Looking for ways to keep the kids busy and want to encourage more wildlife in your garden? Celebrate this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch by making a DIY birdfeeder. Here are some of the easiest ones to do…
- Cardboard Peanut Butter Bird Feeder
- Pinecone Bird Feeder
- Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder
- Orange Half Bird Feeder
- Paper Mache Bird Box Feeder
The birds in your garden will love you for these, especially during winter when food can be scarce.
Cardboard Peanut Butter Bird Feeder
You all know how much we love cardboard so let’s start off by covering some in peanut butter to make the perfect bird feeder! A perfect activity for putting the packaging from online purchases to good use and for helping your children develop their fine motor skills.
We’ve made plenty of toilet roll bird feeders, but you can get creative and cut out any shape you want from left over cardboard.
What you need: Toilet roll or cardboard shape, string, scissors, skewer (if not using a toilet roll), peanut butter, bird seed
- If you’re using a flat cardboard shape for your bird feeder, start off by making a hole in the top with a skewer to thread some string through later on
- Give the kids a jar of peanut butter (no palm-oil, no salt is best!), a spoon and a blunt knife, and set them to work covering your chosen feeder
- Once completely covered, roll the loo roll through a plate of bird seed or sprinkle and pat the bird food over your cardboard shape
- Finish off by threading your birdfeeder on to some string (our sustainable Twool is great for this) and hang it on a tree
Pinecone Bird Feeder
Using another item we always seem to have lying around the house, making a pinecone feeder is a great activity for kids, if a bit messier.
Inspired by the RSPB’s Pinecone feeder but using coconut oil rather than suet or lard, this is an easy, vegan alternative.
What you need: Pinecones, string, scissors, coconut oil, bird seed (plus raisins/cheese/peanuts if you have them around)
- Start off by tying a piece of string around the middle of the pinecone, it’s easier to do this now before things get messy, leave plenty of length to tie to a tree branch later
- Melt some coconut oil in a pan or the microwave, how much you use depends on how many pinecones you have and their size, but you can start off with two tablespoons of oil and make more as needed
- Let the oil cool a bit before you set the kids loose
- Get the kids to measure out one cup of bird seed into a bowl and add raisins, grated cheese and peanuts if you have them
- Poor in the oil and stir it all together to make a big gooey mess. If it’s not sticky enough add more oil or vice versa.
- The mixture should be cool enough for the kids to handle now, get them to stuff it into the pinecones
- Put on a tray and into the fridge to set for a while
- Once hardened, hang on the tree and enjoy watching the birds feasting!
Cookie-cutter Bird Food Shapes
If you don’t have any pinecones, or you’ve got some left-over mixture, you can use cookie cutters instead! We wouldn’t recommend making these in summer though, if it’s too warm they’ll just melt off the string.
What you need: Cookie cutters, string, scissors, coconut oil, bird seed
- Make the mixture as above, using two tablespoons of coconut oil to one cup of bird food
- Fill your cookie cutter shapes with the mixture and press in firmly
- Use the end of a pen or skewer to make a hole at the top of the shape to hang once set
- Put on a tray, still in their moulds, and put in the fridge to harden, around 30 mins should do it
- Once set, carefully pop out of the cutter shapes and thread on to a string
- Hang from a tree branch in view so you can enjoy watching the birds appreciating your handy work
Orange Half Bird Feeder
We’ve come across this very fancy macramé inspired orange birdfeeder from Blue Corduroy but if that’s beyond your little ones never fear, we have a super simple alternative. Birds love these feeders and they make a colourful addition to the garden. We’ve found the seeds can go a little soggy in these feeders so if you have time you could leave the orange halves to dry out either in the sunshine if you’re doing this in summer or on a low heat in the oven.
What you need: Orange, skewer, scissors, string, bird seed (sunflower seeds work well for this)
- Cut the orange in half and get the kids to juice them (then drink it!)
- Use your skewer to make four holes, evenly spaced, in each orange half
- Cut two, evenly sized lengths of string and feed through two holes each and tie to make two loops
- Fill the orange halves with bird seed and voila!
Paper Mache Bird Box Feeder
Although not strictly for outdoor use, we put these Paper Mache Bird Boxes up in the garden two weeks ago and they’re still going strong. They make for a great craft session with kids of all ages and needs the least parent involvement of all the DIY bird feeders we recommend.
- Decorate your bird box
- Fill with bird seed
We’d love to see your creations so do share if you have a go! And if you fancy taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, check out the RSPB’s website to see how you can join thousands of people counting birds in their back garden.
And if you need more ways to keep the kids entertained, and busy outdoors in the fresh air, check out the downloads section of our website for activity sheets including this free Winter Scavenger Hunt.