December 18, 2011 by Flora Dawn
I realize this post isn’t actually about making food (at least not for people), but it is something we made in our kitchen.
Friday was the first day of Winter Break at my house and I am already trying to find activities for my preschooler. If you haven’t had a four-year-old around for a while, let me tell you, they are busy, busy little creatures. And from my experience, it’s far better to find something productive for them to do, before they find something to entertain themselves.
So, today after breakfast we made bird feeders for our backyard. I thought today would be a great day for this craft project, as my kitchen floor was filthy and a bit of birdseed and popcorn wasn’t going to hurt anything.
This task is a bit messy, so if it’s warm enough, it might be best to tackle making bird feeders in the great outdoors, where the actual birds live. This would allow the birds to clean up any mess that was left behind and save you the much dreaded job of mopping your kitchen floor.
The Pine Cone Feeder is a pretty standard homemade bird feeder; in fact I am fairly certain I made some of these when I was in elementary school. We used pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seed. I found bird seed in the bulk bin, so 1 cup cost me under 25 cents; even if you have to buy packaged bird seed, this is a a very inexpensive craft. I should mention, if you have peanut allergies at your house, you can use shortening, lard, or even margarine in place of the peanut butter.
We hung our pine cone feeder among our arborvitaes and the birds have been going crazy over it. In fact, we feel a little bad we didn’t make more, because they are fighting over it.
Pine Cone Feeder:
The finished product is not so pretty, but the birds LOVE it.
Pine Cone Feeder
- pine cone
- a few tablespoons peanut butter (or shortening, lard, margarine, etc)
- bird seed
- Tie a string or ribbon around one end of the pine cone. Using a knife or spoon, spread the peanut butter all of the pine cone. Roll the pine cone in the bird seed, or for a messier method, sprinkle the bird seed all over the pine cone (as my daughter did).
The Cranberry Popcorn Feeder was my daughter’s idea after reading about a similar activity in first grade anthology that included the book Popcorn by Alex Moran. And of course after the story, there was a “For the Birds” project. Of the two, this was my favorite, as it is pretty hanging in the bare tree, and far less messy to create.
I simply used some craft wire I had for making necklaces, but you’ll want to make sure the ends aren’t too sharp if the kids are threading the popcorn and dried fruit themselves.
Dried Fruit & Popcorn Feeder
- craft wire (we used leftover necklace wire, a circle of wire about 6 inches in diameter)
- 1/4 cup or so popped popcorn
- 1-2 tablespoons dried fruit
- Being careful of any sharp ends, thread the popcorn and dried fruit alternately on the wire. Twist the ends together, or insert in fruit so that it forms a completed circle. Tie a string or ribbon if desired before hanging outside.
So, if the kids in your life get a little bored this winter, you might consider spending an afternoon making bird feeders. The project is simple, fun, and affordable. Hey, I am a very not-crafty person, if I can do it, I am pretty sure anyone can.