Hummingbirds & the Montessori Child's Outdoor Classroom: It's Magical!


Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

A while ago, I was part of the  "Draw Yourself Back to Nature Blog Hop" with Kelly Johnson from Wings Worms & Wonder. Kelly's blog and eCourses are filled with lots of ways to creatively enjoy nature. And, my blog was featured on with my wonderful Outdoor Classroom "GIVEAWAY"! ****This Giveaway has expired, but please read on to see how I set up a Hummingbird Habitat in the Montessori Preschool Outdoor Classroom! 

The WINNER of my Giveaway is Amy, who wrote about my tutorial on introducing water colors to children and her answer to the question, WHAT MAKES HUMMINGBIRDS SO MAGICAL for CHILDREN?:  

Thank you for breaking down everything that's involved in the painting. It's such a "simple" thing to do, and yet there's so much going on for a child (or adult). Children love hummers because they're small, they sparkle, and they are FAST!

Since, I have these magical birds on my mind, I thought I better write a post about creating a hummingbird habitat for the Montessori Style Outdoor Classroom.

Hummzinger Feeder from Amazon available at this link:Hummingbird feeder 

The feeder types that I like the best are the ones that have a clear plastic bowl where the nectar goes. I like this one because the children can see (when looking from below) how much nectar is in the feeder. Also, this feeder doesn't have drips at the portals which would attract bees to the feeder. I have had great success with this style feeder for many years with many groups of young children.

This feeder also has a built-in ant moat (or trap) that is important for the children to keep filled with plain water for keeping the ants from taking over the portals of the feeder. The ant trap is built into the red colored top part of the feeder that detaches from the bowl holding the nectar. 

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

The way hummingbirds stay nourished is by eating insects and by gathering  nectar from flowers. They are especially attracted to the color red, and they love Crocosmia flowers (pictured above) and pink Honesuckle, too. So, if you have flowers in your garden that already attract "hummers" then you can hang the feeder close by. I have even brought potted plants & bushes into the Children's Garden that hummingbirds like, so that they will eventually visit our feeder. 

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Then, I make sure the feeder is placed in the middle of the flowers the "hummers" like.

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

It is such fun for children when they catch a glimpse of a hummingbird hovering over a blossom and getting the nectar.

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Eventually, hummingbirds will begin to visit the feeder that you have kept filled with fresh home-made nectar and they will gather just as they do from the flowers!

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Then, you'll need to be able to keep the portals of the feeder clean so that mold doesn't grow. (not healthy for the hummers) The tiny brushes pictured below are the right size for the tiny openings of the portals and they are truly fun for a child to use for cleaning the feeder. (a Montessori-style Practical Life Activity!)

Brushes are available from Amazon at this link: Portal cleaning brushes at Amazon.

To set up your feeder, you will of course need nectar for the birds! Here's where the child/ren can develop more fine motor skills for this wonderful Practical Life Activity.

I like to provide a set up with a child-size pouring pitcher with a handle & spout. Also, I use filtered water and organic white sugar if possible. Here's a good child-size sturdy glass pitcher at this link: 11 0z glass creamer at Amazon.

Here's the recipe from
  • Boil four cups of water. 
  • Remove water from the heat.
  • Stir in one cup of white sugar. 
  • Cool the syrup before filling feeder.
  • Do not use honey, which can cause a fatal fungal infection on the birds' tongues. 
  • Do not add food coloring to the solution. It's not necessary, and it may be harmful. Even the smallest spot of red color on the feeder will attract hummingbirds, so make sure your feeder is red colored. 
  • You can store the extra syrup in the refrigerator for a week.

 Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

On the California coast, January is the time when hummingbirds start nesting. You can check your local area garden store for the time it happens in your neck of the woods. If you set out nesting materials in your habitat for hummers, they will be happy! You can read more about a lovely nesting ring that is a wonderful Montessori-style whole hand transfer activity at my past post here: Time to Put Out Nesting Materials for the Hummingbirds! 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Another very magical fact about hummers is that they like to make their nests out of cobwebs. So, leave a few in the eaves of your building!

Photo of a hummingbird nest by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

We can't leave out the musical activities you can offer the children! My groups have always loved this song from Frank Leto's album Circle Time:iTunes Butterflies & Bumblebees
Graphics by the artists at Dollar Photo Club 

If you've ever attended one of Frank's workshops at a Montessori or at a Music Teacher's conference, you've seen how he integrates the ASL signs in this beautiful little song!
The sign language for each of the words butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, flowers, dancing in the air, resting their wings...brings the song to life for the children and is quite lovely!

It's also fun to add a hummingbird puppet, (along with a bumblebee and butterfly one, too). This Folkmanis finger puppet is my favorite. (Available at Amazon at this link: Hummingbird Finger Puppet at Amazon.) 

For a little dramatic play idea, I have attached a short ribbon to the back of the puppet and tied this to a stick, then the child can go around the garden and have the puppet "gather nectar" from flowers! A bit of a challenge for the child to maneuver the stick with the puppet at the end... but great fun!

Lastly, the child/ren can follow up with a classic Montessori "Parts of the Hummingbird" booklet to make. I have also given older children the materials for making a "Parts of the Hummingbird Feeder" booklet as well! 

It is so fun for me to have you visit my Blog and read my post. Thank you so much for dropping by! Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below...I love hearing your ideas.

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