As far back as I can remember, I have loved Spring (even though my allergies don’t!). With spring come the return of so many song birds when you live up north, while we say goodbye to some of our feathery winter residents, living here in the south. Here in Nevada, feeders can be used to attract finches, cardinals, chickadees, nut hatches and – in our case – even the occasional wild canary that finds us. Wrens may also come to call.
Children and nature go together like peanut butter and honey. To celebrate Spring, here are a few old and new ways of making bird feeders that should give your children ample opportunity to watch birds in action. These are possibly the most attractive of all the bird feeders for children to craft, and also some of the easiest.
1. Mini Bird Feeders (all ages)
Birdseed, peanut butter (or honey or suet in case of allergies), silicone ice cube molds or cookie cutters, ribbon
- Mix birdseed and peanut butter or honey until the texture of play-doh
- Spoon enough of the birdseed mixture into the mold to cover the bottom, or spread on waxed paper and cut with cookie cutter
- Place the end of the piece of thin ribbon in the center of each mold, or press onto cut out form before adding more of the mixture
- Freeze overnight
- Pop bird feeders out of molds, or remove from waxed paper and hang outside bright and early (preferably on a cooler day or in the shade so the peanut butter/honey doesn’t melt right away)
2. Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder (toddlers)
Toilet paper roll, hole punch. peanut butter (or honey), birdseed, string, plastic knife
- Help the children to punch two holes close to the top of the toilet paper.
- Thread the string through the two holes.
- Have children smear on the peanut butter or honey.
- Once the toilet roll is all sticky, it’s time to roll the toilet paper roll in birdseed
- Hang outside on a low branch and watch the visitors arrive!.
3. Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Pinecones, peanut butter or suet or honey, birdseed, string, plastic knife
- Tie string or twine around the pinecone, near the top
- Smear on peanut butter, honey or suet
- Roll the pinecone in the birdseed until well coated
- Let dry until it can be raised without all the seed falling off
- Hang outside on a tree branch – a few hung on the same branch look pretty and will attract more birds
Don’t forget the old “cut out milk cartons” to fill with seed for our feathered friends. And remember – a 2 L plastic bottle bird feeder can be crafted in much the same way, if you poke a wooden spoon or 2 through to act as resting posts for the birds.
To attract hummingbirds, all you need is a hummingbird feeder to fill with cooled boiled sugar water tinted red with food coloring. It works every time!
If squirrels take over your feeder, hang your feeders 8 feet from trees. To stop grackles from taking over, make perches shorter. Suet attracts woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees and wrens. Try different combinations and hanging positions to attract the most birds possible. This can be a real learning experience for your child!