One of my children’s favorite homeschool activities is to dissect owl pellets. It’s one of those activities that everyone can agree on. I buy our owl pellets in bulk through Amazon and I save them for rainy days or crabby days.
In my world, owl pellets are magical. They never fail to make my kids over-the-moon excited. Together, they dissect and discuss and rejoice over their finds. Owl pellets pretty much guarantee happy kids for well over an hour. That makes them priceless.
The only problem is, when the kids are done dissecting, those bones sit on my kitchen counter forever.
The kids don’t want to do anything with them.
We’ve tried gluing the bones onto black cardstock in some semblance order and it has never been a hit.
I’ve suggested they store the bones in a treasure box or ziplock in their bedrooms, but no one likes the idea of bones in bedrooms.
They don’t want to dispose of the bones, but they don’t want to do anything with them. And, call me crazy, but I’m not a huge fan of small piles of rodent bones in my kitchen. At least not for more than a day or two.
What usually happens is I leave them out for a few days and then toss them when no one is looking. When I’ve reached my kitchen counter rodent bone pile limit.
Well, this week we decided to flee, er… we went on a spontaneous vacation up north.
Owl Pellet Art
I didn’t tell the kids that I had packed the owl pellets. I wanted to save them for the perfect moment: a crabby afternoon or cruddy weather. In the meantime, I read some really great books including Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and Owls by Gail Gibbons. I included these books in our morning Coffee and Books routine.
I read, we enjoyed our vacation, and I waited.
And we ended up having a glorious weather day. It was a brilliantly sunny, mid-70s day… our very first of the year. We soaked it up. We had a quick breakfast and headed outdoors… for the rest of the day. The day included hiking, swings, basketball, races, tag with new friends, a picnic, and a nature scavenger hunt.
And then, at 4 pm, the kids collectively melted down. We had ditched quiet time due to weather and they were feeling the effects of all the fun.
It was too late for a quiet time, as my youngest would fall asleep in a heartbeat and ruin that evening’s sleep. And sooooooo… I dug out the owl pellets.
The owl pellets turned those frowns upside down in seconds.
Together, the kids got to work. They cheered for each other’s finds. They compared bones to bone charts.
The fun lasted for close to two hours, during which I was able to observe the fun and read the book I’m currently obsessed with (that’s what vacation are for, am I right??).
When the pellets were fully dissected, the children wondered aloud what to do with the bones. We are staying in a teeny-tiny place and there is no countertops to pile bones upon.
That’s when I pulled out the sun paper and asked them if they’d like to create some Owl Pellet Art.
They simply arranged the bones in various patterns and shapes and then we placed the designs out in the sunshine for a few minutes.
Then, we quickly rinsed the paper and set it out to dry and we had Owl Pellet Art- an easy way to “save” those rodent bones!
A photo posted by MyLittlePoppies (@my_little_poppies) on
This was a super-simple and fun way to study owls and the food chain. It is a wonderful alternative to assembling the bones on black cardstock and allows for children to be creative. We had such a blast that I’m certain we’ll do it again.
I thought I would share it today because I’m sure there is another homeschoolin’ mom out there – right now – with a pile of rodent bones on her countertop that she can’t wait to get rid of!
Do you want to try this at home?
This activity requires very little but offers heaps of fun! Here’s what you need:
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Do your kids love owl pellets? What do your children do with their owl pellet loot? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram