Sensory-rich activities: connecting people with the outdoors

Birds nest

Connect with spring or summer through something that is common within our garden memories.

Birds’ nests are fascinating in the way that they are made; each one unique to the bird that made it, using whatever nature had lying around.


Where do I live activity by Sensory Trust

You will need;

4 or 5 long lengths of cut privet (at least 12”/30 cms long; keep the leaves on)

Bits of nest ‘lining’, e.g. feathers, wool, moss, grass


1. Take one length of privet and twist it to create a small circle. Twist the end around and around the length to hold it all together. It doesn’t matter if some bits stick out.

2. Twist all the other lengths of privet around the circle until there is no gap in the middle. You can thread some smaller bits of privet through the circle once the gap is smaller, to make it stronger.

3. Hold the completed circle in the palm of one hand. With the other hand make a fist and use this to push in the centre of the circle (this imitates a bird using its chest to create the nest shape). It will become more cup-shaped.

4. Now line your nest with whatever bits and pieces you have collected. Keep firming it down with your fist as a bird would.

step by step guide to making a birds nest

Extending the activity

Using plasticine, create a small bird to go inside your nest. Decide what bird it is, for example does it have any significance attached to it? Is it a favourite bird? Is it a popular bird you see in the garden? Use a bird song app on a phone or tablet to play the sound that bird makes. Or if it’s a fictional bird, make a birdsong up for it.

Download printable instructions for making a birds nest (pdf 1613 kb)


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