Cold winter days can mean lots of time for kids to be cooped up indoors. Children can quickly become board, melting into a puddle in front of the television or video games. This winter, beat the cold weather blahs by keeping a variety of hands on activities on hand! This is a great way to keep little minds stimulated, all while partaking in some quality family time.
A perfect winter boredom buster is this easy pine cone bird feeder. With just a few supplies you may already have, you can whip up a sweet and decorative bird feeder in no time! This craft is not only fun for kids, but it is a great way to encourage them to care for their feathered friends during these cold months where food is not always readily available.
You don’t need to be a bird novice to feed them, just a few simple supplies and some little helping hands. Here is what you do!
Several medium sized pine cones. (These can be found in nature for free, or purchased by the bag at your local craft store for less than $5.00)
One jar of peanut butter. (Generic is fine and will usually cost you less than $2.00. It does not matter if it is crunchy or smooth.)
One pound of birdseed. (I found a bag of seed at my local grocery store for just a few dollars.)
Ribbon or string
Ready? Let’s go:
- First, empty your container of peanut butter into your mixing bowl. Make sure it is at room temp so it is nice and soft.
- Pour a few cups of birdseed onto your cooking sheet and spread it out evenly.
- Next, prepare to get messy! Dip your pinecones one at a time into the peanut butter. Gently press the pinecone in and move it around to cover as much of it as you can with the peanut butter.
- Remove the pinecone and transfer it to the sheet of birdseed.
- Gently roll the pinecone in the birdseed, covering as much of the exposed area as you can with seed.
- Set the pinecone aside for an hour to allow the mixture to set.
- Once the mixture has set and firmed, take your ribbon or string and tie it to the top of the pinecone.
- Once your ribbon or string is secure, it is time to hang them! Find a low branch, awning, or shepherd’s hook outside that you can dangle your pinecone feeders from.
- Sit back, relax with some hot chocolate, and watch feathered friends come from afar to enjoy this delicious feast!
Tips and Tricks:
While it might be tempting, never use glue to apply your seed. It might be less messy, but it will make birds sick. Only peanut butter and seed should be used when creating this project. If you are having a hard time with getting your mixture to stick, spoon it on the best you can and refrigerate it for about 15 minutes. This will help set it and firm it up. Have a peanut allergy in your house? Sunflower seed spread can be used in place of peanut butter OR add the seed to a packet of gelatin and a little water until it is a thick paste.
Further this activity:
If you have scrap fabric, tie small strips of it on the ribbon or string as well. Birds will love nipping at it and taking bits of it back to fluff their nests. Nothing like providing them a great meal and some home décor!
So don’t delay, gather up your supplies and call the birds to lunch! The kiddos will have a ball doing this activity, and will feel pride when they see their feather friends enjoying their creations!
Photo credit: Katie Femia