Winter Projects for Kids: Birds & Animals

woman hand feeding a chickadee landing on hand

Birdwatching for Kids

If boredom reigns on a cold day in winter, birdwatching is one of the many terrific winter projects for kids. After all, bare trees make it easier to spot birds!

This is a fun and rewarding activity for kids – no matter where you live or what time of the year, you can watch birds.

Why not make a journal of what you see? You can draw or take a photo record of what you spot.

TIP: Photography is a great STEM hobby for kids – see Choosing a Kid’s Camera if you are looking for a starter camera for young children.

We have a free logbook download below and some suggestions on birding gear for kids.

Free Download

Log Book for Kids

Keep track of what you have spotted and when, and make a drawing, or take a photo.

Bird Log for Kids

  • 30 Log pages that guide kids to record their important observations, both written and drawn!
  • An illustration of a Bird Body with all the parts labeled for easy identification
  • Common Words that the young Birder needs to know
  • Life List is included to record up to 32 different birds that you’ve seen!
  • 13 Photo/Art pages to paste a photo or do more artwork
  • Log Tips page for special hints on using this log and birding basics

Real Binoculars for Kids Gifts for 3-12 

  • Inexpensive
  • Available in many colors
  • Lightweight, kid size
  • 122ft/1000 yards focus, 8x magnification
  • Shockproof, durable polycarbonate plastic and rubber-armored exterior

Audubon Birding Adventures for Kids

  •  2021 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in Hands-On Science Longlist
    * 2021 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book 
  • The bird ID section includes descriptions and range maps.
  • 20 games and activities (ten indoor and ten outdoors)

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America

  • Photography and habitat snapshots
  • Fun facts
  • Guide to 50 of North America’s Birds
  • Tips on how to spot and attract
  • Mini profiles of another 100 birds

Backpack Explorer: Bird Watch: What Will You Find? 4+ Years

  • Leads kids aged four and up through the basics of birding, from identifying common birds to learning about habitat and migration and listening for bird songs.
  • Interactive field guides (for common birds, nests, eggs, tracks, and more), sensory scavenger hunts, activities such as building a bird nest, matching games, and simple discovery zone pages about food chains and birds’ life cycles.
  • Equipped with a real magnifying glass, stickers, and a birding log.

Bird Backpack

  • If you go birding with your bird-obsessed child, it’s more fun if they have their own tools (and they are more likely to take an interest in their own gear)
  • Doubles as a seat cushion
  • TIP: A backpack is great for having a spot for a journal, pencils/crayons, binoculars, field guide, water, and warmer clothes (toque, gloves, scarf) for a field trip, even if only in the backyard. Oh, and don’t forget that yummy snack!

Feeding Birds, Birdfeeders & Feed

It could be a fun family project to find out what birds live in your area and which ones you would like to attract.

For example, you can find books on Birds of California. There are even some local books on birds for your area; do a little searching or ask an expert (Google wild bird stores in your area).


Birds can be picky eaters! Some only eat suet, some only from platforms, some only from hanging feeders, and some prefer sunflowers while others prefer a variety.

We suggest checking out large farm supply stores, gardening centers, or bird supply stores to buy bird food. Often supply stores sell in large bulk but still provide quality for your friends. Some places even offer points systems and discounts for bulk orders.

But please remember – buy enough for the entire winter. Birds begin to depend on the food you provide.


There are many feeders out there – do a little reading or ask an expert. We have a few common suggestions below.

TIP: Hang a feeder as far from a tree trunk and limbs as you can. We use a very thin gauge wire, and so far, the squirrels haven’t been able to conquer it.

Some birds prefer types of suet.

Other birds prefer platform feeders.

Many birds like hanging feeders, ones like this squirrel proof one

There are even some neat window ones that you can watch indoors while keeping warm.

Heated Birdbaths

Birds will use melted snow in the winter, and by using a heated birdbath appropriately, you can supply water for drinking, bathing, and preening all winter.

Some birds will be attracted to your birdbath that won’t be interested in birdfeeders so you can encourage even more visitors this way.

dove on an icy fence in the winter

There are two main types of heated bird baths:

  • The easiest is a fully integrated bath with a built-in heater. They need to be plugged in and are made of materials that will survive the brutal freeze-thaw cycle
  • Immersion heaters can be added to existing birdbaths. But just be sure to use with a plastic or fiberglass style (not glass or concrete)

To Consider:

  • Do not use a concrete bird bath with a heater – the concrete will crack with the freeze-thaw cycle. It’s better to use plastic or fiberglass.
  • Choose a dark-colored bath so that it absorbs the sun’s rays and will be more visible to birds when there is snow. This will also reduce the electricity draw as the sun will help keep it warm.
  • Put the birdbath out at the first frost, and remove it in the spring with the first frost.
  • Most birds are intelligent enough to know not to use it in really cold weather.
  • Clean the bath regularly (you can soak it in vinegar, but always refill it with clean water)
  • Be sure to use a good quality OUTDOOR-rated extension cord and a cover for an outdoor electrical outlet so moisture doesn’t enter the outlet.
  • Keep the bath full of water – don’t let it run dry.
  • Don’t add anything to the water to prevent freezing or to keep it clean, as this will harm the birds.

Birdbath Examples

heated birdbath for outdoor

GESAIL 75W All Seasons Heated Bath

  • 75-Watts of power
  • Tested to -13° F (-25° C).
  • Powder coated finish will remain rust free
  • 14” diameter birdbath, holds 1 quart of water
  • Plastic basin lifts out easily for cleaning
  • Available in Green, Terra Cotta, Blue, Orange
  • 3 mounting options: Clamp, deck or ground

Birdbath De-Icer Immersion Style

  • -20C rated
  • 50/70 watt options
  • Easy to clean, durable enamel finish
  • This deicer has been tested & certified by MET Labs to exceed USA/CA electrical safety standards.
  • Includes a three-year limited manufacturer warranty


female snowy owl perched on a lamppost

Did you know some animals turn white in the winter? A great winter project for kids is to learn what animals have special winter behavior – especially locally.

Some areas have special winter guests, such as these beautiful snowy owls, that only arrive in the winter. They only grace us with their presence when it’s chilly. And within the city limits, too!

Some animals are just fun to watch trying to walk in the deep snow.

female snowy owl flying
Female Snowy Owl

Animals Near You?

A great winter project for kids is to learn what animals live near you.

You can use a field guide, like Peterson Guides, or make your own – see below for a free download.

You can make your own guide and draw the tracks yourself.

Part of identifying animal tracks is not just about the shape; it’s about the pattern of how they walk (some have steps close together; for example, – moose have larger prints and longer strides than deer).

So get those winter boots on and have fun!

Winter Project Ideas for Kids

animal tracks

animal tracks of north America

Track, take photos, make notes, and make drawings of animals spotted in your local area or forest adventures.

plaster casting of animal tracks

You can even make plaster casting in snow and sand

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