woo, wooing also.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Teach the poem, Wide-Eyed Owl

Wide-Eyed Owl

Here’s a wide-eyed owl

With a pointed beak

And claws upon his toes.

He lives up high in the tree.

He turns his head to look at me.

He flaps his wings

And says whoo,whoo,whoo.

(Act out accordingly)

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Blocks

            The owl family lived in a tree in the forest.  Encourage the children to recreate the forest by standing many varied blocks up on end.  Can they stack one upon the other, can they stack three?

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Art

            Use the owl head and glue it to a paper lunch sack.  Put out many colored feathers and let the children glue them on to the bag to make an owl puppet.  For a less structured art project, just put out the feathers and let the children make a feather collage. 

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

            With sand in table, add many small animal counters or small items.  Show the children how to open the clothespins and grab an animal.  Put a small basket beside the table and the children can move the animals they “catch with their owl beak” and put them in the basket. 

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors,l paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Library and Writing

            Ask the child to take a leaf and write their name on it.  Then add a piece of tape and give the child a positional direction of where to tape it to the tree. (Put your leaf under a branch, at the top of the tree, next to Kerry’s leaf, on the left side of the tree).

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name. AND Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, behind.

Dramatic Play

            Put grocery lists and grocery fliers into the center and encourage the children to pretend that they are getting ready to go to the grocery store.  Will the baby dolls go with to the store or will they stay at home?  Who will they stay home with?  Ask the children if their parents have ever left home without them.  Did someone come to stay with you?  Who?  What did you do? 

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Math and Manipulatives

            Have the children count out 8 paperclips.  Tell them that these are the talons for their owl puppet.  Have them slip them onto the bottom of the paper bag and count as they put them on. 

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Outdoor Play

            Tell the children that they are going to be owl families.  Pick several children to be the owlets.  They must stay together while their parents go to gather food for them.  Have the parent owls’ swoop around the playground picking up sticks (mice and snakes) to bring back to their babies to eat.  The babies can hoot while they wait for their parents. 

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Transitions

            Give each child a colored feather.  Have them use the feather to find something else in the room that is the same color.  They can fly around the room looking for objects.   After a short amount of time they can gather back at the carpet.  As they go off to the next activity they can tell you the color name of their objects, the names of the objects themselves, and how many objects they were able to find.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops an increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem. AND Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Dear Parent-

            Today we talked about owls.  Go for a walk with your child and look for other kinds of birds that are in your neighborhood.  Teach your child the names of one or two of these bird species and how to identify them (That’s a cardinal, he is red all over.  That’s a Robin Red Breast because his belly and breast area are the color red).

Resources

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.