Make a bird’s nest

If you’ve ever wondered how a bird builds its nest, what better way to learn than by building a bird’s nest yourself!

Have you ever seen a bird’s nest? Look around outside – can you see any in trees or on buildings? What are they made of?

Birds make their nests from all sorts of natural materials, and different species tend to use different things depending on what’s available in their habitat. Some of the materials that birds use include twigs, feathers, moss, lichen and even spider silk.

Blackbirds nest (c) Lizzie Wilberforce


The key to a successful nest is to make it large enough to hold the eggs and the parent, stable enough to withstand wind, warm enough to prevent the eggs and chicks getting cold, and camouflaged from predators.

Do you think you could build a successful nest? Why not become an engineer for the day and give it a try!



EXTRA: Seabirds need nests too! Where do you think they could build them and what would they be made of? Download our worksheet below to test your seabird nesting knowledge!

What you will need:

  • Container to collect things in (e.g., basket, bucket)
  • Natural materials collected from your garden or during a walk such as sticks, feathers, leaves, moss and grass.

How to make a bird’s nest:

Nests can be built indoors or outdoors, depending on the size and materials being used. In some ways, it’s best to let the children explore the best way to construct a nest by trial and error, but here are few instructions to guide the way…

  1. The size of the nest, amount of material available and the size of the area the activity is taking place in should be considered before nest building begins.
  2. Once a size has been decided, begin by building a framework with larger sticks, interlocking them to form the basic structure.
  3. Use smaller sticks to keep adding to the structure, filling in any large holes.
  4. Once the outer structure of the nest is looking sturdy, find softer materials such as feathers, lichen and moss to line the nest.
  5. You could put model eggs inside for decoration, or sit in it for a photo if it’s a big nest!

To give this challenge a scientific twist for older children, assign them a species of bird and habitat, so that they have to consider which materials they will need to find and what size of nest they need to build.

In a group? Why not split up into teams and make it a challenge and vote for the best nest at the end!


Making and sitting in a nest

© Lyndsay Mark

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Time to complete

30 - 60 minutes

Suitable location

Resource Level

Curriculum linked

Social Studies (people, place and environment)

Sciences (biology; ecology; natural history)

Technologies (craft and design)

Health and Wellbeing (relationship building and teamwork)


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