Orange-Cup Backyard Critter Feeders
By Jackie Currie, Happy Hooligans
Jan 14, 2015
When the ground and gardens become frozen and covered in snow, it can be very difficult for small birds and animals to find enough food to survive.
Here in my home daycare, one of our favourite January traditions is making simple bird feeders to help our neighbourhood birds and squirrels make it through the long, cold winter months ahead.
If you saw the Fruit and Grain Feeders that we made last year, you’ll know that I like to use our bird feeder project as a good excuse to clean out our fridge and pantry cupboards. We can always find a few tasty odds and ends that our backyard birds will appreciate.
Today, for example, we found a package containing just a handful of raisins. It was the perfect amount for our feeders. We’re also using some peanuts leftover from my pre-holiday baking spree. They’re no longer fresh enough for snacking on, but we suspect that the squirrels won’t be bothered by that.
These particular feeders are also great for using the orange rinds leftover from all the fresh juice that we’re squeezing these days. And of course, using snow to make our feeders adds an extra element of wintery fun to this indoor activity!
To make our orange cup bird and squirrel feeders, you’ll need:
- left-over empty orange halves
- a bowl of snow
- muffin tin
- a few pantry ingredients (i.e. nuts, raisins, assorted fruit and berries, sunflower seeds)
To make our orange-cup feeders, we started by squeezing several oranges. We drink a lot of fresh-squeezed juice during the winter months. The fresh dose of vitamin C helps to keep cold and flu germs at bay, and the kids love making it. Squeezing oranges the old-fashioned way is fun and rewarding, and it provides a real work out for the little ones’ hand and arm muscles!
When you have enough orange cups, have your child place them in the wells of a muffin tin. This is a hands-free way to hold the orange halves steady while you fill them.
In the middle of our muffin tin, I placed 2 paper cupcake liners. I filled those with our raisins and peanuts.
Then I provided the hooligans with a big bowl of fresh, fluffy snow and a couple of large spoons.
Let the fun begin!
Using spoons or scoops, have the kids fill each orange cup with snow.
Then sprinkle the snow with the goodies from your pantry cupboards, and gently press them down into the snow.
You’ll want to work somewhat quickly so your snow doesn’t melt too much. When your feeders are full, set them outside to prevent any further melting, and bundle yourselves up in your snow gear.
Then head outside with your children, and distribute your feeders throughout the yard and gardens!
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