Nature Craft for Kids: DIY Fruit & Grain Bird Feeders
By Jackie Currie, Happy Hooligans
Jan 22, 2014
At this time of year, as food sources become scarce in the yard and garden, I like to make some form of homemade bird feeder with the children in my home daycare. One day last week, we made these simple bird feeders by threading fruit and grains onto pipe-cleaners and florist wire.
The hooligans really enjoyed this activity, and the results look so pretty hanging in our garden.
Here's what we used to make our bird feeders:
• pipe cleaners
• florist's wire
• fruit: we used grapes, blueberries and dried cranberries
• grains: we used cheerios and popcorn
• raffia or twine
I set the ingredients out on the table, and the hooligans got to work. Older children may want to work with the florist's wire, but pipe-cleaners are easier for little hands to hold onto.Threading small items on to a pipe-cleaner requires concentration, and it challenges hand-eye co-ordination and fine-motor skills, so it's an excellent developmental exercise for toddlers and preschoolers. Working with the ingredients that we were, there was an opportunity to do some snacking as well, so this project was quite a hit with the kids!
While making our bird feeders, we chatted about how difficult it is for animals to find food when the gardens stop producing fruit and berries and when the snow and ice covers everything on the ground. We talked about how we can help the birds in our neighbourhood by keeping our bird feeders topped up during the winter months and by hanging simple feeders like this one in our yard.
It's important when making your own bird feeder to use simple ingredients that aren't high in refined sugar. Stick to simple foods that a bird would find in nature: fruits, berries, nuts and seeds are good choices.When the children had finished their threading, I bent the wires until each one formed a circle, and I twisted the ends of the wires around each other to secure everything in place. A simple bow added a decorative touch.
I then tied a long length of raffia to the top of each feeder, and we headed out into the backyard to hang our treats for the birds.