Bird Sculptures


Making bird sculptures using clay and found natural materials

Materials Required

  1. Clay or play-dough
    (If you are using clay, mix some water and clay together to create slip (for joining pieces of clay together))
  2. Natural loose parts such as leaves, pebbles, sticks etc.


Go for a walk around outside with your child to collect natural materials such as leaves, flowers, and sticks

Method (or Ideas)

  1. Discuss with your child the features of a bird. Although birds can look very different they all have a beak, a head, body, wings and legs.
  2. Work alongside your child so that your child can observe how you engage with the materials
  3. You may begin by making a triangle beak by pinching the clay
  4. Roll the clay into a ball to create the head and then join the beak and head together either by scoring (crosshatching) the clay and adding slip as glue or simply pressing it on.
  5. Next roll the clay into a body-like shape and use the same technique as above to join the body and head together.
  6. Use the natural materials to add detail to the bird such as wings, eyes, feet etc.
  7. As you work, discuss with your child the similarities and differences of birds and of the bird sculptures you are creating e.g. “Our birds both have beaks, your bird had a stick beak and my bird has a clay beak”.

Facilitation Tips – What To Say

  • Techniques: Roll, pinch, squish, flatten, smooth
  • Shape: Circle, Triangle, Round, Rectangle
  • Size: small, large

Extend the Experience

  • Use other visual art forms to represent birds such as drawing or painting
  • Create a tally and collect data on the kinds of birds you find around your home.
  • Investigate birds further by researching using other books, documentaries, the internet or observing birds in your environment

WHO Guidelines for Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour

You and your child will engage in physical activity as you walk around outside looking for natural materials to use.

Early Years Learning Framework


  1. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
  2. Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes


Principle 3: High expectations and equity. Children progress well when they, their parents and educators hold high expectations for their achievement in learning.


Practice: Learning through play. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn. In these ways play can promote positive dispositions towards learning. Children’s immersion in their play illustrates how play enables them to simply enjoy being.

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