Blog > Bored? Then be a bird!

Posted July 9, 2020

By Joseph Friedman – Youth Services Librarian

Family need something to do?  Then have a Bird Beak Relay Race!  Have the kids compete against the adults to see who is best at eating like bird.

You’ll want to have plenty of space to run, so you’ll probably want to do this outside.

Things you will need:

  • Paper plates, 3 per group
  • Pencils, 1 per group
  • Data sheet, 1 per group (Data sheet can be found below)
  • Plastic spoons, 1 per racer
  • Plastic forks, 1 per racer
  • Toothpicks, 2 per racer
  • Spring-action wooden Clothespins, 1 per racer
  • Data sheet, 1 per group (Data sheets can be found below)

If you are going to race outside, gather a variety of things birds (and maybe other animals like squirrels and insects) like to eat.  Get at least 50 of each “food” item for each team (since you are probably going to lose some of them in the grass.) Things like:

  • Nuts, all types (Just have 15 of each type for each team.  15 Walnuts, 15 Pecans, etc.)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Rice
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Plain Cheerios
  • Plain Goldfish Crackers
  • Gummy worms

If you are going to race inside, for your “food” item you can use things like:

  • Marbles
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Pennies
  • Paper clips
  • Pieces of paper crushed into balls
  • Rubber bands (all same size)

At the starting line of your race, put two paper plates next to each other for each team.  One of these plates is your Nest and the other is your Beak Holder.  At the end of the straight line you will run put one paper plate for each team.  These are your Hunting plates.  If you are outside, you might want to put a rock on each plate so they don’t blow away.  On each of the Hunting plates put 15 of each item you have gathered.  On each Beak Holder plate put one of each “beak” type for each player, make sure you have TWO toothpicks for each person.

 

Make a group chart for each team.  The example below is set up for two teams.

Example:

Team 1 Spoon Fork Clothespin Toothpicks
Rice
Walnuts
Peanuts
Sunflower Seeds
Gummy Worms
Lima Beans
Plain Cheerios
Total Amount of Food

 

Team 2 Spoon Fork Clothespin Toothpicks
Rice
Walnuts
Peanuts
Sunflower Seeds
Gummy Worms
Lima Beans
Plain Cheerios
Total Amount of Food

Have each team member line up behind the Nest and Beak Holder plates.  Give each team member the same “beak.”  One team member at a time will run from the starting line to the Hunting plate and pick up one “food” item with their “beak” and carry it back to the starting line where they will put in on the Nest plate and then go to the end of the line.  No hands allowed, use just your “beak”!  If you drop an item on the ground, it is lost, just continue to the end of the line.

Have each member take three turns.  After everyone is done, count the number of each item on your Nest plate and record your results.

If you are racing outside, just leave what you dropped there, the real animals will gladly eat it.  If you are racing inside, be sure to clean up what got dropped.  Refill the Hunting plate with 15 of each “Food” again.  Then repeat the race three times, each time with a different “beak”.  When “eating” with the toothpicks, take one in each hand and use them together to pick up your “food”.

After you have finished all four races, compare your results.  The team with the most “food” items returned to their “nest” ate the best and won!  Did in general a certain beak do better or a certain beak do worse?  Did a certain beak do better picking up a certain food?  Did a certain team do better with a certain beak?  Why do you think that was?

Feel free to try different “beaks” and/or different “foods”.  See what you can come up with.  Take care, stay well, and have fun!

P.S. When you clean up, if you are outside, just dump what you have left in the grass.  I bet you will get a pleasant surprise of some feathered (or furry) friends coming by for a bite.  Then you can see some real beaks in action.  If you need help identifying what you see, give us a call.  We have plenty of resources to help you out.

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