Friday, March 25, 2011
Cookie Bird's Nest Snacktivity for Children
After driving all over town, the day before, to spot our first robin of the season, we spotted one right from our own kitchen table, yesterday (and yes, our neighbor's house is really that close, but he's a very nice older gentleman, so it's okay).
If we're understanding Stan Tekiela's photos and descriptions from his Birds of Montana Field Guide, then both birds we saw, with their bright breasts, and black heads, are males. Mr. Tekiela has state specific bird guides for most, if not all, of the other states, as well, and I highly recommend them for beginning birders.
We thought our robin looked as though he was scouting for a good nesting sight. This would make sense, since according to Robins by Sharon Sharth, our story time read last night (a good non-fiction look at robins, for younger children), the males show up slightly before their mates, to do just that. They are also very territorial, and often return to the same area year after year. So, we might have seen this guy last year, too.
Our salt dough nests weren't quite dry enough to paint, so we had a build-your-own nest snacktivity to go along with our story, instead.
I made up a batch of chocolate sugar cookie dough (just regular sugar cookie dough, with 1/4 cup of baker's cocoa added in), and rolled it out as thin as I could, on wax paper.
Then, I transferred the entire, rolled out batch, to a greased cookie sheet...
...used a pizza cutter to cut it into sticks...
...which I baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes, and then cut apart again, while they were still warm.
Once, they had cooled, I gave a few to each child, with some peanut butter frosting (2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, and about 4 tablespoons of milk), to make nests with.
My original thinking was for them to stack the cookie sticks, dabbing frosting "mud" between them, to hold them together. But, that proved difficult...
...so instead, I placed a little "bowl" of frosting on each of their plates, for them to stick the cookies onto, pretty much like we had made the salt dough nests.
It was a little more frosting than I knew they'd eat, they just pulled the cookies back out, and scraped the extra frosting to the side. But, the nests were a lot of fun to make, and gave us a fresh appreciation for the amazing work birds do building real nests - without hands, even.
It's great to be a homeschooler.