Building a Nest

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Of all the picture books I have read with my guys over the years,  An Egg is Quiet is quite possibly the most engaging to me as an adult.  It is a beautiful work in nature studies.  Written with a palpable sense of awe over the natural world, the illustrations are breathtaking, rivaling any naturalist’s notebooks.  Birds, fish, amphibians, crustaceans and insects are represented within the colorful pages.  First we meet them as eggs.

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Later, we learn how colorful, clever and giving these eggs really are.  Nature is created so intricately, which leads us to the conclusion that nothing is insignificant.  Through three-year-old G’s eyes, it is all beautiful and funny and wonderful.

Spring2014 044 Finally, we are able to meet the active, noisy by-products of these quiet eggs.  The colors are striking, and there are never-ending possibilities of games G and I can play directly from the pages: Name the creature- birds, fish, or insects, sight words, I spy, animal habitats, shapes, colors and textures.

Today, however, we take our inspiration from the page below.

"Hummingbird eggs are the size of a jelly bean.  It would take about 2,000 hummingbird eggs to equal the size of one ostrich egg."
“Hummingbird eggs are the size of a jelly bean. It would take about 2,000 hummingbird eggs to equal the size of one ostrich egg.”

With that short description, our activity with the book is obvious – we are making our own hummingbird’s nest.  I stared at the illustration, knowing a hummingbird typically uses cotton fluff or spider webs, and shredded wheat with melted marshmallows instantly came to mind.

Here’s a rough approximation of our recipe. (I am not good at  measuring while cooking.  I tend simply to eye-ball it.)

EDIBLE BIRD’S “NEST” (makes about 3-4 tiny “nests”)

1 C shredded wheat, coarsely crushed

2-2 1/2 C marshmallows

2 T butter

Melt the last two ingredients on medium-low heat until sticky.  Spring2014 042

Remove from heat and stir in shredded wheat.  Let sit for a moment before forming into “nests.”  We found that if we spray our hands lightly with cooking spray, the mixture was much easier to manipulate, and didn’t simply stick to our fingers.

Definitely do not forget to add your jelly beans for the tiny eggs.

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And maybe a bird.

Spring2014 048 You may wish to click here to watch a stunning video of a mother hummingbird slowly building her nest.  You will be mesmerized.

Also, by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long, and in the same vein, is A Butterfly is Patient, and A Seed is Sleepy.

The birds of the sky nest by the waters,

they sing among the branches.

Psalm 104:12

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