Activity ideas Amazing Wildlife

10 Waterbird and waterfowl activities for kids to try in your classroom!

Waterfowl and other waterbirds are some of the best wildlife to go view with kids in wetlands and other natural areas, regardless of your location. If you are planning a waterfowl field trip – or a whole waterfowl and waterbird unit – this waterbird & waterfowl activities list is the place to start!

In case you are wondering, waterfowl are ducks, geese, and swans – birds in the biological order Anseriformes. Meanwhile, “waterbirds” is a more general term. Waterbirds refers to a large group including waterfowl and other water-loving birds. This includes wading birds (e.g., herons, egrets, cranes), shore birds (e.g., sand pipers, plovers), as well as loons, grebes, coots, cormorants, and more!

Try out some of these waterbird and waterfowl activity ideas with your class!

1. Waterfowl Origami

Fold an origami crane, swan, or duck. Or all three! Here are a few helpful online tutorials:

  • The National Crane Foundation‘s instructions for folding Origami Cranes – with printable directions and a video!
  • Fold an Origami Swan – with this video from Origami Plus – Easy Origami Tutorials on YouTube!
  • How to Fold an Origami Duck – with this easy tutorial from WikiHow

2. Birdwatching

Go on a birdwatching adventure at a local wetland or lake. Bonus: before you head out, print out a species checklist of local waterfowl and waterbirds!

Here are a few online resources to help you begin birdwatching like a pro!

Photo by Mike on

3. Bird Stories

Read a children’s book featuring waterfowl! Possibilities include “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey and “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E. B. White.

Here are some websites that put together lists of bird-related books:

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

4. Pond Projects

Learn more about waterbird habitats! Try out these pond activities. Or, check out complete my Pond Ecology Unit!

5. Bird Beaks

Try a bird beak lab – use different “beaks” (e.g., chopsticks, tweezers, slotted spoon), to pick up different “food sources” (pasta, seeds, peas). See which beak is the best at “catching” each food.

There are lots of versions of Bird Beaks Labs around the web. Here are a few good ones:

This bird beaks lab activity comes from my Waterfowl and Waterbirds Unit! Perfect for learning about animal adaptations and natural selection!

6. DIY Duck Calls

Learn how to create a simple duck call. Then listen to recordings of the different sounds ducks make. Can you imitate any of them?

Here are a few examples of easy DIY duck calls to get you started:

Photo by Billel Moula on

7. Swim like a swan!

Experience swimming like a swan (or duck, or grebe…)! Grab a pair of swimming flippers (aka snorkeling fins) and head to a local pool or swimming area.

Bonus: toss some diving rings and practice diving under the surface of the water like a diving duck to retrieve them!

8. Duck Masks & Art Projects

Do a waterbird art or writing project! Learn to draw or paint a waterbird from your area. Write a poem about your favorite waterbird! Decorate a duck mask! Write a short story. Sit by a wetland habitat as you sketch, draw, or nature-journal!

These duck masks are one of the many activities in my Waterfowl and Waterbirds Unit!

9. Be a Habitat Helper

Volunteer to help clean up waterbird habitat in your local area. Research local conservation groups to find out about park and natural area clean-up days in your community.

grey heron bird on wetland
Photo by Tom Fisk on

10. Study Birds with Wild Earth Lab

Try out my Waterfowl and Waterbirds Unit in your classroom! It’s got lots of activities and all the worksheets, handouts, decorations, and guides you will need for a wonderous waterbirds unit in your classroom or homeschool!

Explore curriculum from Wild Earth Lab:

If you enjoyed these waterfowl activities, I know you will love using my environmental science materials in your classroom!

Are you interested in more nature activity ideas? Subscribe or follow Wild Earth Lab using the links below!

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